About the interview
This interview began more than 3 years ago, in my mind, when I started to study to become a Zen Shiatsu Therapist with Mino sensei. As questions arouse, I noted them down and as time went by, I checked them again to verify if I already had the answers or not. When I finished the course, as expected, the initial queries had been replaced by new ones, from which I selected the following ones to compose this interview. The purpose of this text is to disseminate Shiatsu and the teachings of one of its pioneers here in our country, Argentina.
About the Master
Eiji Mino was born on June 9, 1944, in Aomori City, Japan.
He immigrated to Argentina in 1967 looking to work on something related to his profession (Agronomy; specialized in crops and landscape gardening). Later, he began to work as a Shiatsu therapist and he started to teach small groups of students.
Some time afterward, he went back to Japan, where he stayed for three years in order to perfect his knowledge of Shiatsu. Over there, he studied with Master Tokujiro Namikoshi, Director of the Japan Shiatsu College, and also with Master Shizuto Masunaga, Director of the Iokai Shiatsu Center.
When he returned to Argentina, he continued working as a therapist and, in 1978, he established the Centro Zen Shiatsu, which he manages as the Director. Currently, after 40 years, he has trained more than 1,000 Shiatsu therapists.
Questions to a Shiatsu Master
By Mario Sapienza
English Trans. by Ma. Teresa Vidaurre
Why did you decide to learn Shiatsu, sensei?
When I was 11-12 years old, I started to run a lot and, of course, I didn’t have a specialist to accompany me during my growth. Without knowing anything, I ran so much that my knees started to swell. Later, they were filled with liquid and when I couldn’t resist it any more, I went to the doctor. I saw the doctor every week and he used needles to drain the liquid. However, the following week my knees were full of liquid again. The situation remained the same for almost a year. Finally, the doctor told me that draining the liquid wasn’t working anymore and that I needed surgery. So, when I was around 13 or 14 years old, a friend of my father recommended me to try Shiatsu. That is to say, 60 years ago. At that time, no one knew what Shiatsu was. What is Shiatsu? What does it do? How is it? Nobody knew about it. But before undergoing a surgery, I was suggested to try it.
That’s how everything started, and that’s why I always say that Nagashima was my first teacher. His therapy was truly helping me. All of his clients went to his place and chatted among themselves and, next to them, the doctor attended. So, since I was the only little kiddo among many grownups, I was ignored. Nobody paid attention to me. Thus, the only thing that I could do was to observe how the master worked with the people. At last, after 6 or 8 months, I was able to touch my bottom with my heel. My problem was that I couldn’t bend my knees at all. I wasn’t even able to ride a bike. Those were the conditions in which I went to the Shiatsu therapies. The excitement of having regained the movement is what made me take the decision of studying it. I told myself, I’m going to learn this technique. Before, I used to observe how the sensei worked just out of curiosity, but then, I contemplated his work with intent. The master never taught me anything. I only observed and began to copy Shiatsu and I started to try on my friends and family what I’ve seen. That’s how I was initiated in the learning of Shiatsu when I was around 14-15 years old.
When I was 16 years old, I had already decided to move to Argentina. My idea was to work as a farmer. I supposed that there wouldn’t be any doctors around, so I had to be able to attend my own family. I thought that maybe I had to be there to help my wife give birth. Therefore, I began to study the basis of medicine. However, I enrolled in the Agronomy Faculty since I planned to grow flowers here. Finally, I decided to study flower growing and medicine at the same time, with the idea of being fully prepared to travel here.
Before coming, I took a Shiatsu course to perfect a bit the technique. After arriving, as I expected, I started to work in a nursery. However, I felt the need to be in contact with people since gardening is usually a beautiful job, but you don’t have anyone to talk to and to interact with. Japanese families are used to enter the nursery and work there for hours non-stop, even on Saturdays and Sundays. I spent one or two years almost without getting out of the nursery. I wanted to connect with Argentina, and since I didn’t have money or any other resources, I thought Shiatsu was the only way possible to do it. Thus, I decided to begin.
The good thing about practicing Shiatsu is that I could treat the patients at their homes. So even if I didn’t have resources or an office, I was able to start working anyways. Around that time, I met by chance a Japanese therapist who lived in Villa Elisa. The man died so I decided to continue working in his office. I went there and I began to attend the patients. That experience was harder than the previous one because that man had a lot of patients and, therefore, I had to face a variety of problems that rose. The difficulties I faced working there for three years made me realize that I had to learn more about Shiatsu and improve. I was already married and practicing Shiatsu, but I decided to continue learning. I left Argentina and went back to Japan together with my wife and older daughter. Of course, I traveled to Aomori to my parents’ house. The most important school was located in Tokyo. Before going there, I spent some time analyzing where I preferred to go, and that is how I ended up knowing Namikoshi’s school and another group, Iokai, where Masunaga taught.
I understand that you studied first with Namikoshi…
Yes, but I studied with Namikoshi almost at the same time that I studied with Masunaga. Iokai, an idea of Master Masunaga, is not really a school, but it’s more like an institute for advanced professionals. There, the offered courses could be studied in stages. If a Shiatsu professional has doubts or isn’t able to work well, he or she will find in Iokai the re-education he or she needs. That’s why I say that Iokai isn’t really a Shiatsu school. Instead, Namikoshi’s school was certified by the government. In order to practice as therapist, it’s necessary to be trained by a certified school like this one. After completing the training, you have to take an exam. But at that time, Masunaga sensei had already written many books and I was very interested in learning with him. For all those reasons, I studied with Namikoshi and simultaneously I made the most out of Masunaga’s teachings.
What’s the main difference between the teachings of Masters Namikoshi and Masunaga?
Since Namikoshi taught how to work with legs, arms and the whole body, his teachings were fundamental to be trained as a therapist from the basis. In contrast, Masunaga’s school was for those who already had previous knowledge about Shiatsu and it taught them the conditions in which they should work. With Namikoshi one learned the way to proceed like “put your finger here for this, apply pressure in this way”, but with Masunaga we presented cases, for example, if a patient had a problem with a leg, plus circulation, digestive or respiratory problems, we were taught how to handle the leg in relation with the specific situation of the patient. That was the main difference. Namikoshi sensei taught the basis for the handling of the body, while Masunaga sensei prioritized the general problem of the patient and focusing on that, he showed us how to handle the body.
Completing Namikoshi’s course took a little bit more than two years. Instead, the learning process with Masunaga didn’t take more than six months, and nonetheless, it included a little bit of basic training and medical theory, even knowledge to treat difficult patients. It consisted of three levels that were distributed in seminars.
Thanks to that I was able to study. Since I worked in Aomori at my brother-in-law’s business, I saved money, looked at Masunaga’s program and decided which seminar I wanted to take at that moment. The seminars were always repeated. Due to the lack of resources, I couldn’t take the seminars for six straight months, and therefore, I saved money and went there for ten days, for example. I learned from one seminar and then, I returned to Aomori to save money again to be able to go back to Tokyo and continue studying. I completed Namikoshi’s educational cycle as well. Every time that I was able to go to Tokyo, I attended the courses that my income allowed me. I studied there for ten days, and then, I returned to Aomori to save money once again. That’s why it took me three years to complete the courses. Unfortunately, I couldn’t live in Tokyo and pay for my studies for six straight months. That’s how my learning and training experiences were.
To tell you the truth, more than anything else, I wanted to learn what Masunaga sensei taught. What did the master want to convey? Before attending the school, I had already read his books and studied his philosophy; and that’s the part that I wanted to deepen.
How would you describe Masunaga’s philosophy?
It would take a long time to explain it. So, to sum it up, his philosophy meant that you have to able to say what the patient is feeling. How does the patient feel when he or she gets sick? That is what must be understood in order to learn. Rather than knowing how to work to solve a certain problem, you must perceive what the person is feeling with that manifestation. What is the foundation of the illness?
Do you mean the condition that got him or her sick?
Exactly. With his philosophy, Masunaga conveyed to the therapist his level of psychology, that understanding. So, when you are attending patients, you don’t have to be the protagonist of their improvement, but you must perceive and know their condition, you must accompany and understand them. I think that is the aspect that Masunaga conveyed the most.
Is that a more evolved part of the Shiatsu study?
Hmm, I’m not sure if “evolve” is the right word. The therapist has to understand why the patient got sick and has to know the condition why the patient got that illness. But understanding that is not easy at all, right? You have to ask yourself how you can get closer to the patient to discover it. Then, the way you touch and handle the body doesn’t have to be guided by the idea of improving this or that problem with certain pressure, that’s not it.
That approach would be more similar to Namikoshi’s technique…
Namikoshi’s technique is the basic technique of the Shiatsu therapist. He teaches how to work with a certain problem and how to harmonize with it. While Masunaga’s teaching is a little different since he tries to understand in depth the cause of the sickness. In order to understand that, how you can get close to the patients –this is how every eastern master thinks–, so the patients tell you without words why they are getting sick, you have to be Mu (無) and achieve a state of void. If your intention is to understand the patient beforehand with your ideas and with your will, the patient won’t show the cause of his or her problem. In contrast, by getting close with the Mu state –nothingness or emptiness–, the patient will show the cause of his or her sickness. So, we start entering the philosophical realm of Zen. Because we always study the Kyo (虚) – Jitsu (実) of the meridians, but the meridians don’t show themselves and we cannot seem them.
I remember that in one class you were talking about the Tsubo and how to get close to them. Could you tell us about that again?
Tsubo is a Japanese word that could be understood as “an important point in the whole body”. In our job we have to handle tsubo, but tsubo stems from the word tsubomi, which means bud. For the bud to bloom you cannot get close to it with brutality, aggressiveness or forcefulness, with the idea of opening the bud, for the bud will resist in order to avoid being harmed and being opened. It means that in that way the bud will not show its condition or state. To apply pressure using Shiatsu technique, you have to understand how the bud is. If you get close to the bud with the Mu idea, without anything, just to understand and nothing else, then, the bud will trust you and will allow you to touch it. That said, the condition in which you touch it has to be considered: If your idea is to try to loosen the patient, to try to open the bud, the bud feels that idea and, once more, it’s going to resist and it’s going to close.
Shiatsu technique is the technique of pressure, but a pressure that tries to understand how the patient is and how to accompany the patient in a way where the will of the therapist has no place.
How can the Mu state be achieved? Is it a mental state? A physical state?
Mu originates from the union of three things: the mental, the physical and the spiritual, all them combined. Of course, that’s the foundation of our teaching in our lessons. I try to explain it, but I don’t impose its incorporation. You have to reach that state. So, everyone, even a person with very little experience, can reach it. However, some practitioners haven’t reached that state even after 10 years of experience. Training oneself is very important.
Through meditation, for example?
Meditation helps. Studying and understanding the philosophy of the Japanese art helps as well. When we refer to that philosophy, we mean that through it we always seek to remove “oneself”. For example, that can be appreciated in the teaching of Kendo, Karate or Aikido. To practice all of them, one has to strip oneself of the body, the strength and the mind. Only then, the opponent is really understood and it’s possible to come out victorious in a confrontation.
Have you practiced any martial art?
I’ve practiced Karate. As I told you, my leg wasn’t well since I was 13 or 14 years old. Therefore, I thought that if I did any other sport I wouldn’t be able to compete against my opponents on equal terms. Instead, Karate focuses on working the arms, and since my legs were fragile and weak, I took that opportunity and that’s why I’ve got more arm power than others.
How old were you when you practiced?
I practiced Karate since I was 16 until I was 20 years old. As soon as you start practicing Karate, you feel that you have more strength than other people. That’s why, when I was 17-18 years old, I was already picking fights. I always ran into guys and picked fights with them. Until one day that I ran into a guy smaller than me and I started to provoke him and, of course, that guy apologized and left. Sometime later, I found out that he had a high rank in Karate (laughs). Luckily, he didn’t fight me after I provoked him. After that experience, I never provoked anyone else, of course, (laughs). Moreover, my Karate was focused on working the arms, so I only hit with them. Furthermore, at that time I was nearsighted and in the tournaments you weren’t allowed to fight wearing glasses, plus contact lenses didn’t existed then, so I always lost my fights (laughs).
I could see well when wearing the glasses. So, when I fought my partners, I always won. But as soon as I took off the glasses, I lost.
You were telling us that meditation can help us achieve a better state to practice Shiatsu…
Besides that, meditation helps us feel how the patient is; it allows us to better understand the patient.
What kind of meditation do you practice?
I’ve only practiced Zazen. That was the only training I received in meditation. It’s very difficult to practice Zazen alone. I always recommend practicing it under the guidance of a person who knows how to guide well the practice since that helps to fight against oneself and continue practicing seated. In that way, one learns more than being seated alone. After all, when you are alone, if you want to get up, you do it. Precisely in that moment when you are struggling with yourself, you learn many things thanks to the guided practice.
Do you follow the Soto Zen meditation line?
Personally, yes, but I think it’s the same as Rinzai. I had the opportunity to find a Soto Zen Master.
Did you practice any other martial art? I understand that you also did Kyudo…
Yes, it’s true, I did Kyudo too. My idea always ends up being devious because I couldn’t practice many things, I could only shot standing up without working my legs so much. You can practice archery even if you have knee problems. There is a specific training for handicapped people, in which it isn’t necessary to kneel, but the real Kyudo focuses a lot on the kneel posture. That’s why from the beginning I never did the authentic form of Kyudo. The truth is that I sought the practice of martial arts to escape from one thing or another.
Do you think that martial arts contribute physically, spiritually or mentally to the Shiatsu practice?
For me, martial arts contributed mentally. Of course, when I started to do Kyudo, I began to read tons of books about the subject. Books always teach the importance of mental preparation. Although I wasn’t able to practice the real Kyudo style, I wanted to get closer to that spiritual level. All those teachings contribute significantly to attend and understand people. In this sense, martial arts helped me a lot.
What do you think is the common denominator of Budo teachings that contributes to Shiatsu?
That’s an interesting question… When thinking about how to attend the patients, I always use the expression “help well” and I do it so “I win”. I want to “win” in order to “help”. Finally, since the practice of Budo establishes that you can never “win”, you have to leave your “ego”, abandon it. I think this aspect is a common denominator in every of these profound arts. If we focus on the “self”, we aren’t able to understand the patients and, thus, we can’t help them well. The same happens with martial arts. To really win, the self has to be put aside.
Would that be Mu?
Hmm, it’s something very similar… Mu, void… Actually, when I say Mu, how do you understand it? What is Mu? Nothingness. But isn’t there anything? It isn’t that, there is something, there is the self, and nevertheless, there isn’t. It’s an abstract wordplay. When I say Mu, it doesn’t mean the absence of nothingness.
Would that be Ku?
(Laughs) Also, Ku as well. It’s like… I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, but it’s like when you recite the Hanya Shingyo sutra. It starts Shiki Soku Ze Ku. Shiki is existence, existence is like Ku, and Ku is like air. Usually, what does Ku mean? Ku means air. There is nothing there, but there is. So, Shiki Soku Ze Ku, Ku Soku Ze Shiki, that part is repeated. That is the essence of Hanya Shingyo. Shiki is the existence of everything, the things that can be seen, that can be touched, and all of that belongs to Shiki. But Shiki is Ku. That’s why Ku can be translated as Mu, it can mean void, but it isn’t Mu as “there isn’t anything”, it’s not that. There is, here there’s air, it just can’t be seen. It can’t be touched, but it exists and it is present.
Is something similar to Ki?
Ki is something similar to Mu, philosophically. I think I’m translating void as Ku. So, even though there are differences between Ku and Mu, both concepts are equivalent. There’s nothing, you can’t see nothingness. You can’t touch nothingness. They don’t exist, but they do. Mu also exists there and the self as well. And however, I can’t place the self there. It’s like a koan: Mu means that there’s nothing, but in reality there is. What is it?
I think that is somewhat similar to what happens when a western person tries to understand what Ki is. In other words, the Ki isn’t there, it doesn’t exist, it can’t be touched, but it’s there. For western cultures it’s very difficult to understand the term.
Hmm, for the western and eastern cultures it should mean the same, but it’s perceived differently due to the distinct ways of thinking. Western culture gives a lot of importance to the self, while eastern cultures place more value on the other person, or leaving an empty space, being Mu. Western people are always based on the self and eastern people focus on Ku. Eastern cultures understand that thanks to the existence of something, the self can exist. In contrast, for western cultures the self can do it all, create it all –I think, therefore I am–. That’s the difference that I translate as an eastern and western person.
Curiously, it caught my attention that in Japan people don’t talk about Ki… How is that explained?
In the day of the samurai people talked about Ki. After that period of time, the only ones how dealt with the concept of Ki were those who practiced martial arts, and not even all of them. When you enter the world of Kendo or Karate, you’ll find that Ki is mentioned. Most Japanese people don’t talk about the subject, but they live with Ki. To begin with, when they greet someone, they ask how their Ki is. Genki? Genki is like the origin of Ki. It means, “how are you?” The word Ki is present in the greeting, but no one relates it to the Ki that we’re talking about. “What a nice Kimochi!” Kimochi equals “personality”. “Ki, motsu” is “to have”. “Kimochi” is your heart, your spirit, your character. We use the word Ki daily, but nobody relates it to the energy that flows through the meridians, for example. Maybe that’s why you can clearly spot the difference between a gathering of a group of Japanese people and another one of a group of western people. The Japanese people, first and foremost, think about the environment. So, “oh, I don’t want to bother, I don’t want to speak”. They are always thoughtful about how the other one is feeling or what the other one is thinking. That’s living in the world of Ki. On the contrary, for a group of western people the environment doesn’t matter at all, but the self is what prevails. For example, in our lessons you can always notice it when one of the students stretches his or her legs or listens reclined. Japanese people would never do such a thing because they would be disturbing the environment. That’s being thoughtful about the world of Ki, though it isn’t much related to the Ki of the meridians. Now that I talk about that, getting sick in Japanese is “byoki”. The word Ki is also present there. “Byo” is to become numb, become stiff. We use that expression every day: “Aren’t you byoki?” There are tons of words where the word Ki is present. But they don’t evoke the idea of Ki as in Karate, Kendo or Shiatsu. Nowadays, even the Japanese people have no idea of how to handle the Ki or what to do to feel it. In the lessons that I teach to western people, when there are Japanese students present, they also think that they are hearing all of that for the first time. But in reality, they live with that Ki; they just forget it and don’t realize it.
The Kikubari (気配り) is the most important teaching for the Japanese people. Regarding the word “Ki”, we already know what we are talking about; but “kubaru” means “to distribute”. Therefore, we say “you don’t have kikubari” when someone gets together with other people, but he or she isn’t thoughtful about how the rest feels.
Yes, that’s a possible translation. Kikubari is the most important thing for the Japanese people. At all time, in every gathering, rather than thinking about themselves, they are always thinking “what do I have to do so everything is alright?” or “what don’t I have to do in these circumstances?”
It’s too much! That’s the reason why almost more than twenty years ago we started being told “don’t do so much Kikubari because you’ll get tired”. If you think about others constantly, about how they are and feel, you’ll end up exhausted. However, it’s a practice that has been in force for centuries and that is very hard to abandon.
Do you think this way benefits how you attend patients with Shiatsu?
That’s the whole foundation of Shiatsu: Ki, the movement of Ki.
Is empathy important for the therapist?
Yes. I don’t know the word “empathy” in depth, but according to what I was explained, I deduct that it coincides with the most important aspect to be consider when treating people.
And how do you get close to a patient?
Hmm… The attitude is important, the sympathy. We have to become artists (laughs). We have become actors to loosen the people and successfully get close to them. From there on, the patients start showing how they are, and if they want, they can even talk. We don’t tend to teach how to work in that way. You have to be more like an artist, be nice, but each one finds its own way to do it.
Once, I heard you talking about “getting close with our own life to the life of the other.” Could you explain that?
A simpler way to say that is “from person to person”. It’s not getting close with my head “I know the Shiatsu technique is useful for this and that, so I have to apply pressure here…” That’s what is in your mind, but to understand the patient, to really get close, you have to do it with personality, with your entire self not only with your head. Everyone wants to get close using the head, but from head to head it’s not possible to reach the patient. It sounds a little abstract, but the approach has to be from heart to heart. That’s Shiatsu.
Is it a two way communication?
Of course, communication. That’s why every time I begin to teach the second year of our course, when I explain the four ways of diagnosing –“Bo-shin” means to observe, “Cho-shin” means to hear, “Se-shin” means to touch–, I explain that the one we consider the most important is “Mon-shin”, which means to communicate. Nowadays, the dialog in which the doctor asks questions to the patient is called “Mon-shin”. But we carry out the “Mon-shin” without speaking; our way of communicating is without words.
I usually say that a “Mon-shin” expert is equivalent to a “Ko”. What is “Ko”? The most important “Ko” technique is the human invention that is made up out of two elements, like when the man invented the wheel. The conjunction of two components –a wheel and a log–, allowed mankind to move heavy loads; in other words, humans made a hole in a wheel and placed a log there, and with the combination of both, they were able to roll objects. So, the person that is a “Mon-shin” expert equals to a “Ko”. When I explain the four ways of diagnosing, I play a lot with the Japanese language. The significance of moving the wheel applied to the relationship between the therapist and the patient can be understood by the fact that the patient comes with a wall, and the therapist encounters it and has to make a hole in it to create movement; that is what “Mon-shin” is all about.
Therefore, communicating is understood not only as speaking or saying words, but also as understanding the air between the patient and the therapist.
Do you believe that is the foundation of the Shiatsu that we learn in our school?
No, I’m not saying that’s the foundation of Shiatsu. That’s the foundation to help people. Our way of helping is practicing Shiatsu. There are many techniques, but having that philosophy is enough to be able to help. That’s why we are training that in the context of Shiatsu. Helping people is the core of what we do. The same applies to psychologists since they work using words, but to really help, they need to establish such a good communication that it surpasses words. Some people help others to improve using words, others do it touching, others hitting, others nailing; there’s a bunch of techniques, but the foundation for them to work is empathy and communication.
In the training of a therapist, how important is the breathing?
Breathing is living, right? Then, one’s breathing is faced with the other’s breathing. That means that the first communication that we establish is through our breathing. If you still lack training, you must pay close attention to how the patient is breathing and you must accompany his or her breathing. When you have enough training, as soon as you get close to the patients you will automatically follow the pace of their breathing. From that moment on, it will not be necessary to lengthen the exhalation; you won’t resort to the technique. You’ll simply accompany them.
And what if the patient is breathing wrongly?
Then, you breathe wrongly too! The patient will get scared, he or she will think “something is wrong” or “I’m getting better” (laughs). In that way, the patient will calm down and, at that moment, little by little, you’ll be accompanying his or her breathing. Breathing is definitively the foundation of the therapy.
How do you think Shiatsu has contributed to your personal life in the course of 40 years of practice?
It has brought me Shiatsu; I know nothing about anything else! (Laughs). Here in Argentina I’ve got many friends and I’ve been able to connect with them thanks to Shiatsu. That’s why I’m always happy. My job consists of doing something that later returns gratitude. That is its basis. I receive gratitude all the time. There’s nothing better than that. Well, you see, when what I do helps people, they thank me; and when it doesn’t, they curse at me (laughs). It’s logical, we also have to pay for that. To help well one has to suffer and train very much. That’s why I always say that it’s necessary to be “professional”. A professional is someone who knows very well what he or she does. It’s not someone who helps only with the will. We have the obligation to work well.
Like the example of the boxer that you once shared…
Isn’t that true? If the boxer is a professional, even if 20 guys come to face him, he will defeat them on the spot. That’s the nature of a professional. The attitude of “I want to help with my will” isn’t enough because besides that, it’s important to know that to be able to help, one has to train one’s body, it’s an obligation.
To become a professional therapist one must suffer a great deal. It’s also necessary to train the mind, to acquire knowledge and much more. Being just a good person isn’t enough. We have to act as professionals to successfully help people.
What would you recommend to those who want to study Shiatsu?
I would tell them that learning Shiatsu and practicing it is the best method to live well. It is the foundation of human life.
Thanks to Silvia Dearti, General Coordinator of the Centro Zen Shiatsu, for her input during and after the interview.
Thanks to Cósima Aballe for her unconditional support and thanks to José Miguel Domínguez for his great job editing and correcting all the material.
 Tokujirō Namikoshi (Shikoku, Japan, 1905-2000) established the Japan Shiatsu College in Tokyo in 1940, which is the greatest international exponent in the training of Shiatsu therapists and the only entity that is authorized for its practice by the Ministry of Health of Japan. He popularized and disseminated Shiatsu throughout the world. He wrote several books accessible to the general public.
 Shizuto Masunaga (Hiroshima, Japan, 1925-1981) he was a psychologist and a Shiatsu Master. He graduated from the Kyoto University in Psychology in 1949. In 1959, he graduated from the Japan Shiatsu College and continued teaching psychology and Shiatsu at that institution. At the same time, he was a psychology professor at the Tokyo University. Masunaga was raised in a family of Shiatsu practitioners. His mother had studied with Tamai Tempaku, who coined the term Shiatsu and “Shiatsu Ho” (“the method of applying pressure with the fingers”). He established the Zen Shiatsu and the Iokai institute in Taitō. Masunaga published “Shiatsu” in 1974 (translated in 1977 as “Zen Shiatsu”). He also wrote other books on this subject. He died on July 7, 1981.
 “Ki kubari” it’s used in the contemporary Japanese language to explain the attention and even the consideration of those around us; according to Saotome Mitsugi Sensei, literally it means “to distribute ki”.
In the context of martial arts, nevertheless, it acquires a meaning of awareness and connection with the external environment in a way that it is important to life and death. The term is closely related to the “zanshin” (connection/awareness) and the “ma-no-hakari” (awareness of the environment and terrain), except with a particular focus on the intensity and the spirit. It is, in fact, the essence of the absolute attention, but instead of investing the awareness in the actual body, it is about an external awareness that connects and expands the awareness to all the surroundings.
 In his Book of Oriental Diagnosis, Wataru Ohashi describes four ways to assess health and character:
1) Bo Shin. Watching and observing the person.
2) Setsu Shin. Touching the patient. Palpating the patient’s life.
3) Mon Shin. Asking questions to the person to obtain information about his or her health condition.
4) Bun Shin. Diagnosing by hearing and smelling.