Morihiro Saito was the international head of the Iwama Ryu aikido. He was born in 1928 and began his training for Morihei Ueshiba, a.k.a O-Sensei in 1946 after having tried karate, kendo and judo. He stayed in Iwama training for O-Sensei for 23 years, until when in 1969 the master passed away with his head in Saito's hands, leaving the Iwama-jinja in his care.
During the time Saito taught his Iwama Ryu aikido, many aikidokas came to stay at the aiki-shrine to train with him as uchi deshis, but he also gave seminars all over the world.
His main interest, besides the aikido, was his garden, in which he was often seen working and training.
During the latter part of his life, Saito suffered from cancer in his throat. He was operated in 1996, but the cancer returned and spread to his spine and paralysed him. He died on the morning of May 13 2002, greatly missed by aikidokas world wide.