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An Aikido Life (16)

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by Gozo Shioda

Aiki News #87 (Winter/Spring 1991)

The founder of Yoshinkan Aikido continues the story of his experiences during the war years in the South Pacific. He is transferred from Pontianak to Makassar where he saves the day for the Taiwan Colonization Company by rounding up 150 bicycle tires despite a critical shortage caused by the War.

My Transfer To Makassar

Gozo Shioda Sensei in action

When I look back on those times I realize that I was too self-complacent, due to my immaturity and lack of experience. In addition, I think that the time and place in which I was living, the fact of the war and its proximity, made me behave out of character. On the personal level, such silly acts may have arisen from the fact that at the office I was in charge of accounting, in which I was not at all interested. At any rate it all stemmed from my immaturity.

Our payday was the 20th of each month, and I was in charge of making the payments. I used to calculate the total amount of salary for eight people, and after drawing the money from the Taiwan Bank, I would place it on top of my desk and call each of my staff, one by one, and ask, “How much is your salary?” He would answer, and I would tell him to take that amount from the stack of bills. I used to put only the money for the President into a pay envelope. I think that this is one of the reasons that the President was critical of me. So, perhaps it was only natural that such a disturbance as I described before [AN86] occurred. I lived this way from day to day.

In November of 1943, a telegram from the head office was delivered to the President. It ordered the transfer of Director Shioda to the Makassar Branch. It was sudden and unexpected, and I was astonished because I could think of no reason for such a transfer. At that time the director of the Makassar Branch was Mr. Kazuo Iwata. I had met him at my going away party in Taiwan just before I left for southern Asia, and I was favorably impressed. So I wrote to him asking the reason. A short while later he replied, “Mr. S., who had been a Director in the General Affairs section, misappropriated company money and was fired. I recommended to the head office that you succeed to this post.” I understood the situation and began to prepare for my departure.

I was pleased with this transfer because Mr. Shigeeda was living in Makassar, and that city was larger than Pontianak, so I could anticipate a lively and fun life.

It was a great deal of work to get ready to go. I had to dispose of many of the animals which I had kept in the Shioda Zoo. I slaughtered some each day and invited many guests to dinner. Every night many people came to my house for merry drinking parties. I was to leave my old post on December 1, so it was all right for me to move any time during December. Since I had plenty of time, I was leisurely in making my preparations to move, and everyday I held big parties. I think Omori must have been relieved at my departure, but Kagawa was still there. He was ordered to succeed me, to deal with the tanning business. He seemed depressed and felt very lonely, which was not at all like his usual self. I was provided with as much money as I needed to prepare for my move. I had a kind of rectangular box made of ironwood and put various things in it. I had many bags too, so all told I had 21 pieces of luggage. Also, I had a cage for the monkeys made, with iron netting on the front, as well as two boxes for the orangutans. I gave the deer and dogs to some Indonesians. Yokichi, who had been my servant, did not want to leave me, so I decided to take him with me to Makassar.

Farewell Party

As the day of my departure drew near, President Omori took the lead in holding a series of grand farewell parties for me, the likes of which had never been seen before. I suppose it was because he was so pleased with my transfer. They were held almost every night. Since I had become acquainted with many people, such as in the Tok-kei and in local businesses, there were many who were reluctant to see me go. I was deeply moved by the number of people who were going to miss me. I had known them for less than one year, but even now I can remember vividly, as if it were only yesterday, how deeply they moved me. On December 28, 1943, I boarded my ship. Many people came to see me off at the pier. After the ship had pulled away, they still did not leave and waved as we left. I was moved to tears and waved in response to their farewell. At last I left Pontianak in the company of my servant Yokichi.

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