Four years ago, kinbaku grandmaster Yukimura Haruki sensei, who is widely regarded as the progenitor of the caressing style of kinbaku, passed away. During his lifetime sensei had changed the lives of numerous rope enthusiasts around the world, and has definitely influenced my own life to no small extent as well.
A few notes as per the last days of sensei’s life. In mid-February (2016) I had contacted sensei to book lessons for Maneemon who has had already tuition on previous visits to Japan. We agreed on a date, but sensei later called to explain that he would be hospitalized unexpectedly. Sensei would soon be released and we agreed on another date. Again sensei called. Sensei’s condition had worsened, and he had to enter the hospital again – “for a few days” he thought, and offered to book a fresh block of lessons right then on the phone. My reply was to wait until sensei had been released, and I wished him good health and a good stay. This was March 2, 2016. And this was the last time we talked with each other.
In those days not only Maneemon was staying and living at the Osada-ryu HQ dojo, but also Mistress Alex (Harumitsu / 春蜜), an advanced student of Osada-ryu, together with her Melbourne model Jenny. To cheer sensei up we wrote a “Get Well” note (see photo), and sent Maneemon to visit sensei in hospital to offer our best wishes for his health and at the same time deliver a healthy supply of positive energy.
Sensei’s hospital was in walking distance from his Ebisu residence. When Maneemon paid a visit to the hospital on March 4, he found out that sensei had passed away the day before. Our get well wishes arrived one day late.
Just a year earlier, while already very ill, sensei had directed and produced my 500th video, where he had also made a cameo appearance. That video, featuring Iroha Shizuki, is now out of stock. But another video that sensei produced with me can still be found at the Kinbaku Shop. Also at the shop is Yukimura sensei’s final DVD, an excellent tutorial and a master class in the caressing style of Yukimura-ryu.
Sensei had been a heavy smoker. At times, while teaching, he would cough heavily. On video sets, he would sometimes collapse, and the shoot would have to be ended.