Literally the word Doshu (道 主 / ど う し ゅ / Dōshu) means “Master of the Way”. This title is attributed to the leader of Aikikai. While the same term can probably be used in members of other schools, in Japanese the term is mostly used specifically for Aikido.
The system of succession of a chief martial arts school (iemoto) by his son (either biological or an adopted because of succession) was common in koryū (traditional schools). Other schools use the title Sōke the leader.
- Founder (開 祖 Kaiso): Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). He founded the art of aikido. He was the first Doshu but often mentioned as Osensei (Great Teacher).
- Second Doshu (二代 道 主): Kisshomaru Ueshiba (1921-1999). He took the reins of the organization and acquired the title of Doshu in 1969 after the death of his father, Morihei Ueshiba. Kisshomaru was the first one in Aikido that was referred to as Doshu. He was succeeded by his son Moriterou.
- Third Doshu (三代 道 主): Moriteru Ueshiba (1951-), is the current Doshu. This is the grandson of the founder of Aikido and gained the title in 1999.
Mitsuteru Ueshiba (1980-) going to succeed Moriteru and is referred to as “Waka (若) Sensei”.