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Ruth Reiner


14. Stairway to Heaven!


What beautiful weather we’ve been having this past week here in Japan.
I must say that the light of the sun here in Japan has such a relaxing effect. Well in Israel the summer light is usually so bright that it is unbearable for the naked eyes.

So, last week we were talking somewhat about Onisaburo’s expedition to Mongolia, and I was sharing with you some doubts and feelings... well in general, it seems like Onisaburo was heading off with a mission of taking over these great lands, and creating some kind of collaboration, a”..spiritual and religious unity of the world,..” (ch 23).

Actually he did gain some popularity and legitimacy among the people of Mongolia (so it says in chapters 23-25 of “The Great Onisaburo Deguchi”). He often used healing methods and his special powers to get people to follow him. He was eventually even backed up by an army unit (of course we are talking of the 1920’s, being not a rare phenomenon in those days, of the war lords in China).

So whoever knows about this period in the history of China knows what an incredibly chaotic period it was, and how quickly changes accrued in those vast planes. But you know, in a way it sounds quite amusing that among these war lords that we’ve learned of in Chinese history was also this Onisaburo person from Japan... (an unknown episode in Chinese modern history). Well personally I am still confused about the linkage between his declarations of goals that I stated in the last item, and the means for achieving the goal... So anyway here is some updated scenery for the next thing that will come about in his mysterious voyage:

“In July 1924 Outer Mongolia was declared a republic with the backing of the Soviet Union... But now Soviet troops were in charge, posing a threat to Onisaburo’s entry into the country...” (ch 26)

So what happens at this point is that “Onisaburo’s guys” come to an understanding that if they go face to face with the powerful forces of the Soviets, the odds will be against them. And so, their conclusion is that they should camp out through the winter months in a town of a local ruler that supports them, and by spring advance to Kulon and begin negotiations with the Red Army.

So, here begins a great story:

It turns out that the local ruler that gave the consent to Onisaburo and his troops to camp on his territory, kind of had “a change of heart”. And so upon entering into his town:
“Onisaburo, Lu and the others were aware of a sudden change in the situation... The air of the town was tense, and the soldiers’ mood was also worrisome. Onisaburo had been telling Lu (the head of their army) for some days that ”...entering Tongliao will be like jumping into a fire,” so it was not entirely unexpected. However, the confident Lu’s shock was violent. By the time he realized his predicament, it was already too late, as the path of retreat was blocked by a large enemy force... He was indeed like a mouse in a trap.”

Well: at this point, knowing they are doomed, and there is not much they can do: Onisaburo decided to go to bed! (This I can identify with, my number one solution to things!) Lu on the other hand as a “good general” could not give up and relax...

Then Lu comes up with a very professional strategic solution:
“Lu thought of the last desperate plan. This was to call on Onisaburo to pray for rain, bring down such a downpour that fighting would be impossible, and perhaps find some way out in the confusion.” (ch 26)

Well yah... “Onisaburo, unable to refuse, went out into the garden... sat down and prayed... The rainmaking was a complete failure.. Not a drop of rain fell, and Lu and all his men were slaughtered, the outskirts of the town became a scene of dreadful carnage...” (ch 26)
Onisaburo has succeeded before (as told in the book) to bring down rain, but this time his failure had tragic results!

Yet we are told that:
“Some time after the events at Tongliao, the downpour finally came. The great dragon god had taken his time in coming, and now he decided to make the rain fall, he made sure he did his job properly, visiting not one but two dreadful deluges on the town of Tongliao, leaving the town devastated.” (ch 26)

Sounds like a Japanese tragedy doesn’t it?! Well actually it was.

You are probably wondering where our hero was in all this... Well so here it goes:
“On the night of June 21, 1924 Onisaburo was staying at an inn called Houbinguan in Tongliao. While they were sleeping, soldiers came in and bleary-eyed Japanese were all taken prisoners. Onisaburo, Morihei Ueshiba (the master of Aikido), and all the other Japanese were taken captive, had all their belongings taken from them, and were chained together in their underclothes” (ch 26)

“It was decided that they will be shot on the spot, and they were led to the place of execution.” (ch 26)

Well I got to go. Guess our time is up for this week! I hope you are truly this time looking forward for next weeks item. I actually kind of planned it this way to start getting more determined readers!


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