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"The Image of the Heart"


The book is available at

Creatspace eStore:


(Also available at Amazon UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Canada)




Preface to the complete English translation of "Kokoro no Katachi -- The

Image of the Heart" by Akira Hino



"When I met Takamatsu sensei, I turned myself into zero."

"I've never thought of myself. I'm just following the teachings of

Takamatsu sensei."


Those are the words of Masaaki Hatsumi, Bujinkan Soke (great grandmaster).

Insightful words like them can be found as a common language among the very few masters in the history of Japanese culture. Of course, it is not only in the world of Bugei (martial arts, Budo), but also in various fields of arts.

In a sense, the pupils in all fields train their skills in order to understand and embody the words of the masters in their arts.

The pupil's intense training is called "*shugyo*" (the physical, emotional, and spiritual practices of ascetic nature).

*Shugyo *in the modern context is the training to go beyond the ego, the "me."


Why is such training necessary? It is because when you can "turn yourself into zero," you reach the sensitivity that promises the infinite growth of a human being.

Of course, it is an extremely difficult thing. In the long history of mankind very few have actually achieved such a state.

But, it remains the highest of ideals in life to aim for that sensitivity.


Intuitive things, spiritual things, the things the body feels, the things the sensitivity catches... It is difficult to verbalize or explain that which is invisible, something the eyes cannot directly see.

There is a huge gap, or an unbreakable wall between words and the reality they describe.

Especially the world view in the words stemming from the traditional Japanese culture is so deep and wide that it is beyond comprehension.

Consequently, it is very difficult to pass on the intangible culture like Bugei.

It is almost impossible to verbally transmit the result of the intense training, the highly refined sensitivity.

Unfortunately people tend to interpret the art by the things they can see, or "the form." It is that individual interpretation of the form that creates a big obstacle to the true understanding of Bugei.


Nonetheless, we the modern human beings rely on words and the visible form(movements). Although words are not the reality that matters, there are many clues scattered in the writings and speeches of the masters.

They are not the result we should replicate.

They are the hint to reach the invisible that sustains the form, which is the spirit and sensitivity of the masters-- their philosophy.


In "Kokoro no Katachi -- The Image of the Heart" I attempted to make the invisible visible mainly through Hatsumi Soke who embodies the essence of Bugei, along with the insights from the Japanese traditional wooden buildings and the master carpenters of the medieval period.


"It's not about the form.

It's about space," Soke often says so.

What is the true meaning behind it?

The book tackles and answers the question.




The book was first published in Japan in 2002 (and the second edition, in 2005).

Pedro Fleitas at Bujinkan UNRYU DOJO translated the book into Spanish and published it on my behalf at the time.

Afterwards the book has been translated into several languages.

Originally the book was written for Japanese readers.

It is not easy to comprehend the intuitive, sensuous words I use in the book even among Japanese.

So, I cannot even begin to imagine how it can be understood in other languages.


I have led many seminars and workshops abroad.

I have been invited to the Forsythe Company in Frankfurt, Germany (one of the top contemporary dance companies in the world) every year since 2005.

What I've been teaching there is the interactive human relationship as "the invisible."

My main teaching tool is my movement.

Concurrently I've also been researching and examining how my words could be understood in different cultures and languages.

In the midst of trial and error in verbal communication with people from other countries, I had met a wonderful translator who could convey my intention well.

Her translation seemed to be helping people to understand my method deeply.

Then I thought that they would enjoy reading "Kokoro no Katachi -- The Image of the Heart" as the origin of my philosophy.

The translator gladly took on the job.

And that is how this complete English translation came to be.


It would be my happiness if the book can give insights to those who are aiming for something higher, to those who are trying to overcome the ego, and to those who are practicing Budo sincerely.




Kokoro no katachi par Hino Akira







■March 2005, the eye-opening body' movement and the concept were brought into contemporary dancers in Germany by a Japanese Budo-ka.


Those dancers who are affiliated with the Forsythe company and William Forsythe himself. Hino had held a workshop according to the invitation of the company.


( Publication of the translation version is planned. )


Akira Hino has shown me the most significant example of human awareness that I have ever witnessed. 

He has mastered a degree of perceptual unity so profoundly fundamental, that is almost incomprehensible to our contemporary sensibilities.


Akira Hino has devoted his time, his care, and his expertise to the training of my dance ensemble. 

His influence on our work has been of inestimable value. 

The source of his work resides in the heart of the most profound aspects of the danced.


The dancers who have the opportunity to work with Hino San will be fundamentally changed. 

This work brings the body into an intimate and articulate relationship with the phenomenal world; a world that rejoices in the perfect and miraculous present. 


   (by William Forsythe)

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