Publications, photographs, articles, audio and video recordings, and teaching materials relating to the rise of Macrobiotics in the United States, as popularized by Michio and Aveline Kushi. The bulk of the material was produced for the Kushi Foundation, Kushi Institute, and East West Foundation.
Scope and Contents:
This collection documents the work of Michio and Aveline Kushi as writers and teachers in popularizing macrobiotics in the United States. It consists largely of publications and recordings produced by three organizations created by the Kushis: the East West Foundation, the Kushi Foundation, and the Kushi Institute. The collection also includes publications and recordings created by others involved in macrobiotics and related areas. The materials in this collection span the years 1960 through 2006, but the bulk of the material is from the 1970s and 1980s.
The collection is arranged into seven series.
Series 1: East West Foundation, 1966-1991; undated
Subseries 1.1: Publications, 1966-1991
Subseries 1.2: Foundation Information, 1974-1988; undated
Series 2: Kushi Foundation, 1968-1999; undated
Subseries 2.1: Background Information, 1987-1989
Subseries 2.2: Forms and Publications, 1968-1995; undated
Subseries 2.3: One Peaceful World Campaign Information, 1973-1999
Subseries 2.4: One Peaceful World Press Publications, 1991-1999
Subseries 6.3: Macrobiotic Organizations and Publications, 1969-2006; undated
Subseries 6.4, Miscellaneous Materials, undated
Series 7: Photographs, 1964-1971, 1994; undated
Biographical / Historical:
Macrobiotics is both a comprehensive vegetarian diet and a spiritual world view based on ancient Asian beliefs and practices. Founded by Sagen Ishizuka, macrobiotics began as a reaction to the introduction of western foods into Japan in the late nineteenth century. Ishizuka attempted to restate traditional Japanese beliefs in modern scientific terms in A Chemical Theory of Long Life, published in 1897, and A Method for Nourishing Life, published in 1898.
Ishizuka believed that the key to good health was the relationship between potassium and sodium. Health is maintained when these two elements are in good balance. If there is not a good balance, then one will become ill. Ishizuka believed the best way to maintain this balance was through a cereal based diet.
Ishizuka, along with his disciples, founded the Food Cure Society in 1908 to advance his ideas. After his death in 1910, society members, including Manabu Nishihata, a physician and social activist, carried on the work.
Yukikazu Sakurazawa, also known as George Ohsawa, joined the Food Cure Society in 1919. In 1923, after the destruction of his company in an earthquake, Ohsawa joined the staff of the society full time to disseminate its ideas. Mr. Ohsawa wrote many books for the society including a biography of Ishizuka. Ohsawa's most important contribution to the philosophy of macrobiotics was the incorporation of the concepts of Yin and Yang into macrobiotics.
In the 1930s Ohsawa traveled as a representative of the society across Europe to spread the philosophy of macrobiotics. After disagreements with the leadership of the society, Ohsawa left the organization in 1939 to start his own group.
Following his release from prison during World War II for his peace efforts, Ohsawa established macrobiotic teaching centers in Yokohama and Tokyo. It was at this point that Ohsawa met Michio Kushi.
Michio Kushi was born in Kokawa, Wakayama-Ken, Japan, on May 17, 1926. While a student at Tokyo University, he became involved with the World Federalist Movement (WFM), an American organization working for world peace. It was through the WFM that Kushi met George Ohsawa. Kushi studied under Ohsawa for one year and then moved to New York City in 1949 to study political science at Columbia University.
While living in New York, Kushi came to believe that by returning to a traditional diet of whole, natural foods, humanity would regain its physical and mental balance and become more peaceful. It was at this time that Kushi began to teach the macrobiotic way of life.
Aveline Kushi was born Tomoko Yokoyama in 1923 in Yokota, Japan. Before coming to the United States for higher education in 1951, she was a member of the World Government Association, run by George Ohsawa. She married Michio Kushi in 1954 and was an active partner in their macrobiotic efforts. She wrote cookbooks and an autobiography. Aveline Kushi died in 2001.
Michio Kushi's work in New York grew steadily until 1965 when a pregnant woman died due to her decision to go on an austere form of the diet. After the death of this woman many medical authorities came out against macrobiotics. The close proximity in time of this incident and the death of George Ohsawa greatly damaged the movement. After these incidents Kushi decided to start over in Boston.
After the move to Boston, Kushi emerged as a prominent teacher and started to develop his own interpretation of macrobiotics. Kushi founded the East West Foundation and began to publish the magazine, The Order of the Universe. In 1970, East West Journal, intended for the general public, began publication. The scope of East West Journal was not limited to macrobiotics. It covered a variety of New Age topics and became the center of one of the first New Age networks. East West Journal provided contacts for people interested in eastern philosophies.
In 1975 Kushi began summer residence courses for serious students of macrobiotics and in 1977 he founded the Kushi Institute, now located in Becket, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Mountains. The mission of the Kushi Institute is to train people in the ways of macrobiotics. The Institute offers a variety of classes around the themes of "health, healing, and well being." In the 1980s the Kushi Institute expanded its programs by creating the Kushi Foundation Prison Project and conducting research in the fight against AIDS. In 1986 the Kushi Foundation started the One Peaceful World campaign. This campaign's mission was to remind the public that peace begins with the individual, family, and community.
Sources: "Aveline Kushi 78, Leader in Health Food Movement," Associated Press, July 6, 2001
http://www.imss.macrobiotic.net/avelinekushi.html (consulted October 1, 2008)
"Aveline Kushi, 78, Advocate of Macrobiotic Diet for Health," New York Times, July 23, 2001
In addition to the archival materials, the Division of Science, Medicine, and Society (now Division of Medicine and Science) acquired sixty-six artifacts. See accession numbers 1997.3165 and 1999.3026.
The collection was donated to the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History by Michio and Aveline Kushi in August, 1997.
The collection is open for research use. The Patient Files and Consultation audio tapes in Series 3 are restricted for seventy-five years (to 2066).
Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.
Technical Access: Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.