What is Kobido ?

ques que le kobido.jpg
Ques que le kobido.jpg

The KOBIDO name and logo are registered trademarks in the European Union (including UK, Spain, Germany), Japan, and many other countries worldwide. KOBIDO is the name of a lineage as well as the name of our company in Japan, and is not the name of a technique, method, or treatment. KOBIDO has been a registered trademark in Japan for many years. 


Shiatsu and Anma are generic terms in Japan that everybody knows. KOBIDO, however, is a company and lineage name, in the same manner as Shiseido or Toyota. KOBIDO is one company among many in Japan that offer Japanese facial massages. The Japanese Trademark Office would never have approved the KOBIDO trademark if it were a generic term.


Unfortunately, some schools in Europe have incorrectly advertised KOBIDO as a generic term for “Japanese Facial Massage” to fraudulently mislead people for their own profit, and we have received numerous complaints from some victims who have been taken classes from such fraudulent schools. 


There are many dedicated KOBIDO apprentices in Europe who have been studying our company’s method of facial massage for years. Please be respectful and do not use the KOBIDO name unless you have undergone extensive training with KOBIDO and have received our written permission. (The usage of our registered trademark in the European Union without our permission is trademark infringement and is a felony. Unfortunately, we have recently been forced to begin taking legal action against many schools and therapists.

Ever since I began teaching Kobido in the United States back in 1990, I have been continuously grateful for all of the people from around the world who have shown an interest in, study, and enjoy Kobido. We are one of the oldest surviving lineages that still practice Japanese facial and as we have grown, to the point that we are recognized worldwide, there has been an increasing misunderstanding that Kobido literally means ‘Japanese Facial’ or ‘Japanese Facial Massage’. 


Since we have reached out to the world some mistakenly believe that the art itself is called Kobido, when it is more accurately, the name of a house (company) and lineage. It is important to know the difference and not claim that all Japanese facials are Kobido, as that would be disrespectful to other companies and lineages that still practice their own forms of Japanese facial today. 


In here I would like to define what Kobido is, Kobido’s history, as well as provide a statement of my own personal vision and beliefs of what Kobido truly means to me.

Kobido is the name of a Japanese company and lineage that has offered the Kobido style of Japanese facial for over 540 years (there are many other companies that offer their own styles of Japanese facial). Kobido has a lineage dating back to the mid 15th century when it was created by two of Japans most skilled Anma masters (see the History of Kobido) and it remains the most technically advanced forms of facial in Japan, producing one of the best treatment results available.


Literal Meaning of Kobido


The original house and lineage name of Kobido literally means ‘Fragrance Beauty House’. When Kobido decided to offer skincare and educational materials to the United States we prepared new branding for the over-seas market. We kept the same Kobido company name, with a different set of Kanji to protect our trademark. This Kanji is translated as ‘The Ancient Way of Beauty’ while the reading, pronunciation, and heritage remains the same.


Does Kobido Mean Japanese Facial Massage?


Kobido does not mean Japanese facial massage. Kobido is a company and lineage that offers Japanese facials and has set many facial treatment trends over the centuries. Kobido’s primary focus is on facial treatments, but it actually includes other treatments that are not applied to the face (eg. Hand, Foot, Gemstone, and more).


What Separates Kobido From Other Forms of Japanese Facial


In Japan there are many companies that offer a form of Japanese Facial, many of these are based on simple massage techniques with a focus on light stroking or shiatsu point stimulation. Kobido is the oldest and most technical form of facial available in Japan. It is built upon 48 Ancient Signature Techniques which focus on special percussion based treatment. These technique involves the bending and reshaping of the hands during application, some techniques may even appear to be a stroke but there are still subtle changes to the shape of the hand. One reasons why the Kobido signature techniques can be challenging to learn is that they are based off of competition level techniques from some of the greatest masters of the time. Therefore Kobido is a traditional art that takes years to master and cannot be learned in a short period.


Definition of a Kobido Apprentice


A Kobido apprentice is a practitioner or student who is directly studying from the 26th Generation Master of Kobido, Dr. Shogo Mochizuki. A Kobido practitioner is able to demonstrate a Kobido Japanese Facial, and their treatments are based upon the 48 Ancient Signature Techniques of the Kobido masters.

History of Kobido

histoire du kobido 2.jpg

Kobido was created by two masters of Anma, so in order to understand Kobido’s history we must first have an understanding of Anma’s history. Before the creation of Shiatsu and before the arrival of western massage to Japan, Anma was the only form of massage available. Anma is literally translated as ‘Press-Rub’. Pressing, kneading, and stroking are the basic principles of Anma. When Anma was created, it was not a form of massage, but rather it was the only massage. Anma was well established in ancient China when the Yellow Emperor was ruling, and is documented in the Huangdi Neijing (The Emperor’s Inner Canon, a medical doctrine that was the basis of Chinese medicine for over 2000 years). While there are disagreements of where exactly Anma originated prior to this, very old Japanese documents point back over 4000 years towards the regions of Northern India, Nepal, and Tibet. 


Anma entered Japan from China in 562 AD. The rules, education, and standards for medicine were established by the government in 701 AD and these standards included 3 levels of Anma practitioners; student, regular practitioner, and master practitioner. Anma flourished in Japan for centuries and competition between masters was fierce. One of the 7 categories of Anma techniques was the ‘Kyoku-te’ (bending hand special percussion technique) which was a versatile technique that was used in competitions between Anma masters. 


The birth of Kobido took place in 1472 when two of the top Anma masters were competing at an inn in Suruga (now known as Shizuoka, south of Mount Fuji). The competition lasted for months and involved performing facial treatments with Kyoku-te. During the competition the two masters recognized one another’s great skill and worked together to create a new house (similar to a company) called Kobido. They established 48 techniques of Kobido, distinct from Anma. Being created by two of the greatest masters at the time, these techniques were very advanced. The new Kobido clinic was located along the Tokaido road (between current day Tokyo and Osaka) and became extremely popular. 


For the next few hundred years the techniques of Kobido were passed on through new masters. During the mid Meiji era (around 1888) French styles of massage and facial began to enter Japan. The Kobido clinic adapted to meet these new structures by improving its own regimen to include more in-depth treatments with moisturizing, cleansing, masque treatments, as well as other skincare practices. 


After World War II, when Japan’s economy began to flourish during the 1950’s, Kobido’s 25th generation master relocated to Ginza, Tokyo, to establish a new and very exclusive clinic. This clinic was dedicated to the accommodation and treatment of the rich and famous. During Master Ito’s lifetime he took in only three apprentices. In 1990 one of these apprentices, Shogo Mochizuki, began to teach in the United States. In 2006, shortly before Master Ito’s passing, Dr. Shogo Mochizuki was appointed as the 26th generation master of the house and lineage of Kobido.


Kobido is an ancient art, and has remained mostly the same over the centuries. Yet, in order to remain as the most advanced facial treatment available, Kobido adapts to the world and times around it. The original techniques as set by the two masters remain, but the presentation and composition of treatments continue to be adapted and modified decade after decade.

Philosophy of Kobido

The KOBIDO Philosophy


KOBIDO's philosophy is that ultimate beauty comes from perfect balance of physical, emotional, and spiritual health. KOBIDO achieves excellence combining techniques refined over centuries with the finest available products to create superior care for the face and body. 


KOBIDO simply provides the best skin care without compromise. Our primary belief is that beauty is a reflection of one’s total health. Therefore, KOBIDO treatments are designed to optimize our health and enhance our beauty.

48 Ancient Signature Techniques of Kobido


Kobido has over one thousand techniques, some are regular facial or Anma techniques while others are Ancient Signature Techniques of Kobido which are unique to Kobido. Remembering all of these techniques can be challenging.


Both modern day Anma (Genko Anma) and Kobido are derived from Koho Anma (the ancient form of Anma). In this chapter, to create a clearer understanding, we will separate these techniques into different categories based on their application and purpose. For example, vibration techniques are  applied with rapid shaking of the hands and fingers and are generally used to reduce muscle tension as well as quickly releasing toxins from the lymphatic system.


Once you have reached the advanced levels of Kobido study, the separations will begin to disappear as the techniques will swiftly move in-between multiple categories. In order to seamlessly perform and combine these techniques, you must first have a clear understanding of each categories techniques and their purpose. 


Kobido signature techniques are very unique, even among other styles of Japanese facial. The signature techniques taught in Kobido are specific to Kobido. These techniques are considered the trademark techniques of Kobido traditional Japanese facial. If one is to consider themselves a practitioner of Kobido, they must be able to demonstrate these signature techniques. 


Kobido is the most technically advanced form of Japanese facial in Japan, if not in the world, and it can be said that Kobido has the largest number and most complex set of techniques. Mastering this complex art takes years of dedicated study, but you do not need to have reached a masters level to practice Kobido treatments. Understanding the beginning levels of Kobido (levels 1 through 3) will allow you to put together a basic Kobido treatment. Since Kobido is such a complex form of facial, even the beginning levels of treatment will allow you to give a superb level of facial when compared to other styles.


There are over one thousand techniques in Kobido, and they are divided into 48 different categories. Within each of these categories, there are many variations of these techniques depending on which part of the face that they are applied. Unlike many of the techniques in Anma massage, the 48 Ancient Signature Techniques of Kobido are very specifically made for facial treatments and are not readily usable on other parts of the body.


Kobido is the oldest form of facial in Japan. Many signature techniques are built upon kyoku te, which is considered one of the most difficult of the Anma techniques. Therefore, none of Kobido’s signature techniques are easy to learn, especially acquiring their mastery. In general, techniques that are easy to master tend to not be as effective. If your business is built upon the reputation of your skills, it’s vital that the skills you present are of the highest quality. The practitioner who is able to deliver advanced techniques at the highest level of quality will always have an advantage over competitors who focus on only the simplest of techniques.


Kobido is its own unique art form, based upon but long separated from Anma. These modern Anma categorizations may help you to differentiate the techniques when first learning, but when you reach the advanced levels you may be required to learn the traditional names of each Kobido technique.


Kobido signature techniques are not easy to master. It takes a great deal of time and effort, but like any traditional art, the end results of training and practice are what set it aside from everything else. These signature techniques are what makes Kobido, Kobido.



48 Ancient Signature Techniques of KOBIDO


Because there are so many Kobido signature techniques they are divided into 48 categories. Each of the categories contains many variations with similar characteristics. These variations are meant to accommodate different locations and conditions on the face.

The 26th Generation Master of the House and Lineage of Kobido

Outside Front CMYK.jpg

Doctor Shogo Mochizuki is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced practitioners of Japanese massage and bodywork in the world. He began his study at the age of four with his grandmother. The Mochizuki family has been practicing East Asian medicine in Japan for over 250 years. He is also the author of 48 titles including: “Anma: The Art of Japanese Massage” and “Zoku Shin Do: Japanese Foot Massage”.

In 1977, he began studying KOBIDO under the 25th generation master Ito.

In 2005 Master Ito after serving as head of the KOBIDO lineage for over 50 years appointed Shogo Mochizuki as his successor and 26th Master of the KOBIDO art form.

Dr. Shogo Mochizuki has been in the KOBIDO organization since 1977, and he is one of the three KOBIDO appointed instructors under Master Ito.