Masahiro was born in 1971. He is the headmaster of a boarding school, Hajime Juku.
In 1992, he took a year off from his university and was impressed by the words of Michio Kushi, “Macrobiotics is a way of life and philosophy.” While studying the macrobiotics “unbounded living” under him and his wife, Aveline, at Kushi House and Kushi Institute in Boston. After returning to Japan, Masahiro was inspired by the free-spirited lifestyle of Chuya and Chiaki Hashimoto in Fukushima, and was greatly influenced by the charming and unfettered lifestyle of Aiko Tanaka.
After graduating from his university, Masahiro worked at a private elementary school in Kanagawa prefecture for three years before studying Montessori education in Munich, Germany. Upon returning to Japan, he became the third headmaster of Hajime Juku.
Hajime Juku goes by the idea that all educational elements are present in “life,” and conducts educational practices through “life.” They aim to raise independent adults who can live without getting stuck in life by pursuing a way of life that doesn’t lead to the traditional Japanese social ideals of not failing. The school aims to create an environment where independent adults who can live freely, no matter how they fall or don’t fall in life, can be nurtured.
Currently, his family (his wife and four children) and over 10 boarding students live together, and during long breaks such as twice a month during weekends and summer vacation, they hold camping trips for only the children at a mountain lodge in Tanzawa. During these camps, there are no assigned tasks or groupings, and each child from elementary to high school experience creating their own individual and collective life by fulfilling their own roles.
Every summer, we hold a one-month training camp with a semi-fasting and dietary education program. Previously, we had Ms. Aiko Tanaka as our instructor, and now we have Mr. Masahiro Isogai. The camp begins with about 40-50 children choosing whether or not to participate in the semi-fasting. Surprisingly, more than 95% of the children choose the semi-fasting, eating brown rice porridge as their meal. They enjoy chewing each mouthful 100 times and even find pleasure in feeling hungry. Children are naturally curious and eager to try new things. They don’t care about gain or loss; they just want to try everything. When they realize they have the power of choice and are free to make their own decisions, they readily go towards their natural curiosity. Don’t you think that children who enjoy everything and are true to themselves have the potential to reach sky-high in their future?
I believe that people are creatures who, if they become healthy, will naturally be filled with motivation. However, I feel like modern children need to take the first step towards reclaiming their freedom and becoming their true selves. First and foremost, I think it’s important to become more in tune with our bodies and minds through our diet. Therefore, in our camps and classes, animal products and sugar are almost completely eliminated from the menu. Instead, we work together with the children to create meals focused on grains that are satisfying to their taste buds, eyes, and hearts.