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Abe Sensei and O-Sensei’s Calligraphy

Aiki News #45 (February 1982)

In this issue of AIKI NEWS we offer an interview with Mr. Seiseki Abe who was, in addition to being a high-ranking Aikido instructor, O-Sensei’s calligraphy teacher. In fact, Abe Sensei is one of the foremost calligraphers of Japan and his work has been exhibited on many occasions. it is fascinating to read about his interpretation of the practice of Aikido and calligraphy as sharing a common goal.

Abe Sensei also possesses a fine collection of some of the best of O-Sensei’s kakejiku (hanging scrolls) and he was kind enough to bring a beautiful specimen of O-Sensei’s work along to show us for the interview.

A reading of Abe Sensei’s comments will lead to a realization of the importance of the misogi purification practice as a part of O-Sensei’s daily ascetic training. We are also provided with an intimate glimpse into the Founder’s everyday routine allowing a better understanding of his human side.

Abe Sensei published a series of doka (a type of short philosophical poem) written by O-Sensei which he mentions in the interview several years ago and has graciously allowed us permission to reprint this fascinating collection along with an English translation for our non-Japanese readers. This will appear in our next issue, No. 46.

Though now over 70 years of age, Abe Sensei continues to lead an extremely active life as a teacher of Aikido and master calligrapher. He has been extremely cooperative in lending us materials relating to the Founder and most supportive of our efforts to disseminate this information to the general Aikido public.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll read a report submitted by staff member, Noriko Takase, which is a description of her trip to southern Japan that resulted in the discovery of a veritable mountain of material dealing with the life of the Founder. In fact, one of the problems we are currently faced with is how to keep up with the influx of new documents. It is our hope that as the number of subscribers grows we’ll be able to add more pages to each issue, and plans for the near future call for the publication of a series of O-Sensei photo albums as the AIKI NEWS archives now contain somewhere around 500 photos.