Aikido Kobayashi Dojo

from the Dojocho's Blog

40th Anniversary T-Shirt

There were all kinds of interesting episodes connected with the planning of Aikido Kobayashi Dojo 40th anniversary celebrations, and I’d like to introduce several of these in a series of blogs.

The first incident is connected with the design of the 40th anniversary commemorative T-Shirt. What kind of design would be appropriate for the 40th year celebration and reflect Kobayashi Dojo so that members would want to keep wearing the T-shirts?


I have received a lot of T-shirts as gifts. I wear them as a duty when I get them but unfortunately there are many designs that I wouldn’t be caught dead in. I wanted a shirt we could sell with pride to all our members.

Usually when we make dojo T-shirt, we borrow the photo of the founder, Morihei Ueshiba, and also his calligraphy. There were many designs submitted and I even tried my own hand at a design. We didn’t know what to do. We had to have a design everyone would be happy to wear. It was easy to talk about T-shirt logos but quite another coming up with one.

The vice-captain of Harvard university Aikido club, Corey spent 3 months at Tokorozawa Dojo two years ago. After he graduated from University he returned to Japan as a Junior High School English teacher in Kanazawa. During the summer holiday in August, he stayed at Tokorozawa Dojo again for two weeks. When Hiroaki and he were talking about T-shirt, Corey told Hiroaki that he designed the Harvard university Aikido club T-Shirt. Hiroaki also saw his beer mug, ball cap, towels, etc., all with Harvard Logo. Suddenly, Hiroaki got an idea, and asked Corey to design an appropriate T-Shirt for the 40th anniversary.


Corey asked Hiroaki, “What is the concept of the T-shirt?” Hiroaki told him that the main concept is to express the 40 years of history of Kobayashi Dojo, and to “make everyone happy!”

Corey sweated and worried over the design for days and then had a brilliant idea for the photo. When we took the photo to the printer, who had seen so many of the previous attempts, he said “You can really get a sense of the Dojo history with this photo, can’t you!”

The photo in question was one of then four year-old Hiroaki and me running on the beach at Iwai where we hold our annual Camp. Perfect. I wrote the brush strokes “true victory is victory over oneself” for the front side. When we displayed the T-shirt at parties and seminars, there were many people saying they wanted one. Anyone reading this blog who still wants one, let us know!*

*Translator's note: t-shirts are all sold-out. Sorry!


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