Without doubt, Nicola Bertolo is not your average teacher. At age 40, she has journeyed from New Zealand, her country to origin, to Japan, to New Jersey in hope of making the world a better place through Seimei, the activation and study of vital life force.
Nicola started her relationship with Japan by being an American Field Scholar. She challenged the traditional system of education for women in Japan to pursue Judo, a male dominated activity. With a black belt accomplished, her teachers recognized her skill and guided her in her pursuit of her newest goal: the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Judo was not a big sport in New Zealand at the time, so to get to Barcelona under her own country’s flag, she would need to achieve an international ranking of 15th or better and win the New Zealand Nationals the year prior to the Olympics. In the three years prior to the ’92 Olympics, Nicola placed first each year in her country’s nationals and also achieved an international ranking of 11th in the world at the Barcelona World Championships. She had achieved her long term goal of going to the Olympics under her own country’s flag. That discipline characterizes her passion to bring Seimei to the world today, beginning with the United States.
Knowing her life was at a crossroads, she had to decide whether to continue in Judo or not. Drawing on all of her life’s experiences, especially those of her youth in New Zealand, Nicola was toying with the idea of becoming an acupuncturist. As she was deciding what course to pursue, Nicola met an old friend, Mr. Harada. After hearing of her interest in becoming an acupuncturist, he took Nicola to see a demonstration of Seimei.
Mr. Harada had been battling a severe case of Lymphoma and as a wealthy man, he had been able to travel the world for help with this illness. He had experienced many types of healers and techniques in both conventional and alternative medicines to no avail and had been living with a bleak prognosis. It was understood that he had a relatively short time left to live. It was through his travels that Mr. Harada discovered Toshihisa Hiraki, the Founder of Seimei.
In addition to discovering Seimei, Toshihisa Hiraki had created a science to teach people how to use their own awakened,vital life force, or Seimei, to relieve the pain of others, while helping themselves. “I was completely mesmerized as I watched people’s faces change as their pain disappeared,” said Nicola. “To help myself as I helped others was intriguing to me. I was hooked not long after being introduced to Seimei because I saw its potential for the world. It’s a great way to help people take responsibility for their own health and well being.”
With special permission from Hiraki himself, once again Nicola was pursuing a path in an area rarely tread by women, let alone by a foreigner. She was trained in the healing technique of Seimei. True to her style, she rapidly achieved a high level of proficiency within the teaching program and was asked to join the staff to begin teaching others how to use Seimei. Over time, because of Nicola’s ability to bridge eastern and western cultures and her rapidly growing skills in both teaching and the use of Seimei, she was raised to a Director’s level and asked by Hiraki to take on a new challenge. He asked her to bring Seimei to the USA.
Since 1995, Nicola Bertolo, the highest ranking practitioner outside of Japan, has been introducing Seimei to the west. She has worked on many thousands of people with various ailments and has trained approximately 150 practitioners in the U.S. She has established the Seimei Foundation of which she functions as president, to support the practitioners in the pursuit of their training. She has achieved her mid-range goal of finding a location that functions as the main U.S. headquarters for this foundation and is now working on having a permanent office in the Southwest region, Santa Fe, as well. One of the immediate goals of the foundation is to bring 300 people to Japan to share the cultural experience and benefits of experiencing Seimei in its home of origin.
On a more personal note, Nicola shares her life with husband Phil Bertolo and black labs, Jack and Luke, in the Liberty Corner section of Bernard’s Township. When asked what might be her own wishes for her future, she said, “For myself? I am happiest when I bring Americans to Japan and watch what happens. Some day soon, I hope to bring some of the Japanese practitioners here. The bridge must be strong enough to support travel in both directions. Our entire community would love that.”
And Mr. Harada? He is alive and well in Japan today.