Morihei Ueshiba 1883-1969
Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, known as Taiso in Japan and as Ō-Sensei elsewhere, was born on December 14th 1883 in the city of Tanabe, Wakayama prefecture, one of Japan most famous historical sites and one of its most sacred.
His life up to the start of the Second World War is poorly documented and accounts vary from one biographer to the other. An eager reader since an early age, Morihei Ueshiba did not however make long studies and was rather trained in accounting. After a failed attempt at business in Tōkyō in 1901, he enrolled in the army and was involved in the Russo-Japanese war. Discharged from the army in 1907, he returned to Tanabe. In 1912, one year after the birth of his daughter Matsuko, Morihei Ueshiba and his family settled in the Hokkaido village of Shirataki, taking advantage of the country’s program of colonization of the northern island. During his youth, Morihei Ueshiba had studied various martial arts, including Jūjitsu and weaponry of the Shinkage-ryū school, but it was the encounter, in 1915, with Sokaku Takeda, head of Daitō-ryū, that eventually turned him into a martial artist and led to the foundation of Aikido.