Kisshomaru Ueshiba was born on June 27, 1921 in Ayabe, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. He was a prominent Japanese master of aikido. He was the son of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of aikido, and he became the international leader of aikido after his father’s death.
In 1942 he was still studying at Waseda University when his father decided he would retire to Iwama and appointed Kisshomaru Ueshiba the head of the Kobukan Dojo in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Ueshiba saved the dojo from fire bombing several times during the World War II. Kisshomaru Ueshiba graduated with a degree in economics in 1946.
When he spoke about the period just after World War II, Moriteru Ueshiba, grandson of Morihei Ueshiba said, “there was not yet much activity at the Hombu Dojo. For a time my father [Kisshomaru Ueshiba] was actually in Iwama instead … starting around 1949, he worked for about seven years at a company called Osaka Shoji. He had no other choice. Even if you have a dojo, you can’t make a living if nobody is coming to train, which was largely the case after the war. So, he took a job as an ordinary company employee during the day and taught only in the mornings and evenings.”
Beginning in 1948, he oversaw the development of the Aikikai Honbu organization and would also oversee the eventually the tearing down of the Kobukan Dojo in 1967 to construct the Aikikai headquarters.
After Morihei Ueshiba’s death in 1969, Kisshomaru Ueshiba took on the mantle of Doshu or the hereditary head of the art of aikido. In 1995 the Japanese government honored Kisshomaru Ueshiba with the Zui Hosho Medal. By 1998, Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s health was continuing to decline and he had to make numerous visits to the hospital.
Kisshomaru Ueshiba died around 5:30 PM on January 4, 1999, in a Tokyo hospital from respiratory failure. He was 77 years old.
As Kisshomaru Ueshiba father was the first Doshu, he was the second Doshu, and after his death, his son Moriteru Ueshiba became the third Doshu, following the iemoto system.
Kisshomaru Ueshiba wrote the following books:
A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba (2008)
The Art of Aikido: Principles and Essential Techniques (2004)
Best Aikido: The Fundamentals (2002)
The Spirit of Aikido (1987), Kodansha International