As a holiday gift to the aikido community, Aikido Journal has created a new version of our Principal Disciples of Morihei Ueshiba chart, originally developed by AJ founder Stanley Pranin. We hope you’ll enjoy and share this important overview of the lineage of aikido. Here’s a bit of background on the effort to update and modernize the chart…
The Original Chart
First created by Stanley Pranin and published by Aikido Journal, the original chart was designed to provide a visual representation of the primary direct students of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. It was created in 2001 and last updated in 2011 by Stanley Pranin. We recently gave away the original high-resolution chart as one of the items in a digital gift box for Aikido Journal TV subscribers.
The New and Improved Chart
When we decided to update the chart, we wanted it to look better, to be a more useful informational resource, and we wanted to update its accuracy and completeness. After consulting with a few historical experts, we realized that there were a number of key individuals not included in the original chart. In the last published version, Stanley Pranin noted that the selection of individuals was personally curated (and not exhaustive) and that the chart should be construed as an ongoing project. After looking at the details, we came to the conclusion that it would be a major undertaking to revise or update the individuals included in the chart and instead focused on creating a more streamlined and elegant design for the existing information.
To this end, we enlisted the aid of Mario Sapienza, an aikidoka and graphic design professional, to re-imagine and redesign the chart from the ground up. The result is a beautiful, high-resolution poster that can be printed in large format, or viewed as a digital document. To both reduce chart clutter and provide more value and depth, we removed the tagline below each person’s name, such as “Osaka prewar student,” and instead included hyperlinks for each individual.
Clicking on any person in the chart will lead you to all the information available on the individual on the Aikido Journal website. As we continue to restore and republish the more than 2,000 articles and stories in our archive, those links will lead you to an increasingly deep database of information, making this version of the chart a more valuable resource over time.
The Design Philosophy
I remember when Stanly Pranin published this graphic for the first time. I downloaded it immediately and printed it in A4 size to nail it to the cork-board I had in the advertising agency where I worked. It was great to see the faces of all the principal students of Ueshiba on a single page, and at the same time I found it very useful to understand the chronology of the Founder’s history.
Today I have taken the challenge of rethinking this great contribution from a professional perspective through data visualization. The new chart is designed to allow us to interpret the information in a simple and visual way. Its main objective is to communicate in a clear, precise, and efficient way through graphics, diagrams, and infographics.
Conceptually, I decided to take the visual language of molecules to show the disciples of each decade, all of them connected to the Founder. These molecules are a foundational part of the growing, living entity called aikido.
Pictures of the sensei are coded in either black and white or color to reflect those who have died and those who are still living.
I would like to thank Josh Gold for giving me the opportunity to contribute my professional knowledge to help strengthen and nurture our aikido community.
– Mario Sapienza, designer and aikidoka
This project would not have been possible without Mario Sapienza, the lead designer. It was also made possible by Aikido Journal’s patrons and Aikido Journal TV’s subscribers who fund our operations and special projects. We’d also like to extend a special thanks to Seido for their continued support and collaboration efforts. And last but not least, none of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of the late Stanley Pranin, the founder of Aikido Journal, who not only labored to put together the original chart, but performed all the historical research that serves as the informational foundation the chart is built upon.
Download the Chart
Please enjoy this updated chart. We encourage you to share it as widely as possible and hope it will serve you well.