Category Archives: Japanese Thought

Zen Speaks by Tsai Chih Chung

Zen Speaks is a modern collection of Zen stories and koans by the author and artist Tsai Chih Chung that I highly recommend which contains wonderful cartoon renderings of many of the koans and stories we’ve already covered.  I just found out that you can watch the entire work as a cartoon in Cantonese with English subtitles on YouTube.

Tsunayoshi the Dog Shogun

In reading Crazy Clouds: Zen Radicals, Rebels & Reformers (Besserman & Steger 1991) I came across an amusing and disturbing paragraph:

Tsunayoshi the Dog Shogun

Oblivious to popular resentment and surrounding himself with small-minded advisers, Tsunayoshi extended his private sensibilities even further into the public domain by declaring the killing of animals a capital offense.  This necessitated the creation of an enormous bureaucracy consisting of police and inspectors to keep track of all newborn litters and to make accurate lists of the sex and markings of the animals.  Samurai who defied this decree were mercilessly put to death at the shogun’s personal orders.  Nicknaming him Inu-Kobo, or Dog-Shogun, the citizens of Edo did not grieve when Tsunayoshi was murdered by his wife in 1709.