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A balanced society thanks to Shiatsu, Kumiko Kanayama Interview

Kumiko Kanayama was born in Japan and grew up in a Shiatsu universe. Niece of Ohashi, she kno lives in New York where she teaches Shiatsu, which on her opinion is a central practice to bring peace, love and happiness to the world.

Could you tell us something more about the difference between man and woman in your experience and observation?

I am not sure. 

In my experience, everyone has a beautiful light touch, and kind heart. Everyone’s heart and intellectual ability to understand the touch, meridians, tsubos, and energy will reflect in the shiatsu work. Hands transmit kindness to give healing energy to others. 

I could say a man has more yang touch, a female has more yin touch, but I was always told my touch is strong by a 90-year-old client. So, I cannot answer this, I think everyone is unique and shiatsu cultivates the uniqueness of each own. 

Also, we make our own assessments, of course, we work with clients and we make adjustments by Hara, but still, there is an unknown, unmeasurable uniqueness to the energy work. 


How could you define the masculine, its main qualities?

We have both yin and yang energy within. It all depends on how we would like to use it.

We can be strong-masculine-yang and we can be soft-feminine-yin energy.  We need both. We need hardness and softness, strong movement and weak (listening) movement. 

At this historic moment I experience, in my environment but also more globally, that a change is underway; women get stronger in different ways and they get stronger in a different way than a man would, what do you think?

Yes, we all need to cultivate our own strength to go through a very challenging period of human evolution.

My teacher, Pamela Hannay said to me, that the relationship either becomes stronger or dies. Our relationship with nature has to be stronger, we are part of nature, and we need to become stronger.

In my opinion, stronger means more balance within, how can we become more balanced, the answer is Shiatsu in my mind, shiatsu can bring balance within and balance in others and balance in the society. 

The more we have a balanced mind, the more society can be balanced, when we are balanced, all 5 elements work well, we don’t even think about killing people, we want to be peaceful, happier, and loving.

I believe shiatsu is a gift to us. 

Les 5 éléments

How has the role of women changed in recent years? What do you think of the groups of women who are spontaneously springing up everywhere at the moment?

Society has changed drastically, we women are a strong part of the workforce. We are good at caring, I believe shiatsu can be a great force or work to earn a great living to help family and others.

We can work according to our own female physiological evolution, we work by family, we can be at home, we can raise children, we can experience menopause, and we can get sick. 

Shiatsu is a part of the lifestyle for people, especially women.  It is such a great profession and I would like more women and men to join me. 

Could you tell us how the female hand contributed to the male hand in Shiatsu?

Again, it is hard to say, it is all perspective. 

Physiologically, men have bigger hands, which means bigger space to penetrate energy, but does it mean it is good? 

Some people like warm hands, softer hands, strong hands, sharp energy, a softer energy, or strong energy, it all depends.

You have to try it. Everyone is so unique. 


What is your definition of the Yin ?

The Yin : night, rest, sleep, quietness, peace, relaxation, recovering, restoring, meditation.

Where does the strength of women lie? How do our cycles rule our lives ?

Our strength is in the Hara, the center of our being.

And our menstrual cycle is the universal law. Where there is life and death. 

What do you want to transmit, where to put in place?

Shiatsu is love, peace, and happiness. This is what I learned from my beloved teacher, Pamela Hannay. 

I believe it and I would like to transmit it to others to enjoy life with shiatsu.  


Tell me about your project of global shiatsu network.

I have been in the shiatsu field since I was born. 

My grandmother taught me shiatsu, my grandfather taught me Makko Ho, my mom taught me the power of meditation, and my dad taught me the power of energetic connectedness. 

When I came to New York, I was with my uncle, Ohashi, for decades. I was always in the field of shiatsu, I grew up with shiatsu people in the USA.

My uncle, his teachers and I had trained so many students and teachers. I have known many of them because I was at the school 24/7. I met so many people there and so many teachers stayed in my apartment when they came to be trained in NYC from abroad and out of state. 

Shiatsu was always my global project. Nothing is fancy, shiatsu is global because of the uniqueness of people, and the uniqueness of everyone’s energy.

For now, I am doing it with my team, the Five Lights team. I am very dedicated and I feel a strong responsibility to leave our legacy to the next generation and for the future. 

Kumiko Kanayama

Do you have any advice for the women of tomorrow?

My advice would be to e true to yourself, and trust yourself. 

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