"Aikido Wa Ichiban Budo Desu" is supposedly a quote from 植芝 盛平, Ueshiba Morihei (founder of Aikido).
Most people translate this as "Aikido is first and foremost a true Budo".
My question is: how are you supposed to write this using Japanese characters? I came up with: 合氣道が一番 武道です but on the other hand my Japanese proficiency is non-existent.
Can someone provide a proper "translation" (starting from the possibly mangled phonetic version in the title... this is all I have at the moment) and doublecheck if any japanese source shows this as a quote from Ueshiba?
A bit of clarification: "Aikido Wa Ichiban Budo Desu" has been banged around on Aikido blogs (again, so far I have seen it mentioned only in Italy) for a couple of years. Always written phonetically like this. I have been unable to trace it to something more solid, so I hoped that if I could reverse engineer it back to properly written Japanese I could look up a more creditable source. It is completely possible that this is (another) completely bogus quote or factoid (I suppose that Martial Arts are a rich source for this) or that it was misunderstood/wrongly transcribed - I am ready to accept that this is completely wrong, I am just trying to see how far I can go in proving (or disproving) it.
Update: apparently the sentence was expressed by Ueshiba Kisshomaru (son of Ueshiba Morihei) and it was written as "合氣道は、いうまでもなく本質的に武道である". Credit goes to a couple of answers I got on the Martial Arts Stackexchange.
It may be possible that Morihei expressed the same sentiment (he often spoke of Aikido as the "perfect" or "final" Budo) but there seems to be no written record of someone actually saying "Aikido Wa Ichiban Budo Desu". I suspect that this specific factoid started from western people training in Iwama (with Saito Morihiro Sensei) so maybe this was someone who tried to express the concept without having a perfect fluency in Japanese.