Walking with the Ichiban People

*Ichiban means "striving for excellence" in Japanese

Twelve years ago, I embraced Islam in the Bay Area before understanding what it really meant. Soon after, I decided to move to a Muslim-majority country and ended up in Egypt. I found myself trying to embrace my identity as Japanese, but never had the courage, nor skills to bring together my identity as a Japanese-Muslim. This desire is what gravitated me towards Ta’leef Collective.

My earliest exposure to Ta'leef took place in the heart of Japan, Kyoto. During this time, I learned about Japanese incense with Usama Canon Sensei and Micah Anderson Sensei. (Sensei means teacher in the Japanese). Their respect and love for the Japanese people, culture, and continuously immersing themselves into the realm of mastery, inspired me to improve my creative, social, and organizational skills. I remember the scented note of elegance filling my heart the first time I walked into the clean and orderly hallway of Ta’leef, while being greeted by tremendously generous and warm welcoming people. Today looking back, I am sure that I have fallen in love with Ta’leef, that embraces both Japan and America. Before leaving Kyoto, Usama Sensei told me that all the expression within us, is blessed by God. That message would define my goal to pursue creative expression and my own personal development. Embarking on this journey, I would like to benefit from the Ta’leef Team by pursuing excellence. I’ve been transformed into the person I am now as a result of my training and work with Ta'leef. That transformation is beyond measure, and I would like to follow the footsteps of those who have come before me, and serve Ta’leef the way they have served me. I have a dream, that one day, I can help realize Islam in Japan, if God wills and convey the messages that are necessary to humanize the life of Muslims around the world.


Yuki Yamasaki


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *