Thanks to comedian Takashi Okamura's popular show "99 Size" and a nationwide broadcast about her Restorative Yoga program on Japanese TV, Leza Lowitz, 50, laughingly admits she used up her 15 minutes of "gaijin fame" nearly 10 years ago when she helped usher in the yoga boom. Laughter aside, it's not fame that fuels Lowitz, and it's not even yoga; it's what she calls "stewardship" — looking back at history to help guide the future.

Citing her own historical inspirations, from literature to Chief Seattle to a Buddhist world view, Lowitz explains: "There are rarely straight paths in life, but I try to take each unexpected turn as a teaching: What do I need to be learning here, why is this happening and what is the lesson? As 'parents' to the next generation, we must think about our real world, about the history on all sides, and try to find a way to inspire. We are only borrowing the Earth from the future, and if poetry or storytelling or creating a space for transformational work like yoga can convey these teachings, that's a very powerful way to create meaning."

Lowitz says she has always found meaning in "the voices that history silences" in one way or another. As a writer, editor and co-translator, Lowitz has published a number of books introducing various aspects of Japan to an English-speaking audience. Lowitz has shared the worlds of kamikaze pilots and their last letters to their families, published lesbian writings by contemporary Japanese poets, specifically sought out Ainu writers, revealed the life in prison camps of World War II internee Itaru Ina and journeyed into the mind of Japan's foremost modernist poet, Nobuo Ayukawa.