NEW BOOK: Shoji Yamada. Tokyo Boogie-woogie and D.T. Suzuki. University of Michigan Press

Shoji Yamada's picture

Dear List members,

Appologies for the cross-posting. The author of Shots in the Dark: Japan, Zen, and the West (University of Chicago Press, 2009) has published a new book about D.T. Suzuki. The author depicts an unknown facet of Suzuki, a father in agony, by delving into his relationship with his son, Alan Masaru Suzuki, who wrote the lyrics to a famous popular song “Tokyo Boogie-woogie” (1947), and his influence on the counter-culture. This book is an English translation of a Japanese book published in 2015, Tokyo Bugiugi to Suzuki Daisetsu (Kyoto: Jimbun Shoin), with new findings, footnotes, and references, as well as error corrections. 

Tokyo Boogie-woogie and D.T. Suzuki 
Shoji Yamada 
The University of Michigan Press

Tokyo Boogie-woogie and D.T. Suzuki seeks to understand the tensions between competing cultures, generations, and beliefs in Japan during the years following World War II, through the lens of one of its best-known figures and one of its most forgotten. Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (D.T. Suzuki) was a prolific scholar and translator of Buddhism, Zen, and Chinese and Japanese philosophy and religious history. In the postwar years, he was a central figure in the introduction of Buddhism to the United States and other English-language countries, frequently traveling and speaking to this end. His works helped define much of these interpretations of ‘Eastern Religion’ in English, as well as shape views of modern Japanese Buddhism. 

Against this famous figure, however, is a largely unknown or forgotten shape: Suzuki Alan Masaru. Alan was D.T. Suzuki’s adopted son and, though he remained within his father’s shadow, is mostly known as the lyricist of the iconic pop hit “Tokyo Boogie-woogie.” Perhaps due to his frequent scandals and the fraught nature of the relationship, Alan remains unmentioned and unstudied by scholars and historians. Yet by exploring the nature of the relationship between these two, Shoji Yamada digs into the conflicting memories and experiences of these generations in Japan. 

Shoji Yamada is Professor in the Research Department of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken). 

Hardcover | 978-0-472-07530-0 | $70.00 U.S. 
Paper | 978-0-472-05530-2 | $24.95 U.S. 
Also available in accessible ebook formats.