Ko Ko Do Shiatsu



Michael LaMonica

The style of shiatsu taught by Hakko Denhsin Ryu Jujutsu is called Ko Ko Do Shiatsu. The translation for this Japanese term is as follows:

  • The first "Ko" means "Imperial" 
  • The second "Ko" means "Light" 
  • The last word, "Do" means "Way"            
  • The word "Shiatsu" means "Finger Pressure"

Therefore, the entire translation of KoKoDo Shiatsu is: "Imperial Light Way Finger Pressure."

Principle Effects

Koho Shiatsu, the style of shiatsu taught by Mr. Okuyama (founder of Hakko Ryu Jujutsu), produces three principle effects:

  1. Indirect reaction cure - This effect is gained by applying shiatsu to areas different from the injured part. Indirect reaction cure is accomplished through the number technique, wherein the body is divided into sets of 12 numbers. For instance, if number 8 of one leg was hurt, shiatsu would be applied to all the number 8's of the rest of the body. In Japan, Mr. Benko witnessed a discolored, badly bruised toe regain its natural color with the indirect reaction cure applied to the opposite shoulder. 
  2. Chemical reaction cure - This effect is used to combat sudden illness or injury. Shiatsu is administered around the injured part. The chemical reaction cure is quite similar to the simple rubbing of a bruised area. 
  3. Refreshing effect - This effect is used to rid a person of exhaustion. Shiatsu is applied along the lines illustrated on the chart below.

History of KoKoDo Shiatsu

The word "Shiatsu", composed of the element SHI (finger) and ATSU (pressure) means a method of treating illness with digital compression. Shiatsu is a treatment in which the thumbs are used to apply pressure to certain points in order to correct irregularities of the living body, maintain or improve health, and contribute to the cure of certain illnesses.


  1. Boko-Kei (Bladder Line)
  2. Tokumyaku-Kei (Pulse Beat Line)
  3. Tan-Kei (Gall Bladder Line)
  4. I-Kei (Stomach Line)
  5. Hai-Kei (Lung Line)
  6. Shinpo-Kei (Heart Area Line)
  7. Hi-Kei (Spleen Line)
  8. Shin-Kei (Heart Line)
  9. Ninmyaku-Kei (Vein Line)
  10. Kan-Kei (Liver Line)
  11. Jim-Kei (Kidney Lin)


There are two primary techniques used to examine a patient:

  1. Line-pulse technique- The pulse is taken with the index, middle and third fingers. The beats of each of the pulse points are measured by two-breath time. During the two breaths, each of the pulse points must register 8 to 9 beats if the patient is in good health. If the number of beats is less or more than 8 to 9, the patient is not well. A list of rules is used to identify the area of difficulty. 
  2. Observation- By observing the patient, one can gain many insights into his/her current state of health. For instance, characteristics of a person with a kidney ailment are pale face texture, dry nose, too frequent urination, low pep, and low spirit.


The pulse theory is the most widespread diagnostic technique of the acupuncturist. This method is difficult to grasp and seems very mysterious to the Occidental. By placing three fingers on the radial artery of the wrist, one can ascertain the condition of various organs of the body. Even in ancient China, the pulse method of diagnosis was not the only one. The Chinese physician employed a careful observation of the patient's countenance. Many other techniques also were employed. When two active forces within the body, yin and yang, are in disequilibria, the patient is not healthy. Treatment is required to restore equilibrium.

The Chinese observed that internal disequilibria, or sickness, manifests itself on or through the skin. Thousands of Oriental physicians, over many centuries, have studied man with unending patience before a system of points or lines, on or under the skin, could be devised and related to various organs. This system has come to be known as the "meridian system."Acupuncturists insert needles to points along the meridians and the shiatsuists press points to regain or maintain equilibrium.


Currently, KoKoDo Shiatsu and the KoKoDo Clinic in Omiya, Japan were founded by Menkyo Kaiden-Shihan San Dai Kichu- Yasuhiro Irie after years of study in Koho Shiatsu and graduating from Hanada College in Tokyo, Japan. The KoKoDo Clinic was opened in 1985. The basic course in KoKoDo Shiatsu is based on the teachings of Shodai Soke Okuyama Ryuho, who founded Koho Shiatsu and Hakko Ryu Jujutsu. Right now, the Intermediate, Advanced, and Instructors courses are the result of Irie Sensei's study and effort through the years.

At the Eighth Light Dojo in Akron, Ohio, having the basic course of KoKoDo Shiatsu completed is one of the requirements needed before a student can take their Black Belt Test. For your information, the Eighth Light Dojo hosts the Basic Shiatsu Course every other year. 


There are some key elements that one should follow in order to be a good Shiatsu practitioner...this includes your partner also!!

  • A decently lit room and a comfortable temperature environment 
  • A padded surface (mat, carpet, hospital table, etc.) and a towel to rest your head on 
  • Complete Cooperation/Communication between you and your partner (uke) 
  • Not too much pressure from your thumbs or fingers when applying Shiatsu!
  • Good, constant breathing (inhaling/exhaling)!

When you first do/learn/receive Shiatsu, you may begin to feel some discomfort, which is perfectly natural. The reason being is that the various lines on your body are not used to being stimulated in a certain way. Also, your thumbs or fingers may not be used to applying Shiatsu pressure to a person, so your thumbs and fingers first tend to get a little tired or sore, which is again natural.

Communication is very important with your partner because you need to let him/her know if the pressure that they are applying is too much. Too much pressure can actually damage a line, or you may accidentally hit another line and not even know it! Lastly, good breathing is important because when the pressure is being directly applied to the line (contraction), the person receiving should Exhale! When the person is not receiving (expansion - no finger pressure), one should Inhale!  If you follow these simple guidelines, then you and your partner should have an enjoyable Shiatsu treatment that will help both of you heal or make better your ailing lines!