George Ohsawa, born Nyoichi Sakurazawa (櫻澤 如一), October 18, 1893 – April 23, 1966, was the founder of the macrobiotic diet. When living in Europe he went by the pen names of Musagendo Sakurazawa, Nyoiti Sakurazawa, and Yukikazu Sakurazawa. He also used the French first name Georges while living in France, and his name is sometimes also given this spelling. He wrote about 300 books in Japanese and 20 in French. He defined health on the basis of seven criteria: lack of fatigue, good appetite, good sleep, good memory, good humour, precision of thought and action, and gratitude.
Ohsawa was born into a poor samurai family in Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture. He had no money for higher education. Around 1913, he joined the Shokuiku movement, studying with Manabu Nishibata, a direct disciple of the late Sagen Ishizuka, in Tokyo. William Dufty describes the background ("Nyoiti" is a variant transcription of "Nyoichi"):
The gradual introduction of sugar into the Japanese diet brought in its wake the beginning of Western diseases. A Japanese midwife, trained in the techniques of Western medicine as a nurse, fell ill and was abandoned as incurable by the Western doctors she had espoused. Three of her children died the same way. The fourth, Nyoiti Sakurazawa, rebelled at the notion of dying of tuberculosis and ulcers in his teens. He took up the study of ancient Oriental medicine which had been officially outlawed in Japan. Sakurazawa was attracted to the unorthodox career of a famous Japanese practitioner, Dr. Sagen Ishizuka. Thousands of patients had been cured by Ishizuka (through traditional use of food) after they had been abandoned as incurable by the new medicine of the West.
Ohsawa writes in his books that he cured himself of tuberculosis at the age of 19 by applying the ancient Chinese concept of yin and yang as well as the teachings of Sagen Ishizuka.
Later he traveled in Europe and began to spread his philosophy in Paris. It was in this period that he adopted his pen name "Ohsawa", supposedly from the French Oh, ça va, which means "All right" or "I'm doing fine" as a reply to the question "how are you doing?"). After several years, he returned to Japan to start a foundation and gather recruits for his now formalized philosophy. In 1931, he published The Unique Principle explaining the yin and yang order of the universe.
After drawing attention during World War II for his pacifist ideals, he wrote a book that predicted Japan's defeat and was incarcerated, narrowly escaping death. After being freed from prison by U.S. General McArthur, he moved his institution to a remote area in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture.
In 1961, he wrote Zen Macrobiotic, referring to the macrobiotic diet that had been advocated by Christoph Hufeland in Germany since 1796. Subsequently, the philosophy of Ohsawa has been referred to as Macrobiotics.
While he was in France, Ohsawa wrote a number of books in French, which were published by Vrin Publishers in Paris. Among them were L'Ere Atomique (The Atomic Age), written during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In this book, as in all the books Ohsawa wrote, he devoted considerable space to explaining how macrobiotics can shed light on many social problems as well as the causes of war, and help bring about a world in which war will be seen as an outcome of an error of judgment, and discarded as an effective solution to social conflict.
Ohsawa also created a stir by predicting the deaths of several notable people, including John F. Kennedybased on the condition known in Japan as "sanpaku" (literally "three empty"), a traditional Japanese physiognomic diagnosis in which a white area below as well as to each side of the iris appears when the eye is viewed straight on. This anomaly was considered a sign of extreme fatigue that made one accident-prone and slow to react. Samurai were trained to watch for this feature to assist in determining how formidable an enemy would be in hand-to-hand combat. Sakurazawa Nyoichi used this diagnosis in his teachings and Ohsawa adapted it as a more general diagnostic indication of one's general state of health. The assassination of President Kennedy led Tom Wolfe to write:
Abdul Karim Kassem, Ngo Dinh Diem, and President Kennedy, all sanpaku and, now, shot to death, all destroyed by the fate of the sanpaku, which is more than coincidence and should be an alarm signal to men and nations, say the Macrobiotics, for thus it has been demonstrated by their leader, George Ohsawa, Japanese prophet of the Unique Principle.
This article caught the attention of William Dufty, who, finding relief in the brown rice diet recommended by Ohsawa, became an advocate of macrobiotics, and traveled to Paris to meet with Ohsawa and publisher Felix Morrow. Ohsawa handed Dufty a package, and said, "Here is a lifetime of writing. Do your best with them. It's your turn."In 1965 Morrow's firm, University Books, published Ohsawa's writings under the provocative title You Are All Sanpaku.
Ohsawa died of a heart attack at the age of 74.
The following bibliography of the writings of George Ohsawa is from page 218 of You Are All Sanpaku:
Translations by Ohsawa
A macrobiotic diet is a fad diet based on ideas about types of food drawn from Zen Buddhism. The diet attempts to balance the supposed yin and yang elements of food and cookware. Major principles of macrobiotic diets are to reduce animal products, eat locally grown foods that are in season, and consume meals in moderation.
Gloria May Josephine Swanson was an American actress and producer. She was the silent screen's most successful and highest paid star, earning $20,000 per week in the mid-1920s. Noted for her extravagance, Swanson earned $8 million from 1918 to 1929 and spent nearly all of it. Swanson starred in dozens of silent films, often under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille. In 1928, she was nominated for the first Academy Award ever given for Best Actress.
Christoph Wilhelm Friedrich Hufeland was a German physician, naturopath and writer. He is famous as the most eminent practical physician of his time in Germany and as the author of numerous works displaying extensive reading and a cultivated critical faculty.
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Sugar Blues is a book by William Dufty that was released in 1975 and has become a dietary classic. According to the publishers, over 1.6 million copies have been printed. A digest called Refined Sugar: the Sweetest Poison of Them All was prepared by Dufty, see § External links.
Kokkoh is an infant formula broth made from whole grains, seeds and legumes lightly toasted and ground to a powder. It was first brought to Western culture by Sakura Nyoichi, better known as George Ohsawa, as part of the Macrobiotic Diet, based a recipe widely used in traditional Japan. Brown rice is its primary and can be its only solid ingredient. Many kokkoh recipes include other whole grains, seeds and seasonings, most commonly sweet rice, azuki beans, sesame seeds, oats, barley, soybeans and kombu.
Sanpaku gan (三白眼) or Sanpaku (三白) is a Japanese term meaning "three whites". It is generally referred to in English as "sanpaku eyes" and refers to eyes in which either the white space above or below the iris is revealed.
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Dominique Lecourt is a French philosopher. He is known in the anglophone world primarily for his work developing a materialist interpretation of the philosophy of science of Gaston Bachelard.
Sagen Ishizuka was a doctor in the Imperial Japanese Army who pioneered the concepts of shokuiku and the macrobiotic diet. He was one of the first to investigate the nutritional value of whole grains as well as sea vegetables, daikon, and kudzu.
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1912: Ohsawa re-establishes his health using Sagen Ishizuka's diet of whole brown rice, fresh vegetables, sea salt, and oil.
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