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Yasumasa Amada of the Takakusayamakai, the High Grass Mt. Group. [See more about them in intro to the long interview with them. He gave me the papers and talked about them in April of 1994.--DC]

Amada - I came to Rinsoin very often while still at college and also after graduating from it. I've brought papers I wrote in those days.

Letter from Suzuki-roshi to Amada on 1/29/24 (1949):

(gobusata - I haven't been in touch for a long time.

The other day (nani yorimo - emphasis to next word) thank you for the book you sent. These days I have been out here and there and I am sorry I couldn't write a letter of thanks to you earlier.

Yano-san[?] came to the village and we reminisced about the past and also talked about what's happening now.

I've heard that you have embarked on a publishing business. (Kore kara iro iro to o sewa ni naru koto o i[?] to omoimasu ga - From now on please be good to me) In the future I may need your cooperation in this regard.

Keep in touch.

Please come and visit us and see how this area has changed and (omoidashite) remember nature, the mountains and scenery.

([?] wa ore made)(thank you) Sincerely,

Suzuki Shunryu

No. 1 - "Kokoro no furusato" (Home in Heart/Home for Hearts). Shigeo Kozuki[?], a member of our group, wrote this for Nihonkeizai Shinbun. It appeared in the paper on January 31 in Showa 49. It says Shunryu was a person of action, not a preacher, and he was the first Japanese Buddhist priest to teach Buddhism in the States. Only first-class leaders of Japan wrote articles for this column "Kokoro no furusato." Kozuki was the director of the insatsu (printing?) bureau of the Ministry of Finance then. He wrote about Shunryu at his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write an article in that column.

[?Kozuki - still alive? - Get hold of him]

"Kokoro no Furusato", An article by Kozuki, published in Nikkei on 1/30/'74. (Tokyo's largest financial newspaper)

- There was a person in San Francisco who opened the minds of Americans (established kokoro no furusato - home town of the heart - poetic feeling - of America).

- Suzuki Shunryu-shi, who was a hojo of Rinsoin in Takakusayama, Sakamoto, Yaizu. He was sent by Sotoshu to be a jushoku of Sokoji in SF in S.13[?24], but he wasn't a kind of person who could feel satisfied just to be a care taker for the Japanese danka there. He didn't preach Buddhism to the whites, but simply sat in silence and acted in a natural way that signified the importance of everyday life, which seemed to have attracted the young Americans. He opened a Zen Center in San Francisco and Tassajara.

- "Our Hojo-san" was this kind of active person.

- His wife, Mitsu-san said that he passed away quietly, and that as he wanted to take a bath a few hours before he died, she washed him. Now those Zen centers have been taken care of by the Americans and Mitsu-san is still there mending their koromo.

Hojo-san would be happy about it.

- Our "Kokoro no Furusato" is in fact Rinsoin in Takakusayama which we used to walk up to 30 years ago. Camellias are beautiful there. We used to hear young Hojo-san's enchanting sound of Dokyou[?], and also do zazen. He had never preached us, but he was a person of action and living.

- "We" here means several students of Shizuoka High School at the time of Showa 18 and 19 with some graduates as well as some from Hitotsubashi Yoka [?].

- At the time of confusion during the war, the silvery gleaming light emitted from Hojo-san caught the heart of the young. Suetsune who told me, "Don't you want to do geshuku[?] in a temple?" is my best gakuyuu (fellow student) and Dharma brother.

- Suzuki-roshi’s [does he call him that?] eldest son is now the hojo of Rinsoin. My two sons attended zazen at my "Kokoro no Furusato" last summer.


No.2 - This is a letter I wrote after hearing from Okusan about Shunryu-san's death in Showa 46. I sent out a photocopy of her letter with this as its cover letter to other members of the group.

What I'd like to say to Shunryu-san in a word is: you had compassion. You taught me about human nature.

- To me he was a teacher, a big brother, and a friend. He taught me Zen through Kishizawa roshi. He asked Kishizawa roshi to teach us Zen. In retrospect he never said a word about Buddhism or Zen to me. He would recite sutras every morning, but he never preached.

The letter from Amada to the members of Takakusayama Group: 12/[?]S.46 (the guys who lived and studied with SR during the war)

(Zenryaku - before abbreviation - skipping the formalities - with a very polite feeling) Please excuse me if I neglect formalities,

Respectfully and humbly (tsutsushinde), I am herewith informing you the death of Suzuki Shunryu shi.

- The Omimai (gifts to a sick person) that we, Takakusayama Group sent to SR [exactly what?] with Yasuko-san and Hoitsu-san who left for the States got there on time. The copy of the letter of thank you from Okusan that was received on 3/12 is attached here [?where is the letter from Okusan].

- In her letter she wrote that Hojo-san expressed his appreciation of our long relationship with him. This brought me an unbearable feeling that we really have to say good-bye to him. But at the same time I wanted to congratulate him for his accomplishments. He completed the Shinsanshiki (Mountain Seat Ceremony) and the transmission of Ihon? Ihatsu[?] (the bowl?) and passing the responsibility to his (teshionikaketa - hand salt)carefully nurtured disciple, Dick Baker. He has done what he had to do. I was (hisoka ni) secretly surprised and at the same time I want to say, (yokatta desu ne) respectfully, well done and I want to wholeheartedly congratulate him.

- On December 5th, I received a phone call from the wife of Hoitsu-san in Takakusayama and I learned the following: In November Hoitsu came back to Japan after (helping his father) complete the Shinsanshiki and now he has heard on the phone that Hojo-san passed away. He flew to the US and asked his wife to call me so that I should inform the Takakusayama Group.

Early morning of the 4th, around four am in American time, Hojo gave instructions to prepare for reading sutras and when it was completed he changed into his formal robes and passed away in that way. I was told to inform the group about exactly what happened. I'm sorry I have taken so long to inform you about this.

- The last moments of both Kishizawa-roshi and Suzuki Shunryu-shi (were both great[?]). Both were real monks and had great final moments. Hojo-san was an especially compassionate person and taught me about being truly human.

- It seems the more I write about Hojo-san, the less likely that he would be happy.

Therefore to those people who have been in the past with Hojo-san I will inform simply what I heard.


[? How did he sign it?]

No.3 - The first thing that Kishizawa roshi taught us was Kyoiku Chokugo[?]. This is not Buddhist.

No.4 - and second, Kishizawa he taught us Bodaisatta (Bodhisattva) Shishobo. This is the only Buddhist teaching he gave us. Shobogenzo Bodaisatta Shishobo

No.5 - This is a photocopy of a paper I transcribed from Kishizawa-roshi's copy of the Genjo Koan. I had this as a guide to reflect on him. Shobogenzo Genjo Koan.

No.6 - I think he taught me how to live a "real" life. So here is a list of what's real to me.

Memorandums/Notes on the word "real"--for Amada this word is associated with what he learned from Suzuki-roshi.

(additional comments on the rest of these items on tape I did with Shizuko not yet transcribed - would rather have Fred’s comments)

No. 7 - Here's a bibliography of books to help you understand Japanese history and thought. (a book on economics, Christianity etc). A bibliography on Japanese and Japanese culture recommended to David from Amada.

No.8 - This is a letter written by my late younger brother and I included it so you could understand our leader, Nishinakama. We were students, not activists then. You could say we did nothing. But we were thinking a lot. Shunryu-san thought my brother's death was a great loss. He entered Yokohama Koto Senmongakko[?] (now Yokohama Kokuritsu Daigaku) with the top mark. He said in this very room that Japan needed good scientists so he would study science.

A letter from Hiroshi Amada (Amada's younger brother) to Amada

- Hiroshi's impression of Nishinakama: The first impression was Nishinakama's light, friendly nature. While listening to Nishinakama, Nishinakama's image developed as a great philosopher, farmer, poet, scientist or yogi (ascetic) - but ultimately as a great youth.

- Hiroshi Amada's encounter with Nishinakama had put a clear period to Nishinakama's five years of confused mind which could not see a meaning of his life. He described in detail about his confusion--study, illness (pneumonia), restlessness, etc.)

No.9 - Nishinakama was chosen to be a "tokubetsu kenkyusei" (special student?). Only one out of 200 was chosen. But was killed in an air raid [?Doesn't quite make sense because he was also said to have been involved with negotiations with America--specifically seeing that Japan didn't have to pay war reparations. But he had a brother and we'll get to the bottom of this this fall I hope.--DC]. Before he died, he said to me, "Please go to China and ask Shokaiseki [Chang Kai Shek] to conduct peace negotiations. I'll get well soon, and take care of Father and Mother. So, please go to China." It was a time like that.

- This is a letter from Masao Nishinakama, the leader of our group then. What we learned from his letters from December in Showa 19 to January in Showa 20 was that Japan was losing the war and that if Japan could give the States a blow by winning even just a single battle, then we could take that opportunity to start peace negotiations. We discussed it here. He also thought Japan must improve its productivity and educate its people for that purpose. He returned from China to do this. He had had a job in China. I helped him survey the economic situation of Japan to see if there was even a possibility of even giving a blow to win a battle. I went to Hamamatsu as Zero fighters were being built there.

- This letter dated February, Showa 19.

Nishi(?surely Nishinakama) returned from China to bring about peace. He claimed he had tuberculosis and got himself hospitalized in order to get exempted from the draft. He was four years older than I. He would have been killed if the military police found out about his false claim.

- He took this dangerous risk because he thought the management of productivity of the military had to be changed. He thought drafted college students should not be wasted as soldiers, instead they should become officers in charge of economic research or information. He got one of the top officers to agree to take his proposition. A lieutenant, Shiro Makino[?], was killed in action in Reite[?], a Philippine island. He appointed Nishi[?] as a "shokutaku" (non-regular officer?) of the 8th Unit of the general staff.

There were people like that than and the acts of those people contributed to peace.

I went to research the Zero fighter factory in Hamamatsu to help his research without telling him who had to stay in a hospital[?]. I reported to him that the productivity of the factory was hopeless. He must have reported to the information bureau.

After that I worked in a (war?) factory.

No.9[? - second "9"] is A letter from Nishinakama to Amada dated 3/3/S.19.

- Encouraging and appreciating Amada for their mutual interest in selflessly working toward the victory of the nation.

- Emphasizing the necessity of having a strong will, system, and passion beyond that of Hitler, Jugent[?], beyond that of the Oxford students in order to overcome the crisis.

- Their new destiny through the Shimada Meeting[?], Yaizu Meeting[?] and an opening ceremony of Juku [which?], which took place in Takakusayama.

No.10. A postcard from Utagawa [?] to Amada, 3/8/S.19

- Expressing U's disappointment for not being able to go [where?] due to his illness in that time of nation's crisis.

No.11 - This is a paper I wrote at the time of my draft. It says, "Thank you for(?) the last one year. I will do my best single-mindedly, although I am incompetent for controlling even myself. My life has not been satisfactory, but I'm grateful for the great power that has been moving me for the last year." And my short poem about self-attachment and classical Chinese verses composed by famous Chinese poets that expressed my feelings then. I wrote this for no purpose. But my younger brother kept this.

A draft of Amada's letter and Chinese poetry

- A letter(?) of appreciation for the year he spent when he was young, during which he learned a lot.

No.12 - A letter from Kon Shincho, a writer. Guided Nishinakama as well as Amada. Takashi Katsuno (Tatsuno?) guided Hishinakama too. Artists like them had a clear mind and had an insight to see the situation then as wrong.

A letter from Kon to Amada,

- Nishinakama and Nagashima[?] came to visit K [Kon] and talked till late.

- Lamenting the condition of that time and feeling the needs to do something as a senior monk[?].

Amada. - All Japanese men had been drafted by April in Showa 20. It was thought there would be a final battle in Japan proper.

I was in the Military Academy at that time. I told my chutaicho [?] (captain/company commander) that we must do something with the political and economic situation as Japan was losing the war. He tried to kill me with his saber in a rage. My guidance teacher stopped him, saying I meant it seriously. Both of them accepted what I said. But Shibazaki [?], one of the leaders of our group had said something similar at the Military Academy two years before my case and was expelled the next day and was degraded. Two people said almost the same thing but were treated differently. Things changed in two years.

Amada - At the time of Gyokuin Hoso (the Emperor's radiobroadcast declaring Japan's on 15 August 1945).

I was in Gunma Prefecture and went to the army bureau in Tokyo. I went to see the director of the Bureau for Policy Affairs (Seimukyoku) as that bureau dealt with public relations. But they didn't allow me to see him. So I told them although I considered the decision to admit our defeat was absolutely right, Japanese would resort to guerrilla fighting if the Americans killed the Emperor and harmed Japanese people then. I said we must prepare for zanshin (kendo word for readiness to handle a blow after declaration of defeat) by hiding weapons like guns and grenades. They said they couldn't give permission to a 20-year-old youth like me and asked me to bring Nishinakama who was working in the General Bureau. But somehow it didn't work out.

I went to the navy bureau as well. They were more aware of the situation than the army bureau. They told me an army officer was requesting an interview with Major General Takagi. He played an important role in ending the war. But they didn't let me see him. Later on, he came to Suetsune's home to see me and apologized to me, bowing deeply. Some of the Japanese officers were admirable like he was.

Amada - This letter (these letters) explaining all this shows Rinsoin contributed to the ending of the war. [maybe he knows what letters SR showed to the authorities]

A. - Suetsune's father was a chief officer who sank a Russian warship during the Russo-Japanese war.

#13. Two postcards from Nishinakama and one from Tou[?] Gaku Kyokai.

- Nishinakama saying that he will visit Amada, the second one, with Suetsune.

- Announcement of a meeting on "A report of a strike and the future of Japanese economy".