$50,401 raised out of $26,500
Start date
Jan 12, 2021
Close date
Jan 13, 2021

A hardbound printing of Aikido Pioneers of the Prewar Era


A Return to Print Publishing

With a 45 year history,  Aikido Journal has been one of the leading authorities and publishers for the art of aikido. An all-digital publisher, Aikido Journal stopped creating printed magazines and books when digital publishing became the dominant way to disseminate information. 

We have a vision of returning to print publishing, not purely as a method to transmit information, but as an opportunity to create beautiful “artifacts” that can be treasured for generations to come. 

Aikido Pioneers: An epic, new edition of a classic

With your support, we will republish Aikido Pioneers of the Prewar Era,  a groundbreaking book written by our founder, Stanley Pranin. Originally published as a softcover book, this new reprint will be a numbered, limited edition large format (9’x12″) hardback coffee table style book.  

The Book

Aikido Pioneers tells the captivating story of the birth of aikido, based on the first-hand accounts of Ueshiba’s top students prior to World War II. The interviews contained in Aikido Pioneers have been edited from hundred of hours of conversations conducted over a 30-year period with those closest to the founder. 

The book contains direct accounts and insights from Yoichiro Inoue, Kenji Tomiki, Hisao Kameda, Hajime Iwata, Minoru Mochizuki, Shigemi Yonekawa, Rinjiro Shirata, Gozo Shioda, Yoshio Sugino, Kiyoshi Nakakura, Takako Kunigoshi, Zenzaburo Akazawa, Tenryu, Bansen Tanaka, Shigenobu Okumura, Minoru Hirai, Koichi Tohei, Kissaburo Osawa, Kanshu Sunadomari, and Kisshomaru Ueshiba. 

This 362 page book will be published as a large format (9″x12″) hardbound coffee table style book. 

Limited edition run: Each book will be uniquely numbered

Slip case with foil embossing

Heavyweight paper 


$1: Thank you for your support!

$15: E-book: A digital copy of our redesigned Aikido Pioneers of the Prewar Era. 

$40: The Digital Package

  • E-book of our redesigned Aikido Pioneers of the Prewar Era book.
  •  Aikido Pioneers Video Collection: Curated collection of videos featuring Morihei Ueshiba (prewar) and his prewar students, including Kenji Tomiki, Koichi Tohei, Gozo Shioda, Yoshio Sugino and other greats (a $39 value). 
  • Noma Dojo photo collection: A set of high-resolution digital images from the Noma Dojo collection. Shot in 1936, featuring Morihei Ueshiba’s prewar technique, many of these photos have never been published.  

Noma Dojo Collection: Morihei Ueshiba, 1936

$129: Limited Edition Hardback 

Limited Edition includes:

  • 9″x12″ numbered limited edition hardbound book with slipcase
  •  Aikido Pioneers video collection (a $39 value)
  • Noma Dojo photo collection (high-resolution)
  • E-book version of our redesigned Aikido Pioneers book
  • Free shipping within the United States

Limited edition hardback

Limited edition hardback (detail)

$279: Dojo Package

Dojo Package: Dojo Edition + Limited Edition Hardback

The dojo package includes 2 copies of our hardbound book. One from the $129 reward category, and one special Dojo Edition book with an alternative color, dust jacket, and additional detailing. This allows for one copy to remain at the dojo and the other to be part of the Chief Instructor’s personal home library, or given as a gift. Additionally, everyone who gets the dojo package will have the name of their dojo and the Chief Instructor featured in a special section of all print and digital versions of the book. Lastly, purchasing the Dojo Edition will grant you free copies of the digital edition of Aikido Pioneers for all of active members of your dojo (at the time of project delivery). 

Dojo Package includes:

  • One Dojo Edition hardbound book (alternative dust jacket, cover, and additional detailing).
  • One additional hardbound book (from the $129) reward level.
  • Dojo name and Chief Instructor’s name featured in a special section of all versions of the book.
  •  Complementary e-book of the new edition of Aikido Pioneers for all members in your dojo. You supply us with a list of student email addresses and they will all receive a digital copy of the book with your compliments. 
  •  Aikido Pioneers video collection (a $39 value)
  • Expanded Noma Dojo photo collection. High-resolution photos from the Noma collection, many of which have never before been published. 
  • Free shipping within the United States

Project Milestones

January/February: Design and proofing

March: Printing

May: Shipping (expect to receive your book aprox. 6-8 weeks after production completes) 

Our Work

If you’d like to see any of our work, visit the Aikido Journal website. We’ve been researching and publishing stories about the martial art of aikido since 1974. 

Other Stuff

Final design of the book layout, cover, and slipcase are subject to change. We may make changes if we find ways to make it better during the final design process. 

Shipping a large hardbound book is expensive. We’re covering shipping within the U.S and have discounted international shipping rates, although there is still an additional fee to ship out of the U.S.