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Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Eric Utne

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

Eric Utne reminisces about studying with Michio

Eric Utne reminisces about studying with Michio


My name is Eric Utne and 47 years ago I stood where you couldn’t hear me and I had been sent here from Minneapolis by a friend named, ”Toad”, who told when I was sick, he said, “Hey Man! There’s this Dude in Boston who can teach you to be your own Doctor with FOOD!” and I went, “FAR OUT!” – quit Architecture School and found my way to Boston and Michio’s lectures in the Arlington Street Church.

The first night I came it was a hot summer night and I sat in the front row and I realized that Michio would invite the students sitting in the front row to read letters from students like Evan Root in Japan or Brazil or France telling about their studies and activities. So I hid in the back row – or it didn’t or I hadn’t – there was only about 50 people here so it was clearly the second stage of the macrobiotic community. I realized I was being a coward so I forced myself to sit in the front row and, sure enough, the next hot night, Michio called on me and he handed me a letter and it was from someone in Brazil writing about the Japanese community – the Japanese macrobiotic community in Brazil and their recipes for miso.

And I stood there shaking and within two sentences I was dripping sweat on the floor and within two paragraphs there was a puddle on the floor. And Michio was standing just like that [makes motion] and then he came and patted me on the back and he took the letter – it was single-spaced, onion-skin, 7-pages long – and he said, “Thank you, Eric!” and he never asked me to read a letter in front of the group again.


Michio attracted a very interesting group of people.  Some people came because they were sick, others came because they wanted to learn about the order of the universe and yin and yang, others because they wanted to find a “natural high”.  All of us were looking for alternatives to the conventional wisdom and Michio was nothing, if not, unconventional.  He made us question reality and to reconsider it right from the most basic level.

A place opened in Michio’s house on Gardner Road and I asked if I could live there and he said, “OK!” and I remember a few things about living in Gardner Road:

Number one, I remember Lily’s laugh. Lily was always laughing and that house was full of laughter. Number two, I remember Aveline cooking shrimp, eggs and mochi for her children and then we got to eat brown rice, miso soup and veggies and I thought we were getting the better deal.

I also remember Michio being a father to Norio. I remember Michio sitting at the kitchen table and Norio in the kitchen and Michio saying, ”Norio, please, go to school! Please, Norio, go to school! Norio, please!”   I’m not sure if Norio went to school.

Another time during a hot summer of 1970, I was managing Erewhon. I had gotten the job because Michio had told the manager, Roger Hillyard, to hire me. Roger said, “I don’t want to hire you but Michio made me!” I said, “Why?” He said,”Michio said you’re going to be a world leader someday!” We both laughed.

And…But Michio saw something in me that I think a mentor does for his student. I felt seen by Michio.  Even though he never told me that, but through Roger and through his welcoming me into his home I felt seen and it was a kind of nurturing that made me blossom, such as I have.

One time, coming back from Erewhon, actually probably a number of times, I was so exhausted. I was eating very strictly, trying to be a good macrobiotic and for me that meant eating as simply as I could. In Gardner Road we would take our shoes off downstairs and then go up to the second floor where the household activities were, in the kitchen.  And I was so tired from working at Erewhon that I would fall asleep on the bottom steps – probably pass out. And then everyone who came home after me would just step over me and leave me there sleeping on the steps.

One time I was so unbalanced that my ankles had swollen to the size of elephant ankles.  I wanted to heal myself but I couldn’t figure out whether I was too yin or too yang and finally, after weeks of trying to heal myself, I would ask Michio.  I didn’t want to bother him.  He was a very busy man. But he was sitting at the kitchen table preparing a lecture and I said, “Michio-san? May I ask you a question?”  And he looked up at me and pulled out a cigarette.  I think it was Kent, I’m not sure. He lit the cigarette and let the blue smoke hang over his face and he said, “Yes! What is it?” And I said – I lifted my leg up on the chair next to him and I showed him my ankles and I said, “I can’t figure out what to do!”  And he squeezed them and he said, ”Very interesting, isn’t it?”  Then he said, “Take five umeboshi plums every day for five days and see if that helps.” Five umeboshi plums every day!!??  Is he trying to kill me? What I realized what he was really saying was, “I don’t know.  Figure it out yourself, you idiot!” What a great teacher he was!

I think Michio would have been a worthy winner of the Nobel Prize.

So after leaving Boston I put my name on a magazine and as a result of that I got involved in the Nobel Peace Prize. I was on the Board of the Nobel Peace Prize forum for years, for seven years, and I met many of the winners of the Nobel Prize.  I think Michio would have been a worthy winner of the Nobel Prize.

Michio started the organic and natural foods revolution.  As he understood that was the way to lay the foundation for peace, to create peaceful people. But he did something I think even more important than that.  Arnold Toynbee, the historian, said that the most important event of the twentieth century was not the invention of the automobile or the television or the computer or space travel.  It was none of those. It was the coming of Buddhism to the West; the meeting of East and West. And I don’t think there was any person in the last century who’s done more than to bring East and West together than Michio Kushi.

Now we all know about the Nobel Peace Prize but there’s another prize that is the highest honor that can be given in Japan and it’s the Order Of The Chrysanthemum.  I hope that Michio is honored with the Order Of The Chrysanthemum. I leave you with that.

We are all blessed to have met and to have known and to have been seen by Michio.  His legacy lives on!  Thank you!

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Evan Root

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.



“Michio”, means “man of the way”.  Michio = Man of the way. [In Japanese “Michi” means “the way”]

First off, I’d like to just acknowledge that we’re here for Michio; Michio that lives inside us. Michio that is in each other who’s here as we greet each other; Michio’s work in the world beyond us in all the people who couldn’t come here and now, of course, Michio in the heavens.  All here for Michio and I want to thank the family so much for this occasion to do this, not just now but also for sharing Michio with us for all these years.  Can you imagine sharing your parents with thousands of people around the world? Sharing the time and then the family giving the community this opportunity?  So grateful, thank you.

I first met Michio in 1965 in New York City.  I was attending – I was hanging out with Michel Abehsera and Michio was coming to town for a weekend seminar so a friend of mine and I, of course, went there.   And what an evening it was!  It was the beginning of the rest of my life.  It was a small group as things were in those days, maybe six or eight people around a coffee table in a living room and Michio just picked something, I’d forgotten exactly what it was, it was something like a bean on a plate and then he began to talk about it.  And then he began to draw spirals on the blackboard and the interrelationship of yin influences and yang influences and the next thing you know across the day, step by step, stage by stage, we were at the parameters, if there is such a thing as a parameter of the infinite universe, and there he left us for the day. We went home. Came back the next day. He took us step by step back down through, right back home to the bean on our plate and *poof*, you know, that was it!

And that’s how we made our way home to our apartment that night, literally jumping, dancing and whooping – the joy exploding in our hearts from the vision that Michio, the beacon, that he broadcast into the world that reached those who were ready to hear it.

I’m sure all of you have some kind of a similar experience to that. So my friend and I, when we left the building, spontaneously started jumping and dancing in the street, twirling, whooping!  And that’s how we made our way home to our apartment that night, literally jumping, dancing and whooping – the joy exploding in our hearts from the vision that Michio, the beacon, that he broadcast into the world that reached those who were ready to hear it.

And a while later, a little bit, a few months later, Michel took me aside and said, “Got a call from Michio. They’re getting moved on from Wellesley. They were, you know, they were kicked out of Cambridge and they went to Wellesley and set up a wonderful East West Institute, Aikido Dojo, etc.  Next thing you know the Town Fathers, Board of Selectmen, [said you], “Gotta leave town!” So, at this point there was no 24/7 guy around.  It was just –  family was there – some others had left ‘cause the Institute wasn’t ever able to operate anymore.

So he put out a call, “You know a helper down there by any chance of use?” We went out to a café and he said, “You know Michio needs some help up there.  Would you like to go?”  I packed my bag and left the next day and showed up here and that was the beginning.


I met the wonderful group of men here today, kids at that time, and the love that exuded from each one of you was just such a welcome that it still warms my heart after all these years. So together we moved and they started the study house at Gardner Road. We started up the Erewhon store.  The lectures before they were here were just on bags – the people coming, again half a dozen or so – sat on the bags of grain that were in the side storage room there.  And that worked up until a point, until the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) raided the place and we had to be very careful and segregate education from food.  Never the twain shall meet.

So, they located that little room on the side there, wherever it is – on the side entrance – sort of an oval table and for the next while a group of – and it began to build, little by little, you know – 8, 10, 12, 14 people around that.  And you know, I saw a fair amount of dancing and twirling after those things on the street right here.  It was an explosion really for those who were ready for it.

But it wasn’t without it’s difficulties even though they’d been moved, they been moved, he’d been moved from town to town.  Gardner Road was always on the edge.  We were ready with – anybody who was Japanese visiting was a relative.  That way the single house family thing didn’t come [into question] and then all these other people were just visiting and this and that.

But that wasn’t the only thing. They had tabs on us and there was often a plain clothes car parked across the street watching.  Some of the community members were even stopped by authorities.  The amazing thing was they knew everybody who was involved names was – “What about this person? What about that person?”.  And sure enough, Michio, there was a full press to send him out of the country.  And it was thanks to Wally Gorell’s father who was very close with Senators.  Was he a Senator himself? I can’t remember. But anyway, he explained to a very good friend that this guy had saved his son from a life of that, you know, at that time there was a lot psychedelic action and young people getting into drugs and macrobiotics wasn’t that.  It was a way out of that for a lot of people. So that sort of righted the ship.

Anyway, the first year at Erewhon was kind of slow.  It took a year before very – I could sleep between customers if I needed the rest – go back lay on the – I’d heard the dingle bell and come up – another person.  But one by one more people came and everybody came wanted to help.  People came because they wanted to learn and they wanted to help.  They wanted to share – this was a dream that was shared.  And when Haruo spoke this morning and said about the extended family, it’s the family that lives in that extended dream.

So, as more people came Sanae Restaurant opened up and then people could eat – sort of developed a motor, you know: buy food there, get introduced to it here, eat there, go there, and then Tao Books came in where Erewhon used to be and then it was like a three-way motor.  And it was, then Boston became like a school, really.  We were here to learn and we were here to help.

Michio was very strategic.  He had a plan.  It was always kind of a moving target but it was to establish the way of health, the way of peace and the way of life in the age of humanity here on the planet earth.  And so, when would meet around the table at night at Gardner Road, there was always a talk ‘til 2am around the table.  And it was, “You take Italy! You take Spain! You take…”  It was a grand scheme of people who were going to train here. And he always thought that it was up to the Boston group.  There were other people teaching macrobiotics here and there in the world – people, students of Ohsawa’s but he said to me, “They are very good, very confident and all but this is up to Boston friends.  This world change is up to Boston friends”.  So, that strategic planning was for health, freedom and happiness worldwide.

I want to say and I think that it probably goes for a lot of people in this room – at least to some large degree – and that is my own life is completely – he was the most influential person in my life, outside of my parents, without question, except maybe the person who introduced me to him or the person who introduced me to him.

But in another way it was a radar here that was tuning into that and, you know, I was going to get here somehow, just like you were going to get here somehow. And everyone I know now – it’s just like a trunk.  I’ve branched out here and there but all of those wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for what happened in the trunk.  All those branches belong to the same tree and I’ve got a few little for my family tree – people I have known.

So, thank you Michio for the love, guidance, help and encouragement and, in reviewing my life with Michio for this talk, I had gotten many letters from him.  I was amazed how much he put into us. Detailed letters, who’s doing what, I got in Japan.  And in every single letter he always said something about loving one another, guiding each other, helping each other and encouraging each other.  And as the new ones came along to help them, guide them and so forth.  So he had this kind of way of – well, I think it was similar to what Norio said, if anyone read it.   He wanted to know that there was peace and cooperation in the family and that the energy was flowing and he always wanted that for us and we have that in our macrobiotic DNA now.  S0 thank you for this opportunity, dear family, to speak about the man who changed my life and our lives.  Thank you.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches – Masao Kushi

May 17, 2015

This post is part of a series presenting full transcripts of speeches given at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service in Boston on January 31, 2015.

Michio's brother, Masao Kushi, speaks about Michio in his younger years

Michio’s brother, Masao Kushi, prepares to speak about Michio in his younger years


My name is Masao Kushi, brother of Michio Kushi.  I am nine years younger than Michio and I live in Tokyo, Japan.  I came here to represent the family, Kushi Family in Japan, and to pray for Michio.

I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all you who are present here today.  Some of you have come here far from Europe, Central or South America, Japan and other areas.  I’d like to express special thanks to you.

On this occasion, I’d like to tell you some of my memories of him in his early twenties years old when he was a university student and still lived in Japan.

The first one is: What influenced his strong interest in world peace?  I have many times heard him saying “world federal government” and “world peace”. These words came from his experience as a witness to the destruction of the World War Second.  While he was not dispatched overseas but he was drafted in the military as an army soldier when he served near Hiroshima until the end of the war in Japan.

On his way back to Tokyo he saw the complete destruction in Hiroshima caused by the Atomic Bomb and other major cities completely destroyed by constant air bombing.  This was the reason he began seeking out the ways to create world peace through the world government activities.

Michio's parents in 1965

Michio’s parents in 1965

One second memory is when he was twenty three years old in 1949 on the day he left Japan for America. Together with our parents, we took Michio to the Yokohama Sea Port.  At that time there was no airplane service and people crossed the ocean by boat taking several weeks.  At the moment before he got on the boat, our father turned to him and said, “Once you get to America, never think of Japan.  Stay there as long as you can. Be the soil on America.”

Then our mother, who loved him more than anyone else said, “You are no longer my son, Michio.  You are a son of the world.  Do what the world want you to do.”

Then our mother, who loved him more than anyone else said, “You are no longer my son, Michio.  You are a son of the world.  Do what the world want you to do.”

Since then, more than seventy years has passed. As all of you have observed, Michio has saved and improved many people mentally and physically through his activities.  He has always been supported and helped by many people like you who are present here today.

I am very proud of Michio and his family and also respect people who are always with him. I sincerely hope the young generation who are interested in the macrobiotic way of life will continue his legacy to keep Michio’s spirit alive in the future.  Thank you very much.

Michio Kushi Memorial Service Speeches

May 17, 2015


It has been over three months now since the Memorial Service for our father, Michio Kushi, on Saturday, January 31 and during this time we have been working on finalizing the full video recording of the event with Jim Brown and his team.  The video will soon be made available on DVD initially to all donors of the Memorial Fund and then later on the website for free online viewing. Meanwhile, I have prepared full transcripts of the speeches and share them here on this blog as a preview to all interested.  Attended by several hundred persons from around the world, the two and a half hour Service began at 2pm with John Denver’s song, “What One Man Can Do” followed by a welcome by my brother, Lawrence Haruo Kushi. Subsequent speeches are in following posts. Transcripts for these speeches are kept as close to the actual speeches given in order to retain the unique flavor and nuance of each speaker. Comments surrounded by brackets “[]” have been added by me for clarity.

JOHN DENVER SONG “What One Man Can Do”
I suppose that there are those
Who’ll say he had it easy
Had it made in fact
Before he’d even begun
But they don’t know the things I know
I was always with him
It may sound strange
We were more than friends
It’s hard to tell the truth
When no one wants to listen
When no one really cares
What’s going on
And it’s hard to stand alone
When you need someone beside you
Your spirit and your faith
Must be strong
What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it young again
Here you see what one man can do
As shaded as his eyes might be
That’s how bright his mind is
That’s how strong his love
For you and me
A friend to all the universe
Grandfather of the future
Everything I would like to be
What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it new again
Here you see what one man can
What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it work again
Here you see what one man can do


Haruo Kushi welcomes guests to Memorial Service

Haruo Kushi welcomes guests to the Memorial Service


Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of my father, Michio Kushi’s life.  Thank you for coming here to the Arlington Street Church from all corners of the globe.  It’s great to see old friends and new ones both and the gathering of family to join us in this celebration this afternoon.

“We consider all of you to be part of our extended family”

As that song just expressed by John Denver – “What one man can do” – my father can do is dream and his dream has inspired all of us, I think, to do the best that we can in our own personal lives. I want to thank everybody for being part of our large family.  You’ll get to meet many of his immediate blood relatives today and this afternoon but I want everybody to recognize that we consider all of you to be part of our extended family and we’re really grateful that you’ve been able to come here today and be with us and to celebrate and honor the life of my father.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, just a little bit of words about the Arlington Street Church itself just so you understand the significance in my parent’s life and the macrobiotic community but way back when, you know, the dawn of the Boston macrobiotic community, my father would come here and actually give lectures.  There is a room back behind us that he started in and in the function room in the basement we held many holiday parties hosted, for example, by Ronald Koetzsch, who is sitting on the side over there, and attended by many people who are here.  So it holds that type of significance.

The Back Bay area as well that we’re in, right next door at 359 Boylston Street was where the East West Foundation offices were held and classrooms.  And then if you walk down Newbury Street at 303b that was where the Erewhon Retail Store first started before it moved down a couple blocks to 342 Newbury Street. And at 272A was where the Sanae Restaurant started, the first macrobiotic restaurant in Boston.  So, anyway this whole area holds special significance and we’re glad that you could be here with us today.

So, the John Denver song, as I mentioned and you can see in the program – my father – he [John] performed it several times in the Boston area and he dedicated the song to my father.  It was written originally for Buckminster Fuller who was also a good friend of John Denver’s but I think many of the words and the sentiment really expresses the spirit of what my father’s life was about.

So thank you and we’ll move on to the program.

Video Tibutes to Michio Kushi

February 4, 2015

A number of persons have put together their own individual videos in memory of Michio Kushi in conjunction with the Memorial Service that was held on January 31, 2015 in Boston.  They are listed below.  We encourage and invite others whom may be so moved, to create and add their own videos.  Thank you so much to all of you.





Full Text of Dennis Kucinich’s speech at the Michio Kushi Memorial Service

February 3, 2015
DennisKucinich and Michio 2004

Dennis Kucinich and Michio Kushi at Michio’s home in Brookline in 2004

Former US Congressman and Presidential Candidate, Dennis Kucinich, interrupted his busy schedule and flew to Boston for just a few hours to offer his condolences and appreciation for Michio Kushi at Michio’s Memorial Service on January 31, 2015.  Below is the full text of  his speech which he posted on his Facebook page here.

I first met Michio Kushi thirty years ago when he and Aveline made an extraordinary presentation about diet and nutrition at a church in the Cleveland area. Their insight about the relationship between physiognomy and health and dietary habits regaled the audience with the consequences of literally becoming what you eat, if you ate a lot of chicken, meat, pork and other animal products.

You could see people in the audience squirming in the nakedness of the anthropomorphic implications of appetites , speculating about the diet of the stranger sitting next to them, imagining human beings presenting subtly as barnyard animals . It was a moment of high humor worthy of James Thurber’s A Thurber Carnival, where animals acquired human traits.

Michio and Aveline had made their point: You are what you eat, so take care.

Michio Kushi, perhaps better than anyone in the last century, understood the transformational and the redemptive power of food, its relationship to personal health, environmental integrity and world peace. His East-West apostolate was a commitment to the transcendent power immanent in every moment, the communion of spirit and matter, yin and yang, which made of the partaking of food a holy sacrament of divine nourishment of the temple of self.

Michio Kushi understood the condition of inner harmony of mind, body and spirit arrived at through a macrobiotic diet came from a quickening of vibration and light as the substance of food united with the person consuming it. Knowing that what is innermost becomes outermost, Michio Kushi took the theory of the unity of matter to a higher spiritual expression, that of human unity, that we are all one, interdependent, interconnected across an infinity of time and space.

The potential for human unity came from each individual taking responsibility for his or her own health, pursuing the diet of a compassionate, non-violent harvest, respecting, preserving all which inhabit the natural world from harm and so achieving the reconciliation with the natural world which the philosopher Thomas Berry said is the great work of our lives.

The great work of Michio Kushi’s life was to raise the consciousness of the world about the power of food, the essentiality of dietary choices, the path toward health which strengthens the body and liberates the spirit.

At this moment in human history where the biosphere is threatened by short-sighted agricultural policies which selfishly waste precious water resources, poison the land, befoul the air, pollute gene pools, it is the gentle spirit of Michio Kushi, which can lead us back towards a Garden Eden filled with fruits, vegetables and grains from the cornucopia of life, where all are fed and all live in harmony, and thus we can turn the myth of the Fall of Man into an At-One-Ment, a celebration of return to Grace, the achievement of Enlightenment – – One Peaceful World.

This was the vision of Michio Kushi, now it is his legacy, to be resurrected to help save the planet from destruction with regenerative agriculture, agro-ecological principles, plant-based diets and the abolition of war..

We who were privileged to share a day or blessed to share a lifetime with Michio knew his genius rested upon simplicity of thinking, of personal habit, of living, of eating. His gift for clarity enabled breakthrough thinking which accelerated evolutionary thought in human health, ushering in new insights into medicine and healing.

Michio Kushi’s philosophy and writings helped to make what was once called Alternative Medicine, mainstream. His partnership with Alex Jack produced world-acclaimed texts on disease prevention and the achievement of total health, principles which are now a bedrock of integrative medicine.

Michio’s message was not simply about the wholeness of food, it was about the wholeness of life: You do not have to suffer, you can live, enjoy a long life, and be happy. For some this may seem cliché, but for Michio Kushi, the attainment of health, happiness and inner peace was in fact the goal of life, as was love, the love of his family, especially his beloved life partner and wife, Aveline.

When Aveline passed, Michio faced a great crisis because his love was no longer with him on his journey. His health suffered. His vital energy waned. Then he met Midori. He was revitalized, summoned back to life. Through Midori he reclaimed his own spark of light and love, which he carried forth to his final days.

In 1999, I had the honor of welcoming Michio and Aveline Kushi to Washington, DC, at the celebration of the acquisition of their collection by the Smithsonian. A few days later, I introduced Michio Kushi to a major committee of the House of Representatives where he testified how a macrobiotic diet could be a powerful therapy for women suffering from certain types of cancer.

He added, joyfully, disease prevention or recovery could be enhanced by singing a happy song, every day, like “You are My Sunshine.”

Let us take his wisdom, and at this moment call forth the expressive power of his joy. Please join me, if you wish, in singing a few lines from Michio’s happy song, “You are My Sunshine.”

“You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine,

You make me happy,

When skies are grey.

You’ll never know dear,

How much I love you,

Please don’t take

My sunshine away.”

Our lives will forever be warmed by the mere thought of you, dear Michio.

We abide in your light and your light abides in us.

Thank you. Dennis Kucinich

#MacroBiotics #MichioKushi #Peace #Diet #Nutrition #Health Kushi Institute


Michio Kushi Memorial Services and Reception Update

January 18, 2015

Michio Kushi (May 17, 1926 - December 28, 2014)

We invite you to attend Michio Kushi’s Memorial Service to celebrate his life and influence. The Memorial Service will be held at:

2:00 PM, Saturday, January 31st
Arlington Street Church
Corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets
Boston, Massachusetts

A reception will follow at:

Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel
110 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

The Marriott Hotel is located about five blocks from Arlington Street Church.

If you plan on attending the Memorial Service and/or reception, please RSVP on the website. This will provide a way for us to track attendees for space and catering purposes.

To help defray the costs of the Memorial and reception, we are gratefully accepting donations sent via PayPal to “”. If you prefer not to use PayPal, please contact and we will contact you with further information.