Tempu Nakamura

A more detailed account of the life of Tempu Nakamura Sensei's life can be found on the Sennin Foundation website: Click Here.

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Excerpted from Nakamura Tempu and the Origins of Japanese Yoga by H. E. Davey

Japanese Yoga: The Art of Dynamic Meditation by H. E. Davey is published by Stone Bridge Press. For information about this book (as well as Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony and The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation, works also written by Mr. Davey), go to www.stonebridge.com.

Indian forms of yoga have spread throughout the world due to their objectives of promoting health and harmony. Japan is but one of many countries that have received these age-old teachings. Certain distinctive Japanese versions of Indian spiritual paths have evolved. Perhaps the first of these unique methodologies is the art of Shin-shin-toitsu-do, which was developed by Nakamura Tempu Sensei (1876-1968). In fact, Nakamura Sensei is often considered to be the father of yoga in Japan.

Nakamura Sensei contracted tuberculosis, which in those days was frequently a fatal disease. Despite his knowledge of certain traditional Japanese healing methods, his condition worsened. As the result, he went to the United States in the early 1900s to receive Western-style medical treatment, which initially seemed to cure him. Impressed with the effectiveness of the treatments he received, Nakamura Sensei attended Columbia University. He was one of the first Japanese to become a medical doctor.

But he began to cough up blood again. Despite his past training in various Japanese spiritual paths, he had over the years become almost totally preoccupied with the body . . . his body in particular. Realizing this, and perhaps feeling that he had gone as far as he could with different "body-oriented cures," he decided to explore the mind as a possible means of curing his illness. He renewed his study of different Japanese spiritual paths. Yet after his medical training in America, he felt that truth was not limited to Japan. Nakamura Sensei traveled to England to study with H. Addington Bruce, who had evolved his own form of personal growth. He decided to explore the depths of the newly developing field of psychology, general ideas from which he used in his later teaching of Japanese yoga. His study of psychology spanned France, Germany, and Belgium ... but he still couldn't shake the tuberculosis. Despite believing even more strongly in the possibility of a psychosomatic cure, he met with no success. Despondent, he decided to return to Japan. But he would stop in Egypt first.