Michio Kushi Dies at Age 88




Sadly, I’ve received news that  Michio Kushi died in Boston on December 28th, at age 88.  Those of you familiar with macrobiotics or the history of the natural foods movement in America, will surely have heard of Mr. Kushi. Beginning in the 1960’s, he was a leading advocate and teacher of a way of eating which was then controversial but now has become almost mainstream.  Back in the early 1970’s, when I first encountered macrobiotics, little had been written, and what little there was came mostly from Michio. So, although I didn’t always agree with his teachings, he certainly influenced my life in ways I may not have yet even realized.

Living far from Boston, the center of his teaching, my association with Michio and the Kushi Institute was at a distance. I’ve heard him lecture a few times, and once had the privilege of meeting with him at the family home in Brookline, Mass.  Although it was nearly 30 years ago, I remember that day vividly. On a chilly Sunday afternoon in January, Michio invited 8-10 gay men to have what turned into an hours-long discussion of how macrobiotics could impact the then rapidly-growing AIDS epidemic. I will always appreciate how Michio gave of his time and hospitality that day.   I should note that he had been working with AIDS patients for several years by that time, even in the early days when many feared that the disease could be spread by casual contact. For his courage in advocating early on for AIDS patients, I salute him.

The New York Times obituary is here:


Photo: via Wikipedia

5 responses

  1. I studied with Michio for a couple months in the early 70s, and although I also didn’t agree with everything he said, he made an indelible mark on my life and I will always be grateful. Thanks for writing about him.

  2. Thank you, Gary, for posting your tribute to Michio Kushi. I had not heard of his passing, and I am grateful for the obituary that you posted.

    I also have a long history with Michio Kushi and macrobiotics. I met my chef/artist husband back in Chicago in 1977. He was an inventor and he loved cooking inventions. I was not very interested in eating meat, and somehow he heard of macrobiotics, and started cooking it. It was the best food I had ever eaten, and we ended up merchandising barbequed Wheatmeat (seitan) out of our kitchen. People loved it and found it hard to tell the difference from meat.

    My husband passed away some years ago, and I recently went through his cookbooks, and donated most of them. I kept the stack of well used and well worn books that Michio Kushi produced back in those same days around 1980. The world is better for having had him with us, and for leaving so many good instructions for our better health. May he rest in the peace of knowing that he truly made a difference in leaving a legacy of good health for so many of us, and for the world at large.

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