Dr. Makoto Shichida Part 2

Dr. Makoto Shichida, Part 2

Dr. Shichida postulated that the two distinct types of brain functions (right and left) result in two different types of memory and mental operations.

Left Side of Brain

The left side he believed operated at the beta wave frequency (14 to 30 hertz cycles per second).  This brain wave pattern is most frequent used by adults in our awake states.

Right Side of Brain

The right side of the brain operates on the alpha wave cycle (8 to 13 hertz cycles per second).  This pattern is more common in young children.  The right brain wave pattern – alpha wave cycle – learns mostly with images.  This wave frequency is most often associated in adults with a relaxed alert state of mind such as in meditation, just after awakening, or while relaxing to music.  Chinese chi-gong masters have been scientifically shown to be working with alpha waves and the right side of the brain is “wired” to learn from alpha waves per Dr. Shichida.

Thus, it is not the activity that is either right or left brain, but the frequency of the brain that you use to do the activity. So, for example music could be listened to with the left brain or with the right brain with a different result.  The left brain might analyze the music and the right brain experience the music.  Meditation, deep breathing and music are tools to shift the wave patterns from beta to alpha.  These two brain wave states are our waking states. Dr. Shichida believed that children were in the alpha wave state up to the age of three. After this, the left side of the brain begins to dominate in most people.

Key to Dr. Shichida’s theory is the notion that our subconscious mind receives information through our skin as well as the five senses in the alpha wave length state.  In order to send and receive images, the mind must be operating at the Alpha wave cycles.  Telepathy is possible when the vibrational frequencies travelling through the body are changed into mental images at the alpha wave state.  (Note:  Dr. Shichida uses the term “right brain” to refer to alpha wave learning and “left brain” to refer to beta wave learning.  It may be that there are wave patterns of learning not limited to a particular brain hemisphere and that calling certain types of learning right or left brain as he does is misleading.  Therefore, it may be more accurate to discuss his success as attributable to using certain brain wave frequencies of learning using various parts of the whole brain.  Future neurological studies might be able to sort this out.)

Materials to develop right brain functions

The method used to develop right brain function is to input information at a high speed to the right brain (Science has yet to tell us exactly where this information is stored in the brain). This is accomplished with speed-reading, speed-watching and speed- hearing.  At the Shichida Child Academies in Japan, mothers attend classes 1 time per week with their child and are taught to use flash cards in a rapid-fire manner flashing visual information at less than 1 second per card and by repetitious playing of audiotapes (speed-hearing).  “A high speed massive input (without comprehension or conscious memorization) is the key to activate the right brain” [1]The content of the visual and auditory input is carefully orchestrated to achieve specific skill levels of right-brain functioning but not to teach specific information.  Once the pathways (mylenated synapses) are established for right-brain functioning, a child can learn anything and learning becomes automatic.

Using these methods he had some success with children with brain disorders and Down’s syndrome children. Flash cards music, games and physical exercises were all part of a holistic program he developed into kits for various ages.  Storyboarding cards, vocabulary cards, memory games and guessing games are many of the activities that parents use with their children.   The specific games and methods he used to develop right-brain functions are proprietary intellectual property shared only at his academies, but a glance through his catalog gives you the idea there is plenty of variety.

1. Shichida, M. (1996). Right Brain Education – The education of mind and affection. Japan: Shichida Child Education, p. 6

Dr. Celeste Miller


All known English references for Dr. Shichida

Shichida, M. ( 1993a    ) Right brain education in infancy theory and practice.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1993b)  Babies are geniuses.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1994).  Science of intelligence and creativity.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1996). Right Brain Education – The education of mind and affection.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1997).  Workshop given in Minneapolis, MN, November

Shichida, M. (1998).  Workshop given in Livingston, MT, June







Conscious and Unconscious Learning Styles


Conscious and Unconscious Learning Styles

Some learning is conscious. This type we are most familiar with.  Other learning is unconscious and not frontline news. The educational method called right brain education utilizes both the unconscious and conscious brain. This method utilizes rapid stimulation to the brain which results in a different kind of learning than the traditional slower approach to concept knowledge.

With this approach, input to the brain goes into the unconscious mind more so than the conscious mind and can then be recalled at will. These specific methods of teaching that train memory and concentration through rapid learning appeal to a particular kind of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learner. Perhaps unconscious learning explains the sudden flashes of brilliance of children who demonstrate abilities beyond their years.

Imaging is Key

An aspect to this approach to learning that is perhaps the most powerful is the technique of teaching children to image.  The ability to image can be enhanced and opens cognition to unconscious memory building.  The discovery of this is usually attributed to Glenn Doman in the 60’s and then further refined by Makoto Shichida, (both now deceased) and others, including Pamela Hickein.  These individuals discovered that the brain has the ability to fast map thousands of bits of information in a coherent way that allows for retrieval and increased memory power.  Apparently dormant senses in the brain are utilized in the approach to learning often called right brain education. Marrying both hemispheres of the brain in a harmonious working relationship results in an incredible acceleration of learning.

 What Do Brain Studies Say?

When Dr. Shichida, a Japanese pioneer in right brain education, shared his theory of right brain education with the U.S. in the 1990’s, brain research on infants was still in its infancy.  He had no way of really knowing how to explain the results he was getting and so his scientific explanations were crude and premature. Today, still, there aren’t any studies on the subconscious/unconscious mind of infants to my knowledge that would explain how babies can do complicated math problems and develop these other latent cognitive functions that Dr. Shichida was discovering.

Publications like Scientist in the Crib and The Philosophical Baby share some of the more recent brain studies being done with infants in the U.S. We are taught that the brain, like every other organ in the human body, develops and grows at an astounding rate from conception. There are definite sequences in brain development that follow one upon another. If you spend time with babies you are acutely aware of the passing stages of learning and development.  These two books outline much of that growth in fascinating detail, but they can’t explain the development of the image brain because the studies have not been done on infants.

The closest I can come to mention of the potential of this type of ability is a quote inside Dr. Kotulak’s book “Inside the Brain” published in 1996 where he quotes Dr. Bruce Perry of Baylor College of Medicine saying “In the same way that we evolved a certain cognitive abstract capacity as a function of our capacity to read, there is every reason to believe that there are other untapped abstract capabilities of our brains that are not being developed by our traditional educational system.”[1]

“Follow the child” Has a New Direction

Maria Montessori’s famous mantra was to “follow the child”, meaning that children would reveal their true selves if adults were observant. It is time for researchers, those in the field of early childhood and for parents to suspend judgment and investigate and then apply these accelerated learning techniques that will truly revolutionize education as we now know and practice it today.  This would give children a real head start well before they begin formal schooling.

.(Excerpted from Brain Dance: An Accelerated Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers, by Celeste A. Miller, Ph.D.)


[1] Kotulak, R. (1996). Inside the brain.  KS: Kansas City,  McMeel Publishing

Lotus flower, Taipei Flower Expo, Taiwan, photographed by Tom Miller

Lotus flower, Taipei Flower Expo, photographed by Tom Miller