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Morihei Ueshiba, Founder Of Aikido (14)

by Kanemoto Sunadomari

Aiki News #85 (Summer 1990)

Omoto religion leader, Onisaburo Deguchi, O-Sensei, and their small party arrive in Manchuria. After meeting with famous Chinese General Ro Sen Kai, plans are made for the invasion of Mongolia and foundation of a Utopian nation. The complex political situation of the time, and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the Chinese military leaders are revealed in this episode.


Onisaburo’s plan was as unreal a dream as trying to shatter stars in the sky with a long bamboo pole. His plan was to construct a large kingdom first in Mongolia and then to unite Shinkyo (Zinjiang), Tibet, India, and China through religion to establish a single East Asian Union. He wanted to spread his religious influence throughout Russia and Siberia, and then to eventually enter Jerusalem as the Second Coming of Christ. He dreamed that he would eventually construct a new religious kingdom in Europe and America, an extraordinary thought. Was Onisaburo Deguchi God, the Devil, or merely a megalomaniac? Though people around him in those days considered him to be insane, he paid no attention and said, "I am the incarnation of Maitreya." Maitreya is one of the Bodhisattva who, it is believed, will be reincarnated in the future to preach and rescue all the confused people at the end of the world. He claimed that he was the Maitreya reincarnated to rescue the confused, corrupt world and to reform it into an ideal world of peace and joy. He also said seriously that he was the Second Coming of Christ. He did not sound at all machiavellic, but appeared to be a childish, good-natured old man.

At dawn on February 13, 1924, Onisaburo, nurturing such wild ideas, followed Kitamura who had already left for continental China. He traveled with Matsumura, Ueshiba, Nada, and Yano. In those days, when traveling from Japan to China, one went by train and ferry, so they first took the Shimonoseki-Pusan ferry to Korea, and then by way of Korea arrived at the Sanya Company which Yano was running in Hoten (Feng T’ien) on the afternoon of February 15.

Soon after their arrival, Tesshu Okazaki, Yaichi Sasaki, Ryo Oishi, and a Korean named Yosuitei visited them. As soon as greetings and introductions were completed, they began speaking in a friendly way as if they had known each other for a long time. They spoke about the present situation in Manchuria and Mongolia, and their opinions of the Chokokukai (National Foundation Association, an organization established by influential Japanese in Manchuria to establish a new Japanese colony).

Then they decided that they should meet Ro Sen Kai, and two cars left the Japanese settlement in Hoten for the official house of Ro Sen Kai, Lieutenant General responsible for the three eastern provinces which would be united as Manchuria (Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning Provinces). One car was occupied by Onisaburo and his party, and the other by Ozaki and other visitors. When they entered the official house, Onisaburo was introduced to Ro, who had been waiting for his arrival, by the interpreter, Sasaki. At first glance, Onisaburo gazed with sharp eyes at Ro Sen Kai’s heroic features and thought that he would be able to trust him.

Ro introduced himself briefly. "It was ten years ago, when I was twenty-nine, that I led 70,000 selected soldiers and conquered Daikorinshi. Then our soldiers defeated Shinkyo, and advanced as far as Unnan (Yunnan). I also took part in the Hochoku War [Chinese civil war of the 1920s between the military factions of Chang Tsuo-lin, supported by Japan, and Wu P’ei Fu and Fu Gyaku-sho, supported by England]. When I was in Shanghai, I met Sun Wen, from whom I heard your noble name, Deguchi Sensei. Since then I have longed to meet you. It is an honor to have this opportunity to invite you to my house. Please let me serve you. I will do my best to help you achieve your goals."

Onisaburo replied, "Let’s cooperate with each other in order to establish and develop a united East Asia."

Thus a hero of the religious world and a leader of mounted brigands on the continent met each other, talked freely, and embarked on their immense project.

Onisaburo, Morihei Ueshiba, and Ogenki, an interpreter, stayed at Ro’s official house that night, and the rest of the visitors went back to the Sanya Company.

Since the greatly confused social conditions on the Chinese continent in those days were similar to those of the age of the civil wars in Japan, with much rivalry between powerful leaders, one needed to be on his guard. Onisaburo, who took the optimistic view and believed in the principle of nonresistance, acted naturally, but he also needed to protect himself as he was still a man of flesh and blood. Throughout their stay in Manchuria, Morihei never left Onisaburo’s side, eating and sleeping with him, as if they were father and son or brothers. He often stayed up all night to keep a watchful eye over Onisaburo.

Ro Sen Kai And Chang Tsuo-Lin

The next day at Ro’s official house, some patriots met to discuss the organization of a liberation army to free Inner and Outer Mongolia. At the meeting they reached several agreements.

1) To obtain the approval of Chang Tsuo-lin

2) To purchase weapons

3) To organize a religion called Omoto-Lamaism (in China in those days it was illegal to spread any Japanese religion)

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