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Mr. Larry Korn came to Omi-Hachiman in Shiga to give a talk last Friday night. He is the person who took the translated manuscript of The One Straw Revolution to the United States and got it published.
The One Straw Revolution was written by Masanobu Fukuoka who is the founder of Natural Farming method where you don’t till the land, you don’t apply fertilizers including organic ones, you don’t use agricultural chemicals, and you don’t weed.
I read the book in 2008 and it changed my life. I decided to move to the countryside to lead a self-sufficient life. I talked about it in Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity.
As a person who tries to deliver Japanese messages to the West, I know how difficult it is and how much harder it was in the past when we didn’t have a system like KDP to get a Japanese book published in the West, and therefore I was so impressed with the work Larry Korn had done.
He came to Japan in the early 70s thinking he would stay just for a few weeks as a part of his Asian travel, but once he arrived in Japan, he got involved in back to the land commune movement in Japan and ended up living in Japan for a few years staying at various communes.
During his stays at communes, he often heard about Masanobu Fukuoka, and one day he decided to visit Fukuoka’s farm where he ended up staying for 2 years.
During that time Masanobu Fukuoka published The One Straw Revolution in Japan, and after reading it with other students on the farm, Larry and other students decided to translate it into English, thinking that Mr. Fukuoka’s philosophy would benefit the Western readers. Together they formed a translating team and managed to complete a manuscript in English.
I happened to know one of the students at Fukuoka’s farm called Tsunemichi Kurosowa who was in this translating team. I interviewed him 8 years ago in Tochigi.
Larry took the manuscript to the United States and looked for a publisher. It took him over a year and a half to get it published. It was published by Rodale Press in 1978. Back in the days, Back to the Land Movement was spreading, and so was macrobiotic movement, and the book was well received by both groups, and soon it became a sensation.
I heard about Masanobu Fukuoka when I was in England in the mid 80s; he and George Ohsawa were the most well know Japanese people in the alternative movement there. It wouldn’t have happened, had Larry not gotten the book published in the United States.
Larry recently published a book called One-Straw Revolutionary: The Philosophy and Work of Masanobu Fukuoka, and he describes his story of getting The One Straw Revolution published in English, there, too.
It was fascinating to meet him in person and hear him talk about those early days of the natural farming movement.