Ohsawa recovered slowly
He worked to make shoku-yo the guiding principle for the reconstruction of the nation. From 1946-1952 he ran a school (which he called "Centre Ignoramus" or "World Government Association") in the town of Hiyoshi between Tokyo and Yokohama. There he began to gather and teach a small group of devoted disciples, who would later spread his teachings throughout the world. In 1949 he changed his name from Joichi Sakurazawa to George (or Georges) Ohsawa; George sounded like Joichi, the "s" on the end had to do with his love of France and French writers, and Ohsawa was written with the same characters as Sakurazawa, but pronounced differently. At the same time, he first began to call his philosophy and teachings "macrobiotics." (1)
In October 1953
A few days before his 60th birthday, George and Lima embarked on a new phase of their lives. He called it the "World Journey of the Penniless Samurai." Herman Aihara (1980) noted that like the salmon, Ohsawa decided to take his most adventurous trip late in his life. He hoped to spread macrobiotics around the world, making it a basic principle not only of personal and spiritual health but of world peace as well. The couple first spent 18 months in India teaching and studying macrobiotics. They then went to Africa for several months, where George had a deep spiritual awakening (at age 62). (1)
Ohsawa arrives in December 1959
When Ohsawa first arrived in America in December 1959, very few Americans had heard of macrobiotics. During his visit in New York, Ohsawa stayed at the Aihara's apartment, since Herman was his closest associate in America. After one week, Ohsawa flew alone to California to find a source of short-grain brown rice; he had not been able to find any in New York. He located Koda Brothers' brown rice in California, stayed there a week, then returned to the Aihara's apartment. First things first. All were impressed at how quickly he had solved a major problem. Then, to introduce macrobiotics, Ohsawa presented three series of lectures, each for ten nights during January, February, and March of 1960 at the Buddhist Academy in New York City.
During these lectures his first work in English was published, a mimeographed edition of Zen Macrobiotics. He and the Aiharas duplicated and bound these in the Aihara`s apartment, then sold them at the lectures for $0.50 each. In this publication he introduced miso and natural shoyu (which he called "tamari").
Miso and natural shoyu quickly became essential ingredients in the diet of most students of macrobiotics in the U.S. At about this time (1960-61) Ohsawa's second work, the Book of Judgment, appeared in English, having been printed in Japan. The book was originally written in French. (1)
Ohsawa Deliverers main message
By 1965 the macrobiotic movement in America, though small, was growing rapidly. Various estimates indicate somewhere between 300 and 2,000 people actively involved. Ohsawa, whose numerous books were now available, described this as the happiest period of his life. He was able to watch his efforts bearing fruit in the form of very active yet independent groups in Boston, Chico, and New York. Though the style of each group was different, Ohsawa supported and encouraged all. A number of students moved between the groups to further their studies.
Ohsawa saw the West as a civilization in crisis, beset with moral, spiritual, ideological, and health problems. Disease, crime, pollution, and divorce were all rapidly increasing. The goal of Western economics and technology was, he felt, the maximization of material wealth, sensual pleasure, comfort, and convenience through plundering of the earth, nature, and other nations. Western man tried hopelessly to find happiness by producing and consuming as much as possible.
The place to start in unraveling this maze of problems, Ohsawa felt, was with the individual human organism. Fundamental change must be biologically and bio chemically based, and that could most easily be brought about by a change to a traditional (macrobiotic) diet. To many young people of the counterculture in the 1960s, Ohsawa's penetrating critique of Western civilization rang clear and true. This attracted them to his teachings on diet, based on a more simple and spiritual life. And because soy foods were a basic part of his diet, they came to be considered by his students as a key ingredient in a new and more healthful way of life.
On 23 April 1966, just as his teaching was beginning to spread rapidly in the West, Ohsawa died unexpectedly in Tokyo at age 72. The immediate cause of death was given as cardiac failure, probably compounded by the filarial parasites he had contracted a decade earlier at Lambarene', Gabon, in Africa. (1)
George Ohsawa, The Macrobiotic Movement
by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi
©Copyright 2004 Soyinfo Center, Lafayette, California
2. Essential Ohsawa
edited by Carl Ferre
©Copyright 1994 George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation - G.O.M.F