The Fate of the Sanpaku



Sanpaku is a Japanese term that literally means “three areas empty”.


It refers to two sides of the eye that show white (“empty”) plus the lower area, as follows:


A person manifesting this appearance was considered chronically fatigued, headed for serious illness, and accident-prone.


The normal, balanced appearance is as follows:




George Ohsawa, the founder of Macrobiotics, wrote an article which appeared in the New York Times many years ago titled The Fate of the Sanpaku.  In the article he named a number of famous people, including US President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, as well as Marilyn Monroe and other Hollywood celebrities.


Mr. Ohsawa predicted tragic outcomes for all of these people based on photographs he had observed in the news media.


All of the people he mentioned exhibited the condition called Sanpaku.


When his “predictions” came true it created a sensation.  Of course, Mr. Ohsawa was more concerned about getting the word out about the value of Macrobiotics, but the majority of people simply considered him a psychic.


The real intent of his message was to alert people to the following facts:


1)   Tragedies are understandable and preventable.

2)   They occur to people whose systems are unbalanced.

3)   They can be avoided by changing one’s condition of health.

4)   Health can be changed by studying and practicing Macrobiotics.


In the West, the condition of Sanpaku is mostly associated with fatigue.  This is partially correct.  After staying up late to study, late-night partying, excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs, etc. people often become temporarily Sanpaku.  This is easily noticeable by staring directly into the mirror upon arising.


When the human system becomes chronically fatigued, Sanpaku will exhibit continually.  Co-ordination, reflexes become slowed.  The immune system is stressed.  If this condition is not corrected, the Sanpaku individual will experience accidents, sickness or degenerative conditions that can lead to death or catastrophe.


In John F. Kennedy’s case, he struggled with Parkinson’s and pain associated with back problems.  This would be enough to account for being Sanpaku, since suffering with these conditions would wear down even the strongest person.


However, the simple diagnostic of Sanpaku can help anyone quickly and accurately assess his or her condition.  One simply notes one’s appearance in the bathroom mirror upon arising and then later on during the day if possible.


It is not uncommon to observe Sanpaku upon arising, and then notice that it disappears during the day.  That is because many people are not able to get enough sleep to awake fully rested.  A number of articles have appeared in the last few years regarding the fact that many people today are not getting enough sleep due to the hectic pace of modern life.  This in itself is enough to cause the condition of Sanpaku; however, when chronic lack of sleep or sound sleep is coupled with consumption of stimulants, alcohol, drugs and a diet high in refined sugar, refined salt, refined grain products, meat and fatty foods, chemical additives and chemically-extracted oils, etc. it is easy to understand how people are putting themselves at risk of developing serious illness or suffering from tragic accidents, as well as putting others at risk.


Samauri warriors of ancient Japan knew a person who was Sanpaku could more easily be defeated in battle because of his slower reflexes.  That is why they observed their opponent carefully before engaging him in battle.


If you can see 3 sides of your eyes showing white when you look straight into the mirror, you need to take steps to improve your health, especially if the state of Sanpaku shows all day every day. 


Even if Sanpaku shows only upon arising, there is still cause for concern.  We should awake refreshed and full of energy, ready to tackle the tasks of daily life with vigor and enthusiasm.  Anything less is already a warning sign that you are not “up to speed” – that your system has slowed down and needs to be revitalized.  Relying on coffee or other stimulants to perk up the system is ultimately self-defeating, since this approach is like whipping the body to keep going.  Eventually collapse of various body systems, especially the adrenal glands and kidneys can be the result. 


Unfortunately, too many people in modern society rely on meat, sugar, coffee and cigarettes to keep themselves going.  Little do they realize the tragic consequences that await them for practicing such habits....


When one’s system is fatigued, it is difficult to think clearly, quickly and accurately.  Most everyone who has not allowed themselves the time to get enough quality sleep knows this. Trying to operate a car or other vehicle when chronically fatigued can have tragic consequences, to oneself, passengers and others who become involved in an accident. 


Tiring one’s system with unwholesome food and other substances can have the same effect of slowing reaction time, alertness and ability to react with good judgment.

We need to study Macrobiotics not just to keep ourselves healthy, but to insure we can survive the jungle that life in modern society has become.


--Fred Pulver