Aikido Kobayashi Dojo

Aikido, My Way.

Part 1 Birth in Kudan


I was born in 1936 in Kudansakaue just in front of Yasukuni Shrine.
As everyone knows, 1936 was the year of the February 26th Incident in which young officers tried a coup to restore the Emperor to power. According to my father, since our house was on the hill in back of the Yasakuni Shrine, that February, soldiers with machine guns were swarming around creating a very imposing atmosphere.

The fifth boy in a family of eight children, I had five brothers and two sisters, but my two oldest brothers died early and my youngest died at the end of the war; none of us had that healthy of a childhood. My father, Kinshiro Kobayashi, came to Tokyo after he graduated from elementary school in Tochigi Prefecture and opened a rice store in Kudan. There were days when he would say nothing at all. I don’t really remember him as being particularly busy and I don’t have any unpleasant memories of him. He was a merchant; everything he had was tied up in the rice store, so that’s where he put his energy. He wasn’t a scholar but he had to have a keen mind to run a business. At the time of my birth the family business was thriving, so our family was well off. My father was in charge of provisions for the Imperial Guards, so we were really prospering. All of my sisters and brothers grew up in such a rich environment with maids and nannies for each of us, I don’t have any recollection of being poor in the early days.

I don’t recall playing much with my mother, but the talk around Kudan was that she was the beauty of the neighborhood. There are photographs of her showing she was beautiful and possessed a certain strength. She was a hardworking person. Unfortunately, when I was a first-year junior high school student, in the unhygienic post war era, she died of dysentery.

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