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Excerpt from INTERVIEW WITH MASAJI YAMADA by Kyoto Furuhashi and translated by her.


Masaji Yamada was an important person in the Rinsoin congregation and neighborhood. See more about him at the top of this interview linked to in the title above. - dc


K: I've heard danka objected Shunryu-san's going to the States.

Well, I don't know about it. I think it was rather that Shunryu-san took advantage of Shumucho's request to work in the States in order to flee from troubles he was encountering here. Danka were criticizing him for his affairs [Not clear if he means with women or what. I didn't make much of it. Could be--Japanese have affairs and trysts more lightly than we do--aren't so puritanical. And Suzuki was younger and handsome and I find no reason to assume he was totally beyond such human temptation. Maybe Mitsu. Who knows? There wasn't any confirmation. It wasn't reliable enough for the book. But there is confirmation that he was gone a lot and with his friends. But he was no drinker or party animal.--DC] He didn't make it secret. He would go downtown and have a good time. It was widely known. Danka were not very happy about it. So, he might have thought his designation for the abbotship of the temple in San Francisco was a good chance for him to get away from it all. Also, there had been that incident which had happened to his wife. The unsui who attacked her was found not guilty. [It's widely assumed that any priest who goes abroad does so to escape troubles. Otherwise, why would they leave Japan?--DC]


I've heard Shunryu-san stamped his foot (with mortification?) when he rushed back to Rinsoin and saw his wife lying. That incident might have contributed to his decision to go to the States as well. That woman who has recently come back from the States is not legally married to him, is she? [Yes! He's got some weird ideas. Hoitsu told me not to pay too much attention to what he says. But then again, have I ever asked her about their wedding? Must check into that. Wouldn't it be great if they weren't. But it doesn't seem like him or her not to get married.--DC] What's her family name? It's not Suzuki, is it?

K: I understand they had got married just before Shunryu-san left for the States. Mitsu-san went to San Francisco to join him a few years later. I've heard that some people who used to know her as a kindergarten director still call her Matsuno sensei, but she is Mrs. Suzuki now.

I see. It's a strange coincidence, but I met her in Umegashima Onsen (a hot springs resort in Shizuoka City) while I was staying there for recuperation for one month just after the war. When she saw me at a meeting at Rinsoin the other day she recognized me and greeted me.

On the whole, Shunryu-san was a gentle and unselfish man, quite free from avarice.

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