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Shirata and Mochizuki Senseis

by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #62 (July 1984)

This issue of Aiki News is special indeed since we simultaneously focus on two men who have greatly contributed to the evolution of Aikido and breadth and maturity of the modern art: Rinjiro Shirata of Yamagata Prefecture and Minoru Mochizuki of Shizuoka City, both high-ranking dan holders and devotees of the art for more than 50 years.

The first part of the Shirata Sensei interview appears on page 3 and quite fortuitously coincides with the publication of a fine book authored by Mr. John Stevens of Sendai centering on the Aikido of this great teacher (see “Heard in the Dojo” for a description and details concerning the book). Shirata Sensei is an amazingly active 72 years young and is a wonderful example of what one may become through a lifetime of Aikido pracice.

The next special feature we offer you in this issue is an unusual pictorial selection capturing some of the highlights of the long and extraordinary career of Minoru Mochizuki Sensei, a grand old gentlemen who has opened his heart and home to the staff of Aiki News aiding us in our efforts to trace the roots of Aikido. You’ll encounter a series of rare photo graphs from Mochizuki Sensei’s personal collection such as of Jigoro Kano, the Founder of Judo, 0-Sensei in 1931 and in later years, the wedding photo of the present Doshu and many shots of both the young and mature Mochizuki Sensei. As we mentioned in the last issue, we literally invaded the home of Sensei with cameraman Mr. Akira Fuji and numerous photography gear and accessories. The siege lasted some eight hours during which time all of the displaced inhabitants of Mochizuki Sensei’s household had to brave the veritable jungle of lights, tripods, cables and other unseemly paraphernalia. Through it all, Sensei naturally maintained perfect composure and, upon completion of our marathon endeavors, still had enough energy left to pose for a photograph for us. Let us reiterate here, we cannot thank Mochizuki Sensei enough for his many kindnesses.

A final word. Aiki News has recently enjoyed a quite noticeable spurt in growth perhaps, we think, in response to the new, enhanced format and increased contents. We wish to thank our readers one and all for their loyal support over the years and we pledge to renew our efforts to make this publication better in every way possible and something we can all be proud of!