|Born and raised in Nagoya, in a family of grain dealers, Nobuyuki Kojima has worked with rice all his life. As a young man, one of his family responsibilities was milling the bran from brown rice to make white rice. He always looked forward to running his father's business.
However, at the age of twenty-three, Kojima was afflicted with a debilitating kidney disease that left him bedridden for six months. Totally discouraged with modern medicine and desperate to find some relief, he discharged himself from the hospital and immediately started a twenty-day fast. Using various traditional healing practices, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and yoga, Kojima slowly began to regain his strength.
Ironically, one day after Kojima returned to his rice-milling responsibilities, a customer happened to ask for whole grain brown rice. Kojima was shocked. Over the past one hundred years, highly polished rice had become a staple throughout Japan. "What are you going to do with brown rice?" asked Kojima. "I am going to eat it for my health," the elderly man laughingly replied. The customer went on to tell Kojima that brown rice had been recommended to him for his heart condition by a macrobiotic teacher. Moreover, he reported that eating brown rice every day had greatly improved his general health. That conversation, which took place over twenty-five years ago, literally transformed Kojima's life. Not only did he begin eating brown rice, which greatly improved his health, but in 1974 he started making brown rice mochi. At that time, making mochi from anything other than pure-white sweet rice was almost unheard of.