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Yuko Sumida-Jackson Guest, 57: Forge Your Path

Her dream of touring with Michael Jackson spectacularly ended, she tragically lost her husband, then a skincare incident left her devastated; she not only recovered, but is now stronger and happier than ever. Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest's career reflects her endless curiosity and drive. Embracing change, moving through grief, and staying true to herself...

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest is a mover and a shaker. Whether reflecting on her dance career, the tragic loss of her husband, or overcoming health challenges, life’s bumpy ride has only strengthened her. 

As a dancer, she collaborated with the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince & Paula Abdul. 

Yuko worked with Michael Jackson in the 1990s, starring in the “Black or White” video and performing on many award shows, such as the AMAs and Soul Train Award. She traveled the world as MJ’s first female dancer on the Dangerous World Tour. Then that blew up, and it was time to move on to something new. 

Her resilience and innovative spirit led to a successful fashion brand, publishing six books, and releasing a best-selling DVD. In 2009, she opened an Awakening/Yoga/Dance studio in Tokyo. In 2018, she established Cellulam, a NANO technology device and treatment inspired by her healing journey from a medical mishap on her skin.

Newsweek Japan recognized her as one of 100 respected Japanese individuals. Let’s dive deep into her awesome career and see what she’s up to now.

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest

How old are you?
I’ll be 58 this summer.

You lost your first husband. How did you get through that?
In 2000, my world turned upside down when George passed away from a stroke at 42; I was left with a young daughter and overwhelming responsibilities. Despite the darkness, I focused on what would make George proud and took each day as it came. I pondered the lessons the universe wanted me to learn while caring for my daughter. Eventually, I found my path by pursuing my passion for wellness and beauty. Through school, I gained the skills to create my healing method, Awakening, which helped me overcome injuries from dancing. This journey of self-discovery and resilience led me to a new chapter.

“This journey of self-discovery and resilience led me to a new chapter”

Are you married now?
I just got married. I was a widow for 23 years. My husband’s name is Chaz Guest, an American contemporary painter and sculptor.

How did you meet?
Last March, two days after suffering a kidney stone, a friend invited me to lunch at the Blue Note in Tokyo. Despite the pouring rain, I went and met Chaz. His work and charismatic personality captivated me, which made for a memorable first meeting. We connected instantly and ended up seeing each other again a few days later. I’ve held onto our special bond, viewing it as the ultimate love story. I’m living another life with so much love.

We’re so happy for you.
Thank you.

Do you have children?
Yes, one precious daughter from my previous marriage. She’s 25.

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest

Tell us about some of the transitions in your life. What is in your make-up that makes you effortlessly transition between these roles?
I found myself drawn to dancing, but delving deeper made me realize the need to explore my energy and invest time in understanding it better. Reflecting, I know that my decision to stop dancing coincided with my mother’s passing. This experience made me step away from formal dance education and seek my path. Sometimes, negative experiences can push us to discover our true desires.

“Sometimes, negative experiences can push us to discover our true desires”

When my husband passed away, everything changed. My strength kept me going because I had a baby. I couldn’t just leave this life. 

I knew that using your gifts to help others brings happiness and gratitude. My career is based on that, whether it’s dance, exercise, design, or anything else. I once had a huge dream about a technology that could revolutionize treatment, but fear and lack of experience held me back. Despite the obstacles, I refused to let fear control me and kept moving forward. I approach life by embracing change and challenges while staying true to myself.

That’s beautiful. 
Thank you.

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest

Do you live in Tokyo?
I live here and in LA. I’ve been bicoastal for about ten years, which is good because Chaz is based in LA but comes here often.

Were you born and raised in Japan?
I was born and raised in Southern Japan and moved to Tokyo at 18.

Can you share the moment you first discovered your passion for dance?
I was always running around. My mother found a classic ballet class, but they also taught jazz and modern. I started going when I was 11.

On stage, I saw a completely different world and another state. I only saw myself, the energy, and the space. So, my dance became my vocabulary because I was shy. It was better for me to express myself with my body.

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest

“Dance became my vocabulary because I was shy”

Growing up in Japan, what were your early influences?
I didn’t grow up with MTV, but it influenced me. Watching movies like Flashdance and Fame inspired me. I saw a documentary about three people wanting to be Broadway stars, and their dedication motivated me. I tried many different styles of dance, but then my mom passed away when I was 15, so I quit dance school. I was just trying to find the type of dance or what kind of world I wanted to be in.

When I visited my dream studio in Tokyo, the dancers chatted about New York. It felt surreal hearing about a place so far away. But the talk sparked my curiosity. With some part-time work and dance gigs, I ended up in New York thanks to a lucky break from a Japanese agent.

What year did you move to New York?
1985, or 1986. Those were crazy times and a culture shock. But I felt comfortable because you could be yourself. You didn’t have to say or look like someone else, which made me feel good. I was just taking classes, and I only ate scones and bananas. Then I’d go to the dance studio, take some lessons, and return. That was my life until I moved back to Japan.

And then?
I realized I needed to improve my speaking skills and train more, so I joined a theatrical company. I toured, earned money, and took classes for a year. However, I felt like I needed more. Encouraged by teachers and friends, I moved to LA.

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest

“I worked with Michael Jackson on the ‘Black or White’ video; six months later, I was rehearsing for the Academy Awards”

How did LA change your life?
In 1991, I worked with Michael Jackson on the “Black or White” video; six months later, I was rehearsing for the Academy Awards. When my agent mentioned Michael was looking for a solo girl for his world tour, I knew it had to be me.

They took a video and said, “Michael will watch everyone and decide.” Later, my agent said, “Yuko, you got it.” I was thrilled.

Working with Michael was unlike anything else. He was simply on another level. Rehearsals were impressive, but on stage, he transcended human capabilities. The energy exchange with the audience was unparalleled. Despite the massive crowds, the connection and love exchanged stood out. Being part of his creative process was a privilege, reinforcing the power of pure love over ego. 

That’s amazing.
The Dangerous tour started high, but then trouble arose. The cancellations, the controversies, it all unfolded before us. It ended abruptly, leaving us stranded in hotel rooms. Despite the ups and downs, the world tour was my dream.

“The technology I discovered helps boost cell energy, enabling cellular-level healing”

You had a skin injury to your face in 2013.
At 46, I began Botox to combat aging without going under the knife. Unfortunately, a sunspot removal left my entire face feeling like it was on fire and badly burned. Feeling down, I discovered nano current technology that works with your body’s frequency without the shocking effects. This innovative approach improved my scars, leading me to pursue it further. I spent 5 years perfecting my device incorporating this technology. Today, my device and services are available in over 110 salons and clinics across five countries.

Talk about integrating mind, body, and spirit.
My goal is to achieve balance in everything. It’s like caring for a car — you must use good fuel and change the oil regularly to prevent future problems. The technology I discovered helps boost cell energy, enabling cellular-level healing. This approach resonated with me because our bodies are made up of cells. It just made sense.

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest

Do you have a beauty routine?
I use my device when possible. That’s it. I don’t use cosmetic things much. I like simple.

In 2005, you moved back to Japan. What influenced that?
Raising a bi-racial child as a single mother in a foreign country made me feel uncertain but, back in Japan, I could provide her with a solid cultural foundation. The support and recognition I received here were unexpectedly warm, partly due to the universal love for Michael Jackson. Even though I sometimes felt overshadowed by his fame, I realized my return had a purpose: to show that you can forge your path and break free from societal expectations. I wanted to inspire others.

Did you have a fitness lifestyle brand?
When I got back, this company wanted me to help with designs. I dabbled for a bit because I couldn’t find what I wanted in stores. But then, my partner and I split, so I had to put the brand on hold. I’m not a designer, but I just wanted to create things I liked. I prefer simple, natural fabrics in my clothes. My daughter suggested I bring back my playful side from my youth, so now I enjoy experimenting with different colors and designs for a more vibrant look, but I still like black and white.

What is the Japanese attitude toward aging?
I don’t see much difference between people who opt for surgeries like in the States and those who prefer a holistic, natural approach to aging. Due to my naturally dark skin, I enjoy soaking up the sun, even in Tokyo. It’s interesting to note how, in Japan, people cover up completely to avoid the sun, whereas I believe in the nutritional benefits of sunlight.

“My experiences taught me the value of understanding our anatomy and the impact of energy and space”

Yuko Sumida Jackson Guest

What are the core principles of Awakening?
We often forget the importance of our body’s harmony as we age. Take dancers. They glide effortlessly yet risk injury if they neglect their knees, hips, and shoulders. My experiences taught me the value of understanding our anatomy and the impact of energy and space. Through dance, I discovered the power of gravity in improving our balance and posture. In my workouts, I emphasize returning to basics, enhancing spatial awareness, and tension-free posture. It’s about mastering the fundamentals to refine our movements.

Take us through your day.
About a year ago, I underwent a double hip joint replacement after years of struggling with pain and limited mobility. Despite being advised to have surgery a decade earlier, I managed to delay it by staying active. However, a dance injury at my dad’s birthday party two years ago forced me to undergo surgery. While the recovery was tough, I now feel much better and am back preparing for an upcoming workshop on Awakening. Although I’m not big on routines, I do light exercises like pushups, sit-ups, and stretching every morning. Every day is different.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a nice day in Tokyo?
I love driving and finding Japanese temples. I’m not religious, but I go there and just sit.

What kind of music are you into?
I’m into jazz from the ’70s and ’80s — but not so much into new pop. I curate my library with ’80s and ’90s tunes. Thanks to my husband, Coltrane, Miles, and Marcus Miller are my go-to’s.

How about diet?
In my youth, I was strict, trying out macrobiotics and veganism. Rather than strict rules, I now focus on food quality and where it comes from. My general principle is to avoid combining carbs with protein. I pair protein with veggies and maintain healthier eating habits without being too rigid. It’s all about balance.

So what’s next?
I plan to go global and visit Dubai and France this year. Japan also shows great interest. While I envision expansion, my goal is to grow small. I desire a world where creative individuals can be independent and express their ideas freely. I’m excited to announce my first conference in May. I invite all independent thinkers to join me. Cellulam and Awakening have been instrumental in helping women achieve independence and the confidence to create a better life. I’m just so grateful.

What are three non-negotiables?
Travel/exploring, quiet time, and sunshine.

Connect with Yuko:
Instagram
Cellulam Beauty Systems

See medical disclaimer below. ↓

4 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve always been told that I had beautiful skin, but I’m curious to know what I would really experience with your products and regime on a daily basis. I’m willing to try and experience a healthier more invigorating approach to my skin!!

  2. Reading your history and transformation in every aspect is astounding. You’re very inspirational and have enlightening knowledge of how to persevere no matter what. I’m so proud to have you for my sister in law. They say money is power but I believe that knowledge is power. You have to have knowledge in order to know how to get the money. Keep up the EXCELLENT work Mrs Yuko J Guest

  3. I have very very sensitive skin. As I approach my 69th year I’m interested in complying with a regimen that will not only tighten my skin but also energize my facial skin from sagging and wrinkles.

  4. At 61, I like you like to keep things simple. Good skin care and botox no fillers. I’ve let my hair go long and natural and have fun colorful clothing along with my blacks and neutrals.
    I’m changing my career as a clinical social worker in private practice to a certified ADHD life coach, which will allow me to live anywhere in the world. I love to work with people especially the neuodynamic population that I and that I am a part of. It was wonderful, reading your article and the life you’ve archived for yourself. Best wishes to you and your family. Keep up the awesome work!!

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

AUTHOR

Sheri Radel Rosenberghttps://unapologeticstyle.substack.com/
Sheri Radel Rosenberg is a Philly-born, Brooklyn-based writer who explores style, beauty, culture, and midlife with wit, warmth, and wisdom. Her story includes successful forays in the worlds of trend forecasting, ad agency photo production, ghostwriting, and strategic messaging development for fashion and beauty brands - all while amassing a slip dress collection that would make any Gen Xer proud. At the dawn of social media, Sheri launched her personal blog–which combines her passion for writing with her style obsession–and she hasn’t looked back. As Style Editor for the AGEIST, she’s inspired by the styles of the 70s and the 90s, along with all the beautiful people she sees daily in NYC.

 

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