Happy New Year.
I am very happy that we can start this New
Year together with such a pleasant feeling. While Japan and the rest of the world
are in rapid flow, both politically and economically, I feel almost left
behind. Two years ago we
experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake, and I wonder if I am alone in
realizing how thankful we can be to be able to start New Year so calmly?
Aikikai Foundation was able to finish the last
year, safely and without incident. As in previous years, last year’s Aikido
activities both at home and abroad, centered on the Aikikai Hombu
(headquarters), involved a large number of seminars and anniversary events all
peacefully and calmly executed, including a succession of major events such as
the International Aikido Federation and the Anniversary celebrations of Hombu
Dojo. I feel that last year was a year of progress for the Aikikai through the
successful completion of those events.
On April 1, 2012, the Aikikai Foundation was
able to be registered as a ‘public interest incorporated foundation’ which represented
a departure from the ‘pubic-interest foundation’ with which we familiar for 60
Its organization and activities are almost
same as before. I decided with a new determination that I must continue to comply
with the Aikido created by the founder and spread Aikido properly to society,
promoting and maintaining it as a ‘public interest incorporated foundation.’
In November last year, I was awarded a gold
medal by the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, as was Kishomaru 2nd Doshu, for, “honoring the promotion and dissemination of Aikido, wa-no-kokoro (the unity soul), to the world at large, and in line with the educational philosophy of the university”. In this way, Aikido has spread at home and abroad and is appreciated highly
from abroad. I feel now that I must firmly enter into the role of cultural
exchange and private diplomacy which aikido plays.
In September, the 11th
International Aikido Federation Convention was held at the National Olympics
Memorial Youth Center. Since the 10th IAF was held in Tanabe
city, birthplace of the founder Morihei Ueshiba, it had been eight years since
the IAF was held in Tokyo. I was worried about the participants from overseas because
of Fukushima nuclear power plant problems. I am pleased that I was able to
finish that fulfilling week with so many people gathering from abroad.
The celebration “the 80th Anniversary of
Establishment of Aikido Hombu Dojo, and the 70th Anniversary of the
Accreditation of the Aikikai Foundation” had been deferred from the previous
year. Since it overlapped with the last day of the 11th IAF, there
were many overseas attendees and the venue was filled with more than 1,900
people, which was far beyond of my expectations, and the celebration was both peaceful
and exciting. I am confident that this is the result of keeping daily keiko, cherishing wago-no-kokoro (the unity of mind), moving forward steadily, and being
centered in Hombu Dojo.
I have always talked about the importance of
basic movements of Aikido in my seminars.
I think that last year was the year of a major leap forward. This year, once
again, I want to return to the starting line and practice with the sprit of
basics first, and basics second. Because, in order to continue the history, I
think that it is very important to move forward steadily valuing the basics.
I would like to push forward cherishing the basics,
without being wrapped up in, or pressured by society. I look forward to your