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Tokyo Boogie-woogie and D.T. Suzuki
by Shoji Yamada
University of Michigan Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-472-22005-2 | Cloth: 978-0-472-07530-0 | Paper: 978-0-472-05530-2
Library of Congress Classification BQ988.U887Y3613 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 294.39270922

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.

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