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Mitsu Suzuki Main Page

Mitsu Suzuki, widow of Shunryu Suzuki

Suzuki’s wife in America. As far as I know, they didn’t live together in Japan, married five months before he came. - dc

Known to those of us at the SFZC as Okusan (wife) or Suzuki Sensei

Mitsu in Crooked Cucumber

DC Memories of Mitsu

Interviews by DC in US, Sept.93, Feb.96.

Interview by DC, April '94 in Japan.

Interview on her life by Kazuaki Tanahashi

On her life with Suzuki-roshi by Tanahashi

Thanks Shunko Jamvold for sending this photo of Mitsu on 10-26-15. She's 101, still at home with her daughter.

dusk.gif (85012 bytes)Suzuki, Mitsu, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Gregory A. Wood (translators). Temple Dusk: Zen Haiku. Parallax Press, 1992. [Shunryu Suzuki's wife's poetry]
Amazon link


3-27-14 - A White Tea Bowl: 100 Haiku from 100 Years of Life - by Mitsu Suzuki, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, translated by Kate McCandless, introduction by Norman Fischer. Rodmell Press (March 2014)

Amazon link




7-25-14 - On the Hebrew translation of Temple Dusk and comments on the situation in Israel

8-22-14 - Mitsu Suzuki (Shunryu's widow) recent haiku collection, Temple Dusk Translated from the Japanese by Zenshin Eitan Bolokan, being released in Hebrew.


Here's an announcement of the release event in Israel. [Can't get this link to work on site though it works from the email received]

10-21-14 - Here are a couple of photos of Mitsu taken by Barbara Wenger at Green Gulch.

Mitsu Suzuki at Green Gulch Farm on April 13, 1989 - maybe for a Buddha's birthday event. - photo by Barbara Wenger

9-28-14 - Mitsu Suzuki, Shunryu's widow, with DC back in April when Katrinka and I visited with her. This was a couple of weeks before her 100th birthday. That's her daughter Harumi in the background. Photo by Katrinka McKay.

click on thumbnail to enlarge or just go to her cuke page.

See Saunters page for April 7th and 8th for report on that visit with Mitsu Suzuki, AKA Mrs. Suzuki, Suzuki Sensei, Okusan.

 - this posted in - Saunters too


balloons4-26-14 - Happy 100th birthday Mitsu Suzuki



4-08-14 - See Saunters page report on visit with Mitsu Suzuki.

4-07-14 - See Saunters page report on visit with Mitsu Suzuki.

3-27-14 - A White Tea Bowl: 100 Haiku from 100 Years of Life - by Mitsu Suzuki, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, translated by Kate McCandless, introduction by Norman Fischer.

Amazon link

SFZC event: A White Tea Bowl: A Book Event Celebrating Mitsu Suzuki Sensei’s 100th Birthday

2013 Birthday Greetings

More from Japan - with old Suzuki students, April '94 by DC

from R O U N D A B O U T Z E N

Excerpt from Bodhisattva Archetypes by Taigen Dan Leighton

7/06/01 - A letter from Mitsu Suzuki

9-22-13 - Mitsu Suzuki letter to DC - JP -
Mitsu to DC - translation with JP -

4/08/03 - A letter from Mitsu on Buddha's birthday.

See Temple Dusk: Zen Haiku, a book of Mitsu Suzuki's poetry, in the bibliography.

See a few photos with Mitsu in them in the Photo Gallery.

See other interviews with members of Suzuki's family on the Interview link page. - on the right side under Suzuki

2-1-08-11 - Here's a New Year's card sent from Mitsu Suzuki, Mrs. Suzuki, Okusan, Shunryu Suzuki's widow, to Daya Goldschlag. Tozen Akiyama Roshi kindly translated it as 

"I wish you Happy New Year," literally, "I respectfully say the joy/delight of the beginning spring."

Hatsuharu no
Gantan Mitsu Gassho

This was sent before the conventional Western New Year. In Japan they use the new calendar and the old calendar for different purposes. They have a way of not erasing the old when they add the new. The traditional New Year in Japan, China, and all Asia I guess, is early February, the beginning of spring, the traditional seasons beginning about six weeks earlier than in the West, when there's a hint of the season. Sort of like Groundhog Day being the hint of spring. - dc

4-24-13 - Posting yesterday's Happy Birthday to Mitsu Suzuki one day late. See - it's down there now as if it were posted yesterday. However, personal congrats were sent to her via Rinsoin (Shunryu Suzuki's temple in Yaizu now son Hoitsu abbot). Just couldn't remember when it was. The SFZC event for her birthday doesn't stipulate what the date is. Wasn't sure of the date. Searched and found it here. I guess that's right. I'm sure it's elsewhere on this site or in my notes but Binging was easiest.

Normally I don't think about her birthday - they aren't a big deal to Japanese in my experience - but Richard Baker at Crestone got hold of me because they wanted to send her a birthday greeting so I sent him the Rinsoin email address which is Shungo's (Hoitsu's son, Shunryu's grandson.) I don't remember hearing Shungo speak English but he's doing a good job now with English email. Crestone sent her a video of sesshin attendees singing Happy Birthday. He responded:

We received the letter, photos and movie for my grandmother.
So she received them and the letter was translated by me today.
She was very happy and inspired.
So she was admired you and your members energetic activity.

She said to me in earnest, "It is just important zen practice for me that how to finish my life",
and said "Please come for pickup me from nirvana soon. Suzuki roshi." as a joke.

Thank you very much.

nine bows,

So I, DC, sent a birthday greeting from 1st wife Daya Goldschlag (who was close) and me to Mitsu via Shungo and received this from Shungo: She said to me by phone yesterday,

"It's just important zen practice for me that how to finish my life".

There was an event for Mitsu at the SFZC earlier in the month but don't see her birthday date mentioned.

I just noticed that on the SFZC site it says  "This April in Japan, she will be turning 99 and in our way of counting, 100" but that's not right. Unless I'm making a senior mistake, , it's the opposite: this April she will turn 99 in our way of counting and in Japan's 100. Born 1914 - same as my recently late mother, Ahdel. In Japan you're one at birth cause their one means 1st year.

balloons4-23-13 - Happy Birthday Mitsu Suzuki!


[posted on What's New]

4-07-14 - Spent the night at Rinsoin, Shunryu Suzuki's home temple, and sat zazen this morning with his son the present abbot, Hoitsu, and Hoitsu's son Shungo, also a priest and next in line, and some men from Yaizu. After breakfast and laundry, Katrinka and I visited with Mitsu Suzuki, Shunryu's widow, and she gave me a copy of her new collection of haiku, A White Tea Bowl: 100 Haiku from 100 Years of Life. Mitsu's 100th birthday is coming up on the 26th of this month and she's doing great, quite energetic, walking well, was quite affectionate, hugging me repeatedly. Most touching.

Hoitsu's wife Chitose drove us to Mitsu's. Also there were Mitsu's daughter Harumi and Hoitsu's sister-in-law, Mitsuyo, who is visiting from San Francisco.

4-08-14 - Shunryu Suzuki's widow, Mitsu Suzuki, showed me how she could see Mt. Fuji, Fuji San, from her window. She said she bowed to it every morning. I said it's the heart of Japan isn't it and she said yes. She had a small piece of paper taped to the wall there with yukkuri yukkuri written in hiragana - slowly, slowly - like take it easy. She said (in Japanese), "You know how I was always running around doing things in a hurry. This is what Suzuki Roshi would say to me." I commented on how lovely her kimono was she told me something I was surprised to hear. She said that when she arrived in America to join Shunryu (and live together for the first time), that she was wearing a hat, high heels, and a western dress. But he only wore his robes and kimono so she threw all her western clothes away. She showed Katrinka and me a thick album with photos of many people from Zen Center, one being a photo of Dianne (Daya) Goldschlag and me at our wedding. Then she brought over an envelope with a letter from Daya. She held her hands out to indicate how big I'd gotten. That was a memory from the sixties and seventies. I weigh less than I have since then. I gave her a tiny old Buddha carved from stone, bought in Thailand. She wrote some reminders on the little blue paper envelope I'd kept it in and put it on her alter with various mementos and photos of Shunryu, Kobun Chino among others.

See Daya comment on these recent posts.

letter from DC in Japanese to Mitsu Suzuki 2001

There’s much more on her on that can be found by searching within the site from the Index or What’s New pages for Okusan, Mrs. Suzuki, Suzuki Sensei, and Mitsu.

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