Masando Sasaki (February 1, 1929 – February 15, 2013) – was an 8 Dan Aikido Aikikai Shihan and a Shinto priest. Was an Otomo for the O-Sensei and been teaching in the Hombu Dojo.
Masando Sasaki was born in Nagoya, in a family with 6 children. His first steps in the martial arts were done during the WW2. He studied Sumo, Kendo and Jukenjutsu. In 1948, he lost a sight function for one of his eyes because of the nail accident on the carpentry he was working at.
As a young man, Sasaki had to do very different things to survive. He ran a book store, imported a paper to Tokyo and even joined a reserve of a National Police in 1950. Graduation from Chuo University was followed by studies in a school of law. Masando Sasaki was looking to pursue a political career this time but ended up in the Japan Defense Agency as an Admission Officer. Same agency was a place where he saw a first Aikido demonstration by the Kisshomaru Ueshiba in 1954. Shortly after Masando went to the Hombu Dojo and met Morihei Ueshiba.
As an active nationalist he founded an espionage school in the early ‘60s. He invested all of his own money, borrowed several hundred thousand yen more for this project and got discovered by the CIA. Strangled by debts he left for the mountains where he met one of his teachers in the face of Tempu Nakamura. The last one was a martial expert and his advice to our hero was to go deeper with the Aikido.
Sasaki joined again in 1964. Soon after, his teacher, Nobuyoshi Tamura had to go to France and left Sasaki with the Saturday morning classes to lead. In addition to those, Masando was teaching at the Josai and Yamagata universities, and private Dojos.
A follower of Shinto ascetic practices, Master Sasaki integrated to the Ichikukai Dojo and became a priest of the Yamakage San’in Shinto stream in 1976. He gave Shinto teaching courses and specific training in Japan and abroad. In 1995, Sensei inaugurated Tamura’s Shumeikan Dojo in France.
Overall, Shihan spent 43 years with the Aikikai and then left to open a private Dojo in Saitama. Yoshiaki Yokota and Yukimitsu Kobayashi are only starting a list of his students. He authored 15 books about the traditions, history, philosophy of Japan and was know for his laughter. At the end of each class Sensei asked everyone to laugh loudly which is not a usual practice.