A Tribute to Yoshikazu Kawaguchi: The Late Pioneer of Shizenno, Natural Farming

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Here’s a snapshot from our rice planting experience at Saitama’s Natural Farming Association in 2008. It was a part of our two-year journey learning about a natural farming method called Shizenno.

On June 9th, I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, the founder of Shizenno. My thoughts and prayers are with him, wishing him peace and happiness in his journey beyond this life.

Coincidentally, I had been reciting the Heart Sutra just before I discovered the news on Facebook. It was the anniversary of my mother’s passing.

Reflecting on Shizenno, it’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years already.

Since those early days, my own practices have evolved. There were times when Shizenno methods didn’t yield the desired results, prompting me to incorporate elements of organic farming. I’ve tilled the soil without using fertilizers, and weeded extensively without tilling. My approach has deviated quite significantly from traditional natural farming, making me a far cry from the model student my teachers may have envisioned.

As such, I can’t claim that I strictly adhere to Shizenno in its purest form.

Despite this, the philosophy of Shizenno continues to shape my worldview. In particular, it greatly influenced my novel “Hyakusho Revolution,” which I wrote during my deep dive into Shizenno.

Without my exposure to Shizenno, I wouldn’t have been able to write that novel. It forms the backbone of the story, permeating not only the farming scenes but also the community-building aspects.

In 2008, I began my journey into country living, or Satoyama living, triggered by the philosophy behind Shizenno.

My work on Ikigai Bio-Hacking is also heavily influenced by Mr. Kawaguchi. To be more precise, it’s inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka, the pioneer of Shizennoho, the Natural Farming Method, but Kawaguchi’s lifestyle of living harmoniously with nature echoes the same principles, and thus, his influence is undeniable.

The difference between Shizennoho by Masanobu Fukuoka and Shizeno by Yoshikazu Kawaguchi


In Chapter 7 of Ikigai Bio-Hacking, titled “Digital Fasting,” I highlight Fukuoka’s insights. Meanwhile, in Chapter 3 of The Ikigai Diet, “Organically Grown Vegetables vs. Naturally Grown Vegetables,” I shine a light on Kawaguchi’s teachings.



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