Namikoshi Shiatsu



Namikoshi Shiatsu



The three generations
of Namikoshi Shiatsu

Namikoshi Shiatsu was founded by Tokujiro Namikoshi and then spread from Japan to the world by his son Toru. Today his grandson Takashi is exploring the potential of shiatsu in various fields, such as medicine, sports, and beauty care, with the aim of achieving its further development. We asked Takashi, the third-generation master of Namikoshi Shiatsu, about the history and effects of shiatsu, his current activities aimed at promoting the health of people around the world, and his future goals.


The History of Namikoshi Shiatsu

Q: Namikoshi Shiatsu was founded by your grandfather, Tokujiro. Can you tell us something about the origins of Namikoshi Shiatsu and Tokujiro?

My grandfather, Tokujiro, was born in Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku, which has a warm climate. When Tokujiro was six, the family moved to the village of Rusutsu in Hokkaido. Unlike today, at that time the journey from Kagawa Prefecture to Hokkaido was very grueling. Hokkaido was colder than Shikoku as well. His mother began to complain of aches and pains, which began in her knees and then spread to her ankles and wrists and eventually to her whole body.
The five children took turns to stroke and rub their mother’s body in order to relieve the pain. In modern parlance, what she had was probably multiple rheumatism of the joints. But there was no proper hospital in the village, so her only medicine was the compassion of her children. Of the five kids, Tokujiro was especially good. In particular, when he pressed his thumbs from the middle to lower back, the pain apparently was mitigated. Tokujiro didn’t know it, but in medical terminology, what he was probably doing with his fingers was stimulating the adrenal gland to secrete an appropriate amount of cortisone.

Tokujiro Namikoshi,
the founder of Namikoshi Shiatsu

Later my grandfather acquired a license to practice massage, and in 1925 he opened a clinic in Muroran in Hokkaido. That was the first time for the words “shiatsu clinic” to be used. He then opened a clinic in Sapporo, which was very successful, and in 1933, on the recommendation of his older brother, he launched a clinic in Tokyo. In 1955 shiatsu received state approval as a licensed therapy. Read more…

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