In Gunma Prefecture, at the heart of Mt. Akagi, Kunio and Mutsuko Nomura manage "Mt. Akagi Natural farm" using natural farming method and also have a private supplementary school in Maebashi city with the theme of awareness of the mind and heart. Twenty-five years ago, when Kunio was told he would lose his eyesight and Mutsuko's health was in the worst condition, they encountered Noguchi seitai, and soon recovered health in mind and body. They were drawn to the founder and practitioner, Haruchika Noguchi, of Noguchi seitai. From then, until just before Haruchika Noguchi passed away, they kept in close contact and learned much. In a quarter century, they have continued actual practice and study of seitai with Mutsuko mainly dealing with the body and Kunio mainly focusing on the mind and heart. This interview presents a picture of Haruchika Noguchi and the fruits of the actual practice of seitai through their experiences and many anecdotes
The two of us in the worst physical condition encountered Noguchi seitai
Tsumura: First, how did you learn about Noguchi seitai?
Kunio Nomura (hereafter, Kunio): I first encountered Noguchi seitai earlier. During my school days, I thought about "What is life?" and studied biology in graduate school at the University of Tokyo. Soon, I became very troubled about my way of life. At that time, I began to visit Master Shigemasa Wada (1907 - 1993, who devoted his life to holistic humanistic education of youth) at Hajime-juku, a private supplementary school. He was a great master to people in the know. Then, I came to have a strong interest in holistic education and felt I definitely wanted to work in this field. But in a sense, I was in a situation where my future was committed so I really was troubled.
Tsumura: Were you married at that time?
Kunio: No, I was at the stage where I was considering marriage, but first, I was agonizing endlessly about in what way I should live life. I wanted to live life in a way where I could be truly satisfied even if I strayed off the rail, but I wondered if I could actually do it. Those were distressing and trying days. Gradually, my body weakened and from morning my eyes were bloodshot and red like rabbit's eyes. I thought, at this rate I might really die.
Tsumura: Didn't you consider going to the hospital?
Kunio: My condition was so severe that I had a full-day medical examination at the University of Tokyo hospital. I was told "You have glaucoma. You will lose your eyesight in six months." Before the examination, I had read some books and suspected that I might have glaucoma. I was really anxious that it might be true. But when I was actually told, I thought, "Ah, that's it," even if I can't see, it doesn't change the way I live.
Tsumura: Most people would feel their heart sink.
Kunio: Even for myself, it was an unexpected feeling. Before, my world was relative, comparing a lifestyle with eyesight and a lifestyle without eyesight. It was not within my control, but I was simply transcended beyond this way of looking at the world relatively, and was able to accept 100% my life without eyesight. But, realistically, it is more convenient to be able to see. Since I was told there is no hope through modern medicine, I started to look into Eastern medicine.
Tsumura: There are various kinds of Eastern medicine though.
Kunio: After investigating and trying various treatments such as acupuncture and fasting without any sign of hope, I was about to give up. At that time, I happened to find the book, "Introduction to Seitai," by Haruchika Noguchi (Chikuma-bunko, Chikuma Shobo Publishing Co.) at a bookstore. After reading the book, I realized that within my body is the ability to heal everything. Suddenly, my perception of health changed 180 degrees. That was 25 years ago when I was 25 years old.
Tsumura: You practiced "katsugen - undo" (movement that renews life at its root) right?
Kunio: Yes. After reading the book, I thought "katsugen- undo" is amazing. I tried the preparation exercises according to the book and waited, thinking, will the movements start now? Will they start now? After about 40 minutes, just as I was about to give up and quit, the movements suddenly started and did not stop. The tension from expectation melted the instant I thought about giving up and quitting, and my body began to move. From that time, I have had no worries, and have faith that my body will go in the direction of healing…. That is how I encountered seitai. Then, I married and various things began to go well. I became a teacher as I had hoped. When I was assigned to a junior high school in Kanagawa, I visited Hajime-juku, and by coincidence, they were doing Noguchi seitai. From that time, 25 years have passed since I started Noguchi seitai, and thankfully, I have my eyesight. Honestly, I think Noguchi seitai is amazing.
Mutsuko Nomura (hereafter, Mutsuko): I encountered Noguchi seitai when I married. Wada-sensei told me about one of Noguchi-sensei's top ten disciples who was in Odawara. At that time, my body was in very bad condition. I had severe stiffness of the shoulders, gastroptosis, no appetite at all, felt light-headed, something was wrong with my liver, my eyes were deeply sunken, and I thought how relieved I would be if I could wash my eyes…my body was really in poor condition.
Kunio: She was like a skeleton.
Mutsuko: When I first went to the Odawara seitai dojo (training hall), we did the mutual katsugen- undo in pairs. Then, my hands rotated like a mixer and my neck rotated so much that I thought my head might fly away. Along with the feeling of surprise, I was moved from the depths of my heart. I felt refreshed to the farthest reaches of my body. As I continued katsugen- undo, the condition of my body improved more and more. I experienced that the human body truly can heal itself.
Kunio: This is how we began our study of seitai. Each according to our interests: I researched the field of the mind and heart and my wife worked on practical techniques.
Surprised by Haruchika Noguchi's Love and Precise Treatment
Tsumura: Encountering an excellent master is the best for learning, isn't it?
Kunio: Our first instructor had extremely sensitive hands and could find ailing spots instantly. At first, it seemed like supernatural power and that she could do unbelievably incredible things. Eventually, at the main dojo in Tokyo, Mutsuko learned how to find indurations (small hardened mass or formation) and order and remove them. Every night, she would test my feet and she could find the painful spots precisely. She has that kind of talent.
Mutsuko: Rather than a talent, I think it is a potential inherent in every human.
Kunio: Starting from finding indurations probably sharpens the sensitivity of the hands. That was her starting point in the actual practice of seitai.
Mutsuko: That was the year I married at age 24. All things considered, we were fortunate that he was told he would lose his eyesight and my body was in poor condition. Without those, we probably would not have done seitai.
Tsumura: What kinds of things occurred after encountering Noguchi-sensei?
Mutsuko: I was in a traffic accident and had hit my head. Noguchi-sensei examined me. I was told that I had suffered a blow to an important part of my head and that "the first week was critical." Then, Noguchi-sensei had an instructor from Odawara provide careful treatment every day.
Kunio: If there are "four pulses in one breath" (in one breath, the pulse beats four times) then no matter what the condition, it will be alright. But her condition was severe to the point of having only two pulses in one breath. This is a pulse rate bordering on life and death.
Mutsuko: When my Achilles tendon was cramped and it was painful, Noguchi-sensei had an instructor from Odawara come and do laying of the hands on my Achilles tendon. His treatment was always precise. Even doing laying of the hands on my stomach when I had hit my head…. The head and stomach are interconnected through the body. I experienced that the blow to my head affected my internal organs. Thankfully, after the critical week passed, Noguchi-sensei made an exception and diagnosed me at the Tokyo headquarters dojo.
Kunio: Noguchi-sensei's movements were extremely polished; it was like watching a dance. I was moved by the beauty of a skill taken to such a high level. I felt I had seen something of the utmost.
Mutsuko: Before giving soho (a method of ordering the body passively), sensei suddenly looked directly into my eyes. His gaze was full of love, and I felt genuinely loved and enveloped in love. I felt I had never been looked at in this way before, as if I would be swallowed up by his gaze.
Kunio: Everyone who has looked eye-to-eye with Noguchi-sensei feels the same.
Mutsuko: Many people, tens of thousands, felt they had never been loved in this way before--his character was incomparable. I still remember the rhythm of his soho of that time.
Kunio: In seitai, the Chinese characters "ki", "do", and "ma" are very important. People who receive soho can feel the subtle flow.
Mutsuko: "Ki" is from the Chinese character for "opportunity"; "do" is from "degree"; "ma" means interval or timing. In the movements and speed, there is the appropriate opportunity and degree, and there is precision in the timing to the instant of one second in a few minutes. And overall, there is a smooth flow.
Kunio: Sensei did not stay still; he moved at very fast speed. I could hear the sound repeatedly, "Sa-sa-sa", of his hakama (traditional formal Japanese kilt)
Mutsuko: There are three bundles of sinew on each side of the spinal cord called soku. (1-soku is at one finger-width away from the spinal cord, 2-soku is at 2 finger-widths away, etc.). When the 1-soku was dissolved by Noguchi-sensei's soho, I had a pleasant feeling that hardened spots were removed from the depths of my body. I have never experienced being touched with such perfect rhythm.
Kunio: We learned how to dissolve the 1-soku, but no matter how many times we try, we cannot get it so exact and precise. Usually, the persons who received this soho are left feeling unsatisfied.
Tsumura: The way of calling 1-soku, 2-soku, 3-soku has been used since long ago in the world of Ryojutsu, folk medicine, which was popular from the Taisho era to the beginning of the Showa era.
Mutsuko: Yes, but Noguchi-sensei could feel each of the 20+ silk-like strands of the 1-soku with his hand. He would flick and dissolve any hard spots. Normally, no matter how much you search, you can only feel 7-8 strands. Noguchi-sensei's observation was detailed, and by looking at the backbone, he knew what part of the mind and body was blocked, in what way, and the person's lifestyle. He could know more by looking at the person's form from behind, than by looking at the person's face. Probably, sensei could see the backbone like an x-ray.
[No. 2] People upon whom doctors have given up recover through yuki
Tsumura: Please tell me about "yuki" (laying on of the hands), one method of soho.
Mutsuko: This is about a friend who became pregnant when her body was so weak that she didn't know if she could survive. She received soho from Noguchi-sensei and gave birth to healthy and strong baby girls in successive years. They received gentle yuki from the time they were in the womb, and they grew to become very good children. One studied of her own will at the seitai headquarters and does yuki to her weak mother. The other daughter, similar to her mother, likes cooking and housework very much and helps in these aspects often. During her pregnancy, Noguchi-sensei said, "Before long, the child will help the mother," and she was thankful that it became just that way. From then, I have thought that children who receive soho and yuki by Noguchi-sensei from the time they are in the womb and are given such refined delicate love are different.
Tsumura: In Noguchi-sensei's "Ikuji no hon" ("The book of child-rearing", in Japanese) it is written that if a baby is blessed and given its first bath at the instant of birth, that memory remains for the lifetime.
Mutsuko: I think that is the way it is-even more so if given yuki as a fetus. Yuki is wonderful. You can do yuki by yourself, do yuki for other people…. There was a 4-year-old child who had a fractured skull from a traffic accident. We had only studied seitai a short time, but pretending to be relatives, we went to the hospital and gave yuki in shifts. One week later, the internal bleeding in the child's head had become a tremendous nosebleed and came out. The fracture completely closed. There were no after-effects and the child grew to become a fine adult.
Kunio: While I was a junior high school teacher, there was a child who got sand in his eye while playing with other children. The bloodshot condition was so severe that we had him diagnosed by a doctor who was considered among the top three in Japan. The muscles supporting the pupil had been cut and the doctor said "once this is cut, there is no method to cure it." He went to other doctors but the diagnosis was the same. I ventured on the possibility, and asked the mother to do yuki on the child. The mother, without knowing anything, did laying on of the hands every day. Mutsuko and I also went to do yuki on the child every day.
Mutsuko: Since I had experienced my brother losing the use of one eye in elementary school, without thinking of this as another person's problem, I worked desperately to prevent this child from losing his eyesight. At that time, it was only about one year since we had studied seitai, but my husband and I did yuki, pouring all our love through our hands. The mother did yuki earnestly without sleep. They said that after one week, thickened tears mixed with sand came out.
Kunio: Later, when the child went for an eye exam, he was told, "The muscles have healed." This was the eye that was in such bad condition that the doctors had said, "Please give up hope."
Mutsuko: There was the following case too. A kindergarten-aged child of an acquaintance was in a severe condition. The femoral head of the pelvis was necrosed, and she needed to wear a corset. I gave yuki and told the mother, "Pass 'ki' from the base of the back of your head (medulla oblongata) through the spine and do yuki focusing your feelings through your hand." The mother became immersed in doing yuki and after half a year, the part that had caused the necrosis had revived.
Kunio: When we were young, we did not worry about the technique or theories, and were simple and earnest. We were deeply moved by the recoveries.
Mutsuko: A very recent example is that of a farmer in a neighboring village. The daughter fell into a concrete ditch and her skull was fractured. The father did yuki and the fracture closed completely in three weeks.
Kunio: He had a lot of power and was very earnest.
Tsumura: How did Noguchi-sensei refer to the amazing power of yuki? He held firm to the thought that it is not due to God, but rather the inherent power of the body?
Kunio: This point was clear. For example, the power of yuki must not be considered as exclusive to Christ, a saint, a holy person, or anyone. It is not the monopoly of a special person. The power is in everyone. It was in this sense that he said this.
Mutsuko: This is an era in which so many people have illnesses so I really want everyone to do yuki. If you feel in poor health, I would like you to do laying on of the hands earnestly. It doesn't cost any money. Isn't it an important time to return to a simple world?
Knowing the rhythm of your body is fundamental
Tsumura: If you recover through yuki and soho, there are probably some aspects that you cannot measure from the results only.
Kunio: Yes. I had been talking about it with Mutsuko since awhile ago. In effect, an illness appears as a result of the person's attitude in living and way of mind. When a person asks me to cure something, I can help relieve the symptoms. It is meaningful only if the person can advance to a world beyond the self which brought upon the illness. If this is not the case, recently, I have begun to seriously wonder whether lending a hand is good or not. I think there are times when one should not give help.
Tsumura: The person's symptoms are information about that person's mind and body. Further, it is a message from deep inside, isn't it?
Kunio: Yes, it is from deep inside. It is a difficult part, but I think you must understand it properly.
Tsumura: What is the difference between "to heal" and "to treat"?
Kunio: Perhaps "heal" means clearly going in the positive direction, but "treat" means suppress the symptoms for the time being.
Tsumura: You mean, return to the original? [smile]
Kunio: If the person does not change, he/she will repeat the same thing. I feel the most strongly about this aspect of modern medicine. That is why I am drawn to the methods of Dr. Mitsuo Koda who studied Nishi-shiki therapy. According to Dr. Koda, one must thoroughly change one's way of living in mind and body. He is a doctor in Osaka who has achieved many good results in the treatment of difficult illnesses through methods of eating little and fasting. As written in Dr. Koda's books, in the past, fasts of around two weeks were not unreasonable, but recently, many people cannot fast for one week properly. In the past, I too was able to fast for two weeks just fine.
Tsumura: There are many cancer patients who say, "I want to be cured in any way," and come to Dr. Koda's clinic which is principally based on fasting treatment. Dr. Koda says that since it is a menu of extremely small portions, 80% do not continue and drop out.
Kunio: Fasting is an opportunity to change one's consciousness. By doing this, one enters the world where the body and mind become perfectly one.
Mutsuko: Observing various people's bodies, Noguchi-sensei also said, "overeating, overeating." He emphasized that as the body becomes sensitive, it naturally becomes one with a light appetite.
Kunio: Sensei ate once or twice a day and ate very little.
Mutsuko: When doing yuki and katsugen undo, modern-day people need to advance to the point where the consciousness changes.
Tsumura: Regarding Gaiki-Chiryo (treatment method where the master of Qigong gives off "ki" through his hands to treat the patients) of China, even if the patient is treated from outer "ki", the root nature doesn't improve at all. Dependency increases more and more.
Mutsuko: Some people persist in receiving soho passively. But in fact, they need to grasp their body's rhythm that arises from soho; that means, to feel within the body, the force to live, and the force to return to the inherent health. By relieving tension in one point, in one location, the inherent rhythm of the body arises. Therefore, afterwards, even without receiving soho, you know your own body and you just need to independently maintain the body's inherent rhythm. But many people upset the balance of their body, go to receive soho, and repeat this pattern.
The mind and body are one / Soho is a call to the subconscious
Tsumura: I think Noguchi seitai's system is in a sense, absorption of various things from Japan's main traditional folk medicine which he integrated through his experiences. No one including Noguchi-sensei has written about the process of forming Noguchi seitai. It is a very interesting topic historically too. During the process of planning the organization of this project, I realized that Noguchi seitai is one "ocean of ki." Into this ocean, various things flow in and also flow out. I would like to know more about this.
Kunio: In Noguchi-sensei's background, there is a blank period in his teens.
Mutsuko: I have heard that during his teens, he learned from Dobetsu Matsumoto of Ise and from Kinji Kuwata of Hokkaido who did jidou-hou (self-action method), which is said to be the original form of katsugen undo.
Kunio: I've heard that he went through a period of considerable training.
Mutsuko: He trained a great deal at Mt. Mitake. I think Noguchi-sensei's greatness lies in the fact that through the body, he changed the direction of the heart and mind; that is, he called on the subconscious, where the subconscious is that which brings together the body and mind as one. Bringing a change to the depths of a person's heart and mind is really difficult, even for the person himself.
Kunio: A person like Noguchi-sensei, who formed a technique system to reach a state where the body and mind can be considered as one, is rare in the world.
Mutsuko: At present, in Japan and America, among other countries in the world, problems of the heart and mind have arisen. It seems that the world has begun to realize what Noguchi-sensei had been talking about 20 - 30 years ago. Noguchi-sensei had looked at the real source that motivates a person. The depth of his insight was immeasurable and extraordinary.
Tsumura: How was Noguchi-sensei's western education? For example, regarding psychology, there are various writings which give the impression that he knew about Jung.
Kunio: Of course, he probably knew.
Tsumura: It is impressive that he did not in any way show that he knew.
Kunio: He had spoken about Christ and Descartes too. It seems that he had been influenced greatly by not only Eastern, but also Western culture. Regarding music, it is said that when he was young and heard Pablo Casals' cello, he was roused saying, "A rival has appeared."
Tsumura: When he was leading group katsugen undo, he used classical music right?
Mutsuko: Yes. Noguchi-sensei used Mahler's No. 4. As I think about it, Noguchi-sensei used music therapy from long ago. Whenever he did soho, there was always music, and he chose 3 or 4 records according to the day's climate and his own rhythm. The day's flow was made as he specified music conducted by so-and-so and the order in which to play the music. It seemed that the trainees who had become accustomed, could sense the order and timing. It was said that if a person could sense this, he or she could become an instructor.
Kunio: He had 10 to 20 dogs, and it was the trainees' job to walk the dogs. If the dogs' faces had not changed at all after going for a walk, there was no meaning in it. We were told, it is natural for a dog's face to change. There was a trainee who quit because the dogs' faces did not change even after walking the dogs every day. Someone met him by chance many years later, and he was doing well as a salesman. There were various people.
Mutsuko: It seems that trainees of those days had a challenging time. They were awakened suddenly at 2 am and made to study soho. Probably, if you were not alert the instant you were awakened, it was no good.
Kunio: Your senses had to be as sharp as a dog's or cat's.
Tsumura: Were Noguchi-sensei's sleeping hours short?
Mutsuko: I heard he slept 2 to 3 hours.
Kunio: It seems that the training of his inner disciples was stricter in the past. In the beginning, he placed a tatami needle (needle for weaving straw mats) or sewing needle under a thin sheet. The disciples had to sense which way the needle was pointing. Gradually, the sheet was made thicker, to about 10 layers in thickness, and the disciples underwent thorough training, sensing the direction of the needle. There was a period in which they polished extremely their sensing skills.
Mutsuko: By pressing a certain point of the body, it spreads throughout and orders the body. The point is not pressed with force, but with "ki." If your and your partner's breathing rhythms match, it takes effect instantly and pervasively. But it takes time to know how to locate this point.
Kunio: Of Noguchi-sensei's disciples who have done seitai for many years, I think there are many who have excellent skill in ordering the body. But probably as it stands now, they have put lower priority on the mind, of which the form cannot be seen. I feel there are few people who have put importance on the mind and subconscious aspects. Noguchi-sensei's lectures covered the mind and the body aspects equally.
Tsumura: Were both aspects covered for all topics?
Mutsuko: Yes. One time, an exceptional disciple of Noguchi-sensei, who had been instructing in seitai for many years said, "Finally, I have come to truly understand what is meant by saying that soho is a call to the subconscious." I also did not understand at all when I first heard Noguchi-sensei talk about the subconscious, and it was difficult to grasp. I think the subconscious was the most difficult topic for Noguchi-sensei's disciples.
Kunio: We both thought we understood what Noguchi-sensei meant by "the mind and body are one." But in fact, she had been focusing only on the body.
Mutsuko: Since I was interested in the body, it was tremendously fascinating. Of course, even now, it is fascinating.
Kunio: I always tend to think that the mind comes first [before the body]. After 25 years, they [mind and body] have come together.
Mutsuko: It took a long time, but for me also, after 25 years, the subconscious as described by Noguchi-sensei has become the most important topic.
Kunio: It seems that she has realized anew the importance of the mind. Regarding the body, she has deepened her skills significantly and has reached a good level.
Mutsuko: What was Noguchi-sensei saying through his deep gaze filled with love? I think it was a call to the soul which is deep beyond the body and conscious. That is why it still remains in me. The word subconscious was weighing on my mind for a long time. Now, I feel my understanding deepened gradually over the years. I want to live life with this theme from now.
Tsumura: The mind and body-these really cannot be considered separately.
After asking various questions, although Noguchi seitai's "ocean of
'ki'" process cannot be understood easily, I feel even more strongly
the importance. Thank you for today.
[Reprinted from Takarajima supplementary volume 220 "Ki de naoru hon", 1995]