On the 11th October is the anniversary of the passing of the Great Lady Sata Saito, aged 89.
Saito san, wife of Morihiro Saito shihan and mother of Saito Hitohira sensei, was the one who took daily care of O-Sensei and his wife Hatsu.
For decades, along with her husband, welcomed thousands of uchideshi, sotodeshi and visitors caressing them with her smile, teaching them, instructing them. Tireless worker endured untold hardships during her life, always with a rare inner strength in any human being.
If today there is aikido, especially Iwama aikido, it was thanks to the work of this great lady, who never gave up and always served, from morning to night, O-Sensei and his wife.
Although she suffered part of her life due to aikido, always connected with her husband and the founder, there is a calligraphy of hers saying, “Profound Gratitude for aikido."
We bow deeply before this lady, absolutely unparalleled and extraordinary.
Sata Saito (Okusama) was a very strong, dedicated, selfless, and inspiring woman. She was like a mother and grandmother to many aikidoka around the world and the only person I witnessed in Iwama who could tell Saito Sensei what to do, and he would do it.
I have many fond memories of Okusama, and me and my family as well as members of Kokoro-Kai Iwama Ryu dojo send our heartfelt condolences. I was extremely fortunate to meet, spend time, and learn from her. She will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
Once she got married, Okusama felt it was her duty to help her husband take care of the Founder and his wife.
The young couple was very poor and suffered a lot during the years they served the Aikido founder.
Saito sensei initially also worked for the Japanese railway and spent a few days outside the dojo. But Okusama was always there, helping in the field, washing, cooking, cleaning.... She was very close to the founder and his wife Hatsu-sama.
Okusama also wanted to practice Aikido, but she just didn't have the time between taking care of the Ueshiba couple and then her family.
When she had her first daughter, Motomi-sama, the founder welcomed her as her own granddaughter.
One day, some uchideshi were practicing in their spare time, at the O-sensei dojo, after asking Saito Sensei's permission. Okusama was making floral arrangements for the altar. I was helping with another uchideshi. Without raising the eyes of the flowers, she said: "Sensei would be angry if you did that!". We were very surprised!!! Although she never practiced, she knew how to execute the techniques.
She was a wonderful lady full of knowledge and qualities... and surprises!