Michael's Dispatches

Kinjiro — Peasant Sage of Japan


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Kinjiro Ninomiya is a virtuous icon of Japan for his lifelong study and teachings on agricultural and other vital topics. A story told to me by a Japanese friend includes that when Kinjiro was young and living with his uncle, Kinjiro would study at night. This burned oil, which his uncle said was too precious for study. And so Kinjiro planted to produce his own oil to study by.

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Konjiro’s oil story — parable — reminds me of Gobar Gas dispatches I wrote about from Nepal and other countries. Children need light to study by, and freedom from collecting wood so they have time to study. Domestic biogas is fantastic for the environment, farming, women and children. I got the idea of writing about Gobar Gas from a Gurkha Soldier when we were in combat tracking course on Borneo in Brunei.

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The Gurkha Soldier told me every day how important this Gobar Gas is for women and children. He said I must help get it into Afghanistan. He already had fought in Afghanistan and said the families need Gobar Gas to improve their lives.

And it worked. Thanks to the Gurkha Soldier encouraging me daily I must do this, I spent about $30,000 on research in many countries and wrote these two dispatches. General Petraeus adopted Gobar Gas for Afghanistan after reading my dispatches. Petraeus told this to me personally in Kabul. Thanks to Gurkha persistence and reader support for these two dispatches:

See Gobar Gas I and II:



The Gurkha constantly encouraging me to tell about Gobar Gas sounds like a Kinjiro story come to real life.

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And thanks to Japanese donors who put up a statue of Kinjiro in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, I have learned about Kinjiro’s life and now will study more:


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