Kisshomaru Doshu

Kisshomaru Ueshiba was born on 27 June 1921 in Ayabe, a city in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. He is the fourth child of Morihei Ueshiba and his third son (the two older brothers of Kisshomaru having died during their childhood).

Although little is known about his early childhood and adolescence, various photographic documents testify to his constant presence with his father. He studied economics and political science at the University of Waseda, where he officially graduated in 1946.

With his father’s departure for Iwama at the end of 1941, Kisshomaru assumed responsibility for the dojo, an essentially administrative responsibility since all Kodokan members were mobilized. Apparently, it would be in 1942 that the term “aikido” was officially adopted in the context of the standardization of the name of martial arts advocated by Butokukai, the government martial arts organization of obedience. At the end of the war, the American occupation troops prohibited the practice of all martial arts until 1948, when the Aikikai Foundation (Zaidan Hojin Aikikai) was created. Classes slowly resumed in Tokyo and the dojo finally took off in the late 1950s, after a large demonstration organized in the Takashimaya department stores in 1956 and the publication of Kisshomaru’s first book,”Aikido”, in 1957. He published more than 20 books on Aikido.

During the 1960s, the popularity of Aikido was firmly established in Japan and began to spread to the rest of the world thanks to teachers trained by Kisshomaru Doshu who moved to the United States (Yamada Yoshimitsu, Kanai Mitsunari, Tohei Akira) and Europe (Tada Hiroshi in Italy, Tamura Nobuyoshi in France, Chiba Kazuo in Great Britain). The end of this decade marks a turning point in Aikido’s history with the death of its founder, Ueshiba Morihei, and the construction of a new dojo to replace the historic building that had existed since 1933.

Kisshomaru Doshu died on 4 January 1999, at the age of 77, leaving his son Moriteru in charge of his succession to the head of an organization based in Tokyo and represented in more than 100 countries.

Ueshiba Kisshomaru is undoubtedly the true father of Aikido as practiced today. It was he who, in the years following the end of the Second World War and the end of the Pacific War, worked tirelessly to spread Aikido first in Japan and then throughout the rest of the world.

Works by Ueshiba Kisshomaru available in English:

See also : Publications de l’Aikikai

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