The other main influence on Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei, not in terms of martial technique but rather in the spiritual sense, was Onisaburo Deguchi, the spiritual leader of the Omoto (Shinto) religion. O-Sensei met Deguchi for the first time in 1919.
O-Sensei moved to Tokyo around the late 1920s, first teaching in private settings and finally establishing the Kobukan dojo in 1931. The dojo was situated in Shinjuku on the same site as the present Hombu Dojo.
Moving to Iwama
O-Sensei had purchased land in Iwama in the late 1930s in preparation for his move out of Tokyo. In 1942, suffering from illness and wanting to leave behind the gruelling, war-torn Tokyo life, The Founder retired to rural Iwama (know called Kasama), where he engaged in farming, training and meditation.
Beginning in the mid-1950s, O-Sensei ventured away from Iwama more often, spending days in Tokyo, Osaka, Wakayama and many other places he was invited to.
In his later years, The Founder’s health was failing and he spent more of his time in Tokyo. O-Sensei could by this time begin to see the fruits of his labor, with Aikido gaining great popularity around the world. This was partly due to the first Japanese teachers sent abroad to spread the art, as well as the first foreigners who came to Japan to learn Aikido at its source. Iwama was, however, O-Sensei’s spiritual home; and one can feel his presence very strongly when visiting his beloved Dojo in the beautiful rural town of Iwama.
Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei passed away on April 26, 1969, leaving behind the treasure he created called Aikido.
For further in-depth writings about Morihei Ueshiba I would like to refer readers to the body of work that Stanley Pranin, editor of Aikido Journal, has compiled. He has written many books about O-Sensei as well as included many important historical facts in the texts to be found in the “Takemusu Aikido” series featuring Saito Sensei’s techniques.