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Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, Japan
|Occupation||farmer, author, teacher|
|Known for||Natural Farming methods|
Yoshikazu Kawaguchi (川口由一 Kawaguchi Yoshikazu?) (1939 – ) is the leading Japanese practitioner of the “natural farming” method popularized by Masanobu Fukuoka and has farmed by this method in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture for 30 years. He is a farmer, author, and founder of the Akame Natural Farming School, or 赤目自然農塾 in Japanese.
Unlike Fukuoka, who was from the landlord class, Kawaguchi was born the eldest son of a tenant farmer of many generations who aspired to become a painter, and attended Tennoji Art Institute, whilst continuing to work at the family's farm. His father died when Kawaguchi was only 11 years old, which meant he was forced to join the family farm. However, in 1978, after 22 years of conventional farming, he experience severe liver damage caused by the agricultural chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides used on the farm. The failure of allopathic doctors to cure him led in response to Kawaguchi discovering Fukuoka’s seminal book The One Straw Revolution, studying and starting to promote both Natural Farming and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He was also influenced by Wes Jackson, the founder and current president of The Land Institute; Kawaguchi is said to be the leading representative of the second generation of Natural Farming, using a gentler, more flexible approach to Fukuoka's, in which there are no definitive rules and each application depends on the individual environment.
The natural farming method of Masanobu Fukuoka uses no fertilizers or chemicals and very little water. It allows crops and weeds to grow freely, requiring a minimum of human intervention.
Kawaguchi's work is based on Fukuoka's four main principles, those being; no plowing, no fertilizers, no weeding, and no chemicals. His first attempts were not successful until, he says, he understood that the aim was to cultivate land as in the very early days of cultivation rather than to let it go totally wild.
In 1991, he started Akame Natural Farming School which current has more than 10 sites and another 5 teaching traditional medicine and around 250 students. It is one of a number of voluntary agricultural schools in Japan. Graduates from the school have further opened 44 learning sites throughout Japan, where approximately 900 people study 'Natural Farming'. Kawaguchi is at the heart of the contemporary Natural Farmers network in Japan.
In 1997, his work was featured in a documentary at the Yamagata International Documentary Festival and shown at the 2010 International Film Festival on Organic Farming in Tokyo . In 2008 he spoke at the 17th National Gathering of Natural Farming Practitioners along with Manabu Sakai (member of House of Representatives) and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Environment and the Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of University of Tokyo.
- Kawaguchi, Yoshikazu 川口由一 Taenaru Hatake ni Tachite『妙なる畑に立ちて』 (Standing in the Exquisite Garden). Shizuoka: Yasosha Publishing Co., 1990.
- Kawaguchi, Yoshikazu 川口由一 Shizen-No kara No wo Koete『自然農から 農を超えて』(From Natural Farming, Beyond Farming). Sendai: Katatumuri Publishing Co., 1993.
- Kawaguchi, Yoshikazu 川口由一 and Toriyama, Toshiko. 鳥山敏子 Shizen-No『自然農』(Natural Farming). Tokyo: Banseishobo Publishing Co., 2000.
- Natural Farming, Toshiko, Toriyama and Koizumi Shukichi, Group Gendai Inc. 1997.
- 「 人類の明日を悟る 」 (Understand the Future of Humanity) － 自然農上映会 シンポジウム 演奏 対談 － 主催・赤目自然農塾 制作・加治幸博
- Suutari, Amanda. Hands in the Soil: Natural farming with Kawaguchi Yoshikazu, Kyoto Journal, v. 53, 2003.
- 子どもの未来と自然農 ～川口由一 自然農・子育て・家族を語る～, 川口由一 and 鳥山敏子. Publisher, 有限会社フィオーナ
- The Other Japan: Voices Beyond the Mainstream, Suzuki, David T., Oiwa, Keibo. Fulcrum Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-55591-417-9
- Resurgence Magazine, The Resurgence Trust, v. 198-203, p. 64, 2000.
- Kato, Sadamichi (2003), 'Body and Earth Are Not Two' : Kawaguchi Yoshikazu's NATURAL FARMING and American Agriculture Writers (PDF), 言語文化論集 (名古屋大学大学院国際言語文化研究科) 25 (1): 23–30, ISSN 0388-6824, retrieved 9 May 2011
- The role of a learning site for urban residents hoping to do farming: Focusing on the spread of 'natural farming' by the Akame Natural Farming School. Hokazono, S.(Mie Univ., Tsu (Japan)); Ohara, K.. Journal of Rural Problems (Dec 2007). ISSN 0388-8525, Vol. No. v. 43(3) p. 311-323