Reginald Horace Blyth

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Blyth in 1953.

Reginald Horace Blyth (3 December 1898 – 28 October 1964) was an English author and devotee of Japanese culture. He is most famous for his writings on Zen and on haiku poetry.

Early life[edit]

Blyth was born in Essex, England, the son of a railway clerk. He was the only child of Horace and Henrietta Blyth. He attended Cleveland Road Primary School, in Ilford, then the County High School (later Ilford County High School). In 1916, at the height of World War I, he was imprisoned at Wormwood Scrubs, as a conscientious objector, before working on the Home Office Scheme at Princetown Work Centre in the former and future Dartmoor Prison. After the war he attended the University of London, where he read English and from which he graduated in 1923, with honours.

He adopted a vegetarian lifestyle which he maintained throughout his life. Blyth played the flute, made musical instruments, and taught himself several European languages. He was particularly fond of the music of J.S. Bach. In 1924, he received a teaching certificate from London Day Training College. The same year, he married Anna Bercovitch, a university friend. Some accounts say they moved to India, where he taught for a while until he became unhappy with British colonial rule, other scholars dismiss this episode, claiming it to have been invented or misunderstood by Blyth's mentor Daisetz T. Suzuki.[1]

Korea (1925–1935)[edit]

In 1925, the Blyths moved to Korea (then under Japanese rule), where Blyth became Assistant Professor of English at Keijo University in Seoul. While in Korea, Blyth began to learn Japanese and Chinese, and studied Zen under the master Hanayama Taigi of Myōshin-ji Keijo Betsuin (Seoul). In Korea he started to read D. T. Suzuki's books about Zen. In 1933, he informally adopted a Korean student, paying for his studies in Korea and later at London University. His wife parted from him in 1934 and Blyth took one-year absence from the university in 1935, following her to England. After the divorce, Blyth returned to Korea in early 1936, leaving the adopted son with his ex-wife. The adopted son returned after World War II to Korea. In 1947 he was captured by North Korean soldiers; when he returned to the South, he was shot as a traitor by the South Korean army.[2]

Japan (1936–1964)[edit]

Having returned to Seoul in 1936, Blyth remarried in 1937, to a Japanese woman named Kijima Tomiko,[3] with whom he later had two daughters, Nana Blyth and Harumi Blyth. 1940 they moved to Kanazawa, D. T. Suzuki's home town, in Japan, and Blyth took a job as English teacher at the Fourth Higher School (later Kanazawa University).

When Britain declared war on Japan in December 1941, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, bringing Japan into World War II, Blyth was interned as a British enemy alien. Although he expressed his sympathy for Japan and sought Japanese citizenship, this was denied. During his internment his extensive library was destroyed in an air raid. In the internment camp in Kobe he finished his first book Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics and wrote parts of his books about haiku and senryu. He also met in the camp Robert Aitken, later Roshi of the Diamond Sangha in Honolulu.

After the war, Blyth worked diligently with the authorities, both Japanese and American, to ease the transition to peace. Blyth functioned as liaison to the Japanese Imperial Household, and his close friend, Harold Gould Henderson, was on General Douglas MacArthur's staff. Together, they helped draft the declaration[4] Ningen Sengen, by which Emperor Hirohito declared himself to be a human being, and not divine.

By 1946, Blyth had become Professor of English at Gakushuin University, and became private tutor to the Crown Prince (later emperor) Akihito until the end of his [Blyth's] life.[5] He did much to popularise Zen philosophy and Japanese poetry (particularly haiku) in the West. In 1954, he was awarded a doctorate in literature from Tokyo University, and, in 1959, he received the Zuihōshō (Order of Merit) Fourth Grade.[6]

Blyth died in 1964, probably of a brain tumour and complications from pneumonia, in the Seiroka Hospital in Tokyo. He was buried in the cemetery of the Shokozan Tokei Soji Zenji Temple in Kamakura, next to his old friend, D. T. Suzuki. Blyth's posthumous Buddhist name is Bulaisu Kodo Shoshin Koju.

Blyth's tomb in Kamakura.

He left the following death poem:

Sazanka ni kokoro nokoshite tabidachinu
I leave my heart
to the sasanqua flower
on the day of this journey


Blyth produced a series of work on Zen, Haiku & Senryu, and on other forms of Japanese and Asian literature.

He wrote six books on Haiku (1949–52, 1963–64) and two books on Senryu (1949, 1960), four books on Humour in Asian and English Literature (1957, 1959(a), 1959(b), 1961), as well as seven books on Zen (1942, 1952, 1960–64; posthumous 1966, 1970). Further publications include studies of English Literature (1942, 1957, 1959(b)) and a three-fifths shortened version of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by his favourite author Henry David Thoreau, along with an introduction and explanatory notes.

The most significant publications being his four-volume Haiku Series (1949–52), his 'Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics' and his five-volume Zen Series.

Nearly all of his books were published in Japan, by Hokuseido Press, Tokyo.

Blyth and Zen[edit]

The actual 5-volume 'Zen and Zen Classics' series is a modification by the publishers, caused by the unexpected death of Blyth, of the originally planned 8-volume project, which included a translation of the Hekiganroku (Piyenchi), a History of Korean Zen and of Japanese Zen (Dogen, Hakuin etc.) and a renewed edition of his 'Buddhist Sermons on Christian Texts' as Vol. 8; ( as a result of the modification the already published Vol. 7 was reprinted as Vol. 5).[7]

According to D.T. Suzuki the Zen-Series should have been "the most complete work on Zen to be presented so far to the English-reading public".[8]

The First Volume presents a General Introduction from the Upanishads to Huineng, Vol. Two and Three a History of Zen from the Seigen Branch to Nangaku Branch and Vol. Five Twenty-Five Zen Essays. In Vol. Four Blyth translates the Mumonkan (Wumenkuan). Blyth's Mumonkan was the third complete translation into English, but the first one which was accompanied by extensive interpretive commentaries on each case.

Blyth's early publication ‘Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics', published 1942 when he was interned in Japan during World War II, and his Zen and Zen Classics Series exerted a significant influence on the Western Writers’- and Zen-community, although nearly all of his books were published in Japan only.

To his "Zen-audience" belonged Aldous Huxley,[9] Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell,[10]Jerome D. Salinger,[11] Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson[12] as well as Alan Watts,[13] Christmas Humphreys,[14] Robert Aitken,[15] Katsuki Sekida,[16] Donald Richie,[17] Raymond Smullyan,[18] Janwillem van de Wetering ('a Zen priest told me "Blyth talked too much - the man should have been throttled at birth"')[19] and Osho ("about Zen and Zen poetry - haiku - he was one of the most authoritative persons in the world").[20]

Blyth and Haiku & Senryu[edit]

In an autobiographical note Blyth writes: "By a fortunate chance I then came across haiku, or to speak more exactly Haiku no Michi, the Way of Haiku, which is the purely poetical (non-emotional, non-intellectual, non-moral, non-aesthetic) life in relation to nature. Next, the biggest bit of luck of all, Zen, through the books of Suzuki Daisetz ... Last but not least there appeared senryu, which might well be dignified by the term Senryu no Michi, the Way of Senryu, for it is an understanding of all things by laughing and smiling at them, and this means forgiving all things, ourselves and God included".[21] Blyth wrote six books on haiku and four books on humour and senryu, the genre sister of haiku: 'In haiku things speak for themselves with the voice of a man, in senryu things do not speak; we speak and speak for ourselves',[22] in senryu the world is 'not seen as God made it' but 'as man sees it';[23] 'to haiku, sex hardly exists; to senryu, it is all pervading ... a great many deal with the subject of the Yoshiwara...'[24]

After early imagist interest in haiku the genre drew less attention in English, until after World War II, with the appearance of a number of influential volumes about Japanese haiku.

In 1949, with the publication in Japan of the first volume of Haiku, Blyth's four-volume work, haiku was introduced to the post-war Western world. His Haiku series (1949–52) was dealing mostly with pre-modern haiku, though including Shiki; later followed his two-volume History of Haiku (1963–64). Today he is best known as a major interpreter of haiku & senryu to English speakers.

Many contemporary Western writers of haiku were introduced to the genre through his Zen-based haiku explanations. These include the San Francisco and Beat Generation writers, Gary Snyder,[25] Philip Whalen,[26] Jack Kerouac[27] and Allen Ginsberg,[28] as well as J. D. Salinger ("...particularly haiku, but senryu, too...can be read with special satisfaction when R. H. Blyth was on them. Blyth is sometimes perilous, naturally, since he's a highhanded old poem himself, but he's also sublime"),[29] Octavio Paz,[30] E. E. Cummings,[31] and (probably) Luke Rhinehart.[32] Many members of the international "haiku community" also got their first views of haiku from Blyth's books, including American author James W. Hackett (born 1929), Eric Amann, William J. Higginson, Anita Virgil, Jane Reichhold, and Lee Gurga. The French philosopher and semiotician Roland Barthes read 1967 Blyth's 4 Vol. set, using it for lectures and seminars on haiku 1979.[33]

Some noted Blyth's distaste for haiku on more modern themes, some his strong bias regarding a direct connection between haiku and Zen,[34] a connection largely ignored by modern Japanese poets. Bashō, in fact, felt that his devotion to haiku prevented him from realising enlightenment;[35] and classic Japanese haiku poets like Chiyo-ni, Buson, and Issa were Pure Land (Jodo) rather than Zen Buddhists.[36] Some also noted, that Blyth did not view haiku by Japanese women favourably, that he was downplaying their contribution to the genre, especially during the Bashō era. In the chapter 'Women Haiku Writers' Blyth writes: "Haiku for women, like Zen for women, - this subject makes us once more think about what haiku are, and a woman is…Women are said to be intuitive, and as they cannot think, we may hope this is so, but intuition…is not enough… [it] is doubtfull... whether women can write haiku"[37]

Although Blyth did not foresee the appearance of original haiku in languages other than Japanese when he began writing on the topic, and although he founded no school of verse, his works stimulated the writing of haiku in English. At the end of the second volume of his History of Haiku, he remarked 1964 that "The latest development in the history of haiku is one which nobody foresaw... the writing of haiku outside Japan, not in the Japanese language."[38] He followed that comment with a number of original verses in English by Hackett with whom Blyth corresponded.

Blyth: "How about my own [haiku] explanations? Some say they are better than many of the original haiku. Some say they should be omitted. I myself agree with both views".[39]

Blyth's Zen[edit]

"Incidentally, I first heard the term "Blyth's Zen" ... when Roshi asked, "Who was your Zen teacher?" I told Soen Roshi that ... for incorporating Zen values in my haiku, I was a disciple of R. H. Blyth. To this, Roshi murmered a long "Hmmmmmmm.....", then said "Blyth's Zen, eh?"[40] "We must never forget that the one thing in the world that is not a thing is Zen. International, transcendental, pure super-Zen has no existence. Buddha's Zen, and Daruma's Zen, and Eno's Zen and Rinzai's and Suzuki's and even perhaps Blyth's Zen ... - but no Zen without them"[41]

'R. H. Blyth: I have just come from Korea, where I studied Zen with Kayama Taigu Roshi of Myoshinjin Betsuin
D. T. Suzuki: Is that so? Tell me, what is Zen?
R. H. Blyth: As I understand it, there is no such thing
D. T. Suzuki: I can see you know something of Zen'[42]

'"And what did you learn there?" asked Hofuku. "I got nothing", said the monk. "How did you manage to do that?" said Hofuku"'[43]

  • "...and when we say, "What is the meaning of life?" the spiritual life, spontaneously generated up to that moment, is extinguished, the world is a darkness that can be felt. However, the question has been asked; the man is sick, it is too late to recapitulate the laws of health, he needs medicine"[44]
  • "What is Zen? Zen is the unsymbolisation of the world and all the things in it"[45]
  1. 'most of the world's trouble are due to grammar'[46]
  2. "...we objectify things which are no objects, subjectify persons who are not subjects, and suffer the consequences of this"[47]
  3. "Worry is the great enemy … what is wrong is not the pain and grief suffering, but thinking about ourselves as sufferers"[48]
  4. "The intellect beats its wings in vain against the bars of [the] intellectual cage"[49]
  5. "You are going to swat a fly; it comes and sits on the fly-swat itself; what will you do in such a case?"[50]
  • "According to Buddha, the object of life is satori, enlightenment, and this continued and continuous state is Nirvana, but since sin is only the illusion that sin is sin, since enlightenment is illusion and illusion is enlightenment, all this business of salvation and the endeavour to be enlightened is the most blithering nonsense"[51]
  1. ".. how about all the poor unenlightened chaps, or those who have died five minutes before they became enlightened? No, No! The universe must suffer, in being what it is, and we must suffer with it. The universe has joy … and we must be happy with it. Above all, the universe is a paradox, and we must laugh with and at it."[52]
  2. "Suppose a man practises ascetism for ten years and the day before he is going to be enlightened, - he dies! Was it worth it all?... The orthodox will say that he will get enlightenment very soon and easily in the next life, but there's no end to nonsense."[53] "...supposes a fairly long life. and what, for example, is the sense of struggling for enlightenment if the day after we get it (and perhaps the day before) we die? we must get something this moment, in a world in which every next moment may be our last."[54]
  3. " [the] history of the development of Mahayana Buddhism, the gradual realisation that without illusion and bondage there can be no enlightenment and release, and the further Zen discovery of the … fact that illusion is, without any change, enlightenment, the ordinary man is, as he is, the Buddha"[55]
  • "...the activeness of Zen, compared with the passivity of most forms of Buddhism…"[56]
  1. "'Raising waves where there is no wind' is a favourite expression in Zen, signifying that there is no problem of life. Things are as they are, and as they are becoming, and once you realise this in its active, not resigned meaning, there is nothing really to worry about"[57]
  2. "This attitude of life, of willing acceptance of all that comes, or rather, all that we come to, for our attitude to life must be active and not passive…"[58]
  3. "There are indeed four attitudes to the world, (depending to our attitude to our own being): opposition, resignation, cooperation, and domination. We are continually moving among them. Zen is the last."[59]
  • "Really to laugh at oneself, and laugh at oneself laughing at oneself, - this is enlightenment"[60]
  1. "... I feel inclined to warn you against a humourless Zen. The secret of life consists in being always and never serious!"[61]
  2. "Humour is the origin of life. Humour is the meaning of life. Humour is the object of life. But don't take it too seriously!"[62]
  3. "… laughter is the result and the evidence of the perception of the (intellectually contradictory) whole truth. Again, humour or its invariable concomitant laughter … is not a means, it's the end, enlightenment itself"[63]
  4. '...when Shuilao was asked what his enlightenment was, he answered, "Since the master [Matsu] kicked me, I have not been able to stop laughing"'[64]
  5. "Zen is laughing at the world, laughing with the world"[65]

"the Bible of Zen, the Mumonkan plus the Hekiganroku, is the universe laughing at itself"[66]

while reading this sutra,
I began to laugh ...
without knowing why[67]

Blyth on Zen[edit]

"Zen is the essence... of all that is good in the daily life of the ordinary people. But that does not mean that we are not to smash it flat if we get the slightest opportunity. And we are not going to attack foxy (false) Zen, or the hypocrites and time-servers who support it, but Zen itself in its highest and sublimest forms … the great thing is to have the courage, and say again and again, "All that can be shaken shall be shaken!" and if nothing remains, let it be so"[68]

  • "Zen, it must be admitted, is the selfish side of the doctrine of selflessness that comes down through the Mahayana. Zen has a very weak missionary spirit, and for that reason interferes very little with other people's lives. It does not have, and does not want, the excuse to force people into Heaven"[69]
  • "A Zen society is unthinkable in so far as it consists of (celibate) monks. A sexless society is a contradiction in terms, and a Zen society of laymen and laywomen of the traditional type would be a return to (religious) feudalism... The Zen sect has always been, like Athens, a state of "free" men among slaves, living on them more or less, and with no desire to free them socially, politically or financially. It has no view of society, no idea of human progress, material or spiritual. It is always all things to all men, and will support any government, fascistic or communistic or democratic. Its organization is unchangeable feudalistic, though on special occasions it has an All Fools' Day when an absolute equality is de rigueur. The opinion of Zen adepts on world affairs has invariably been a patriotic opportunism dressed in Buddhist platitudes...; the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people has been the least of its concerns"[70]
  • "What was, is, and always will be wrong with Buddhism of course is the –ism. A system of doctrine, rules of morality, and above all the Sangha itself means religious mass suicide…the Indian hatred of women persisted; sex was omitted, and the monastery could not be self-subsisting, since new members were constantly needed. Thus the life of the Zen monastery, however earnest and active it may have once been, was always a farce…Zen has not yet taught us how to be fathers and mothers and citizens. It is still a thing for monks, at least for men, and especially for old men"[71]
  • "The least admirable part of Buddhisms is its attitude to sex. The Buddha accepted women into the Sangha with the utmost unwillingness, and indeed prophesied that they would be the ruin of his system …In actual fact one of the reasons for the decline of Buddhism in India was the resurgence of Tantrism with its female deities and esoteric eroticism ... This attitude has been continued in Zen, which is thus Buddhist in its defects as well as its virtues. Occasionally women, usually old hags, appear in the Zen anecdotes ---"Some of these old Chinese women were more than a match for the greatest Zen masters [Joshu, Tokusan, Nansen, Mayoku, (Rinzai); Kanzai]…"[72]---, but the enlightenment of women is conspicuous by its absence, and sex problems are conveniently forgotten"[73]... "Zen is not for women and women (but see Mumonkan Case XLII) are not for Zen. So much the worse for both. Buddhism has always been anti-feminist…"[74]... "What claim can Zen possibly have to universality when it ignores one half of humanity [women], and assumes sexlessness, that is halflessness, in the other?"[75]

Bibliography (in chronological order)[edit]

  • Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics, The Hokuseido Press, 1942, reprint 1996; Dutton 1960, ISBN 0525470573; Angelico Press 2016, ISBN 978-1621389736
  • Haiku, in Four Volumes, Volume 1: Eastern Culture. Volume 2: Spring. Volume 3: Summer-Autumn. Volume 4: Autumn-Winter. The Hokuseido Press, 1949-1952; Reprint The Hokuseido Press/Heian International, 1981, ISBN 0-89346-184-9; Reprint Angelico Press, 2021, ISBN 978-1621387220
  • Senryu: Japanese Satirical Verses, The Hokuseido Press, 1949; Reprint Greenwood Press, 1971 ISBN 0-8371-2958-3
  • Translation: Japanese Cookbook (100 Favorite Japanese Recipes for Western Cooks) by Aya Kagawa, D.M., Japan Travel Bureau, 1949, 14. print Rev.&Enlarged 1962, 18. print Enlarged 1969
  • A First Book of Korean, by Lee Eun and R. H. Blyth, The Hokuseido Press, c. 1950, Second Improved Edition, 1962
  • A Shortened Version of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau with Introduction and Notes by R. H. Blyth, The Hokuseido Press, (1951)
  • Buddhist Sermons on Christian Texts, Kokudosha 1952; Heian International, 1976, ISBN 978-0-89346-000-6
  • Ikkyu's Doka; in: The Young East, Vols II.2 - III.9, Tokyo, 1952-1954; Reprint in: Blyth, Zen and Zen Classics, Vol. 5, 1966
  • Japanese Humour, Japan Travel Bureau, 1957
  • A Survey of English Literature, from the Beginnings to Modern Times, The Hokuseido Press, 1957
  • Oriental Humour, The Hokuseido Press, 1959(a)
  • Humour in English Literature: A Chronological Anthology, The Hokuseido Press, 1959(b); Reprint Folcroft Library Editions, 1973, ISBN 0-8414-3278-3
  • Japanese Life and Character in Senryu, The Hokuseido Press, 1960.
  • Edo Satirical Verse Anthologies, The Hokuseido Press, 1961; Heian International 1977, ISBN 9780893460150
  • A History of Haiku in Two Volumes. Volume 1: From the Beginnings up to Issa, 1963, ISBN 0-9647040-2-1. Volume 2: From Issa up to the Present, The Hokuseido Press, 1964, ISBN 0-9647040-3-X
  • Zen and Zen Classics, in Five Volumes (planned set of 8 Volumes), Volume 1: General Introduction, from the Upanishads to Huineng, 1960, ISBN 0-89346-204-7; also reprinted as 'What is Zen? General Introduction…', ISBN 4590011301. Volume 2: History of Zen (Seigen Branch),1964, ISBN 0-89346-205-5. Volume 3: History of Zen (cont'd) (Nangaku Branch), 1970 (posthumous; edited by N.A. Waddell and N. Inoue). Volume 4: Mumonkan, 1966 (posthumous); reprint 2002 under the title 'Mumonkan - The Zen Masterpiece'. Volume 5: Twenty-Five Zen Essays (wrong subtitle on Dust Jacket 'Twenty-Four Essays'), (first published as Volume 7, 1962), reprinted 1966, ISBN 0-89346-052-4. The Hokuseido Press
  • Translation: Ikkyu's Skeletons (with N. A. Waddell), in: The Eastern Buddhist, N.S. Vol. VI No. 1, May 1973
  • Poetry and Zen: Letters and Uncollected Writings of R. H. Blyth. Edited by N. A. Waddell, Shambala Publ., 2022, ISBN 978-1-61180-998-5


  • Games Zen Masters Play: Writings of R. H. Blyth, Edited by Robert Sohl and Audrey Carr, Signet, 1976, ISBN 9780451624161
  • Selections from R.H. Blyth, Zen and Zen Classics. Compiled and with Drawings by Frederick Franck, Vintage Books, 1978, ISBN 0-394-72489-5
  • Essentially Oriental. R. H. Blyth Selection, Edited by Kuniyoshi Munakata and Michael Guest, Hokuseido Press, 1994, ISBN 4-590-00954-4
  • The Genius of Haiku. Readings from R. H.Blyth on poetry, life, and Zen. With an Introduction by James Kirkup, The British Haiku Society, 1994, ISBN 9780952239703; The Hokuseido Press, 1995, ISBN 4-590-00988-9

Writings/Textbooks for Students:

  • Writings/Textbooks for Students (most of them at the University of Maryland, Hornbake Library, Gordon W. Prange Collection) include: R.L. Stevenson: Will O' the Mill, 1948; Selections from Thoreau's Journals, 1949; William Hazlitt: An Anthology, 1949; The Poems of Emerson: a Selection, 1949; A Chronological Anthology of Nature in English Literature, 1949; An Anthology of English Poetry, 1952; Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals (with Introduction and Footnotes), Hokuseido Press, 1952, ISBN 4590000385; R. L. Stevenson, Fables: with introduction and notes by R. H. Blyth, Nan'un-Do, Tokyo 1953; How to Read English Poetry, Hokuseido Press, (c.1957) 1958, 1971
  • Writings/Textbooks for Students (Publishing Unclear) include: An Anthology of Nineteenth Century Prose, 1950; Thoughts on Culture, 1950; A Chronological Anthology of Religion in English Literature, 1951; English Through Questions and Answers, 1951; Easy Poems, Book 1 and 2, 1959; More English through Questions and Answers, 1960;

Further reading[edit]

  • Robert Aitken, A Zen Wave. Basho's Haiku & Zen, Weatherhill, 1978, ISBN 0-8348-0137-X
  • Robert Aitken, Remembering Blyth Sensai, (c. 1985); in: Robert Aitken, Original Dwelling Place. Zen Buddhist Essays, Counterprint Press, 1996(a), ISBN 9781887178419
  • Robert Aitken, Openness and Engagement, (c. 1986); in: Robert Aitken, Original Dwelling Place. Zen Buddhist Essays, Counterprint Press, 1996(b), ISBN 9781887178419
  • Robert Aitken, the river of heaven. The Haiku of Basho, Buson, Issa, and Shiki, Counterpoint, 2011; ISBN 978-1-58243-710-1
  • Yoshio Arai, Zen in English Culture - Understanding Blyth Zen, The Hokuseido Press, 2005; ISBN 4-590-01190-5
  • Duncan Baker, Remembering R. H. Blyth; in: Kyoto Journal Issue 59, 2005
  • Shojun Bando, In Memory of Prof. Blyth; in: The Eastern Buddhist, New Series Vol.1 No.1, Sept. 1965
  • Roland Barthes, L'empire des signes, Edition d'Art Albert Skira, Switzerland, 1970 (trans.: Empire of Signs, Hill and Wang,1982)
  • Roland Barthes, The Preparation of the Novel. Lecture Courses and Seminars at the College de France (1978-1979 and 1979-1980), Columbia University Press, 2010
  • Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power, 1974
  • John W. Dower. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II., W. W. Norton. 1999, ISBN 978-0-393-04686-1
  • Motoko Fujii, Mr. Blyth in his Early Days / Wakakihino Buraisu-san; in: Y. Kawashima (ed), Blyth in Retrospect, 1984; (in Japanese)
  • James W.Hackett, R. H. Blyth and J. W. Hackett; in: World Haiku Review, Vol.2 Issue 3, Nov. 2002 [2]
  • Kaoru Hoshino, Why an American Quaker Tutor for the Crown Prince? An Imperial Household's Strategy to Save Emperor Hirohito in MacArthur's Japan, University of Pittsburgh, 2010
  • Christmas Humphreys, Zen Buddhism, Heinemann, 1949, ISBN 9780042940205
  • Aldous Huxley, Letter to Elise Murrel, 4 Nov. 1951; in: Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. by G. Smith, Chatto & Windus, 1969; and in: Essentially Oriental. R. H. Blyth Selection 1994, pXIV, (Sunday Times 1958)
  • Yasuyoshi Kawashima (ed), Blyth in Retrospect / Kaiso no Buraisu, 1984; (in Japanese)
  • Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, The Viking Press, 1958, ISBN 0-14-004252-0
  • James Kirkup, Introduction; in: The Genius of Haiku. Readings from R.H.Blyth on poetry, life, and Zen, The British Haiku Society, 1994, ISBN 9780952239703
  • Henry Miller, Letter to Lawrence Durrell, Nov. 11th 1959 and Aug. 12 1960; in: Lawrence Durrell / Henry Miller, The Durrell-Miller Letters: 1935–80; New Directions, 1988, ISBN 9780571150366
  • Henry Miller, When I reach for my Revolver; in: Stand still like a Hummingbird, 1962, New Directions, ISBN 978-0-8112-0322-7
  • Kuniyoshi Munakata, Thank you, Professor Blyth / Buraizu Sensei, Arigato, Sangokan, 2010, ISBN 978-4-88320-497-7; (in Japanese)
  • Kuniyoshi Munakata, The Most Remarkable American: R. H. Blyth on Henry David Thoreau, Nov. 2011, [3]
  • Kuniyoshi Munakata, A Short Introduction to R. H. Blyth, Feb. 2014, [4]
  • Osho, Zen: The Path of Paradox, (Talks given July 1977)
  • Osho, Take it Easy, (Talks given April–May 1978)
  • Osho, The Sun Rises in the Evening. Talks on Zen, (Talks given June 1978)
  • Osho, The Master of Silence; in: Osho, a bird on the wing. Zen Anecdotes for Everyday Life, ISBN 978-0-9836400-8-0
  • Octavio Paz, La Poesia de Matsuo Basho c. 1954; in: Matsuo Basho, Sendas de Oku, Seix Barral, c. 1970 i 1981, ISBN 84-322-3845-7
  • Octavio Paz, Topoemas (c. 1968) / Topoems; in: The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz 1957–1987, edited and translated by E. Weinberger, Carcanet.1988, ISBN 0-85635-787-1
  • Adrian Pinnington, R.H. Blyth, 1898–1964; in: Ian Nish (Ed.), Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Volume I, Ch. 19, Japan Library, 1994; Reprint RoutledgeCurzon 2003, ISBN 1-873410-27-1
  • Donald Richie, The Japan Journals 1947–2004, Stone Bridge Press, 2004a, ISBN 1880656914
  • Donald Richie, Zen Inklings, Weatherhill, (c. 1982), 2004b; (Notes and Commentaries, pp. 120–125)
  • Jerome D. Salinger, Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters / Seymour: An Introduction, (c. 1955/c. 1959, The New Yorker); Little, Brown and Co. (c. 1963), 1991
  • Thibaine Samoyault, Barthes. A Biography, Polity Press, 2016
  • Katsuki Sekida, Two Zen Classics. The Gateless Gate and The Blue Cliff Records, 1995, ISBN 978-1-59030-282-8
  • Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, Illuminatus! - Trilogy [written 1969-1971], Dell Publ., NY, 1975, ISBN 1567312373
  • Masanosuke Shinki, About Blyth / Buraisu no koto; in: Y. Kawashima (ed), Blyth in Retrospect, 1984; (in Japanese)
  • Raymond Smullyan, The Tao is Silent, Harper & Row, 1977, ISBN 0-06-067469-5
  • Raymond Smullyan, Planet without Laughter, 1980; (
  • Gary Snyder, The Path to Matsuyama; in modern Haiku 36.2, summer 2005 [5]
  • John Suiter, Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades, Counterprint, 2002
  • D. T. Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture, Princeton University Press (Bollingen Series), 1959, ISBN 9780691098494
  • D. T. Suzuki, Reginald Horace Blyth 1898-1964 (Memorial Article); in: The Eastern Buddhist, New Series Vol.1 No.1, Sept. 1965; Reprint, Blyth, Zen and Zen Classics Vol.4 (dust jacket), 1966
  • Makoto Ueda, Literary and Art Theories in Japan, The Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1967
  • John Updike, Review of 'Franny and Zooey' by J. D. Salinger, The New York Times, Sept. 1961
  • Janwillem van de Wetering, The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery, 1973, ISBN 0-345-33946-0
  • Janwillem van de Wetering, Afterzen - Experiences of a Zen Student Out on his Ear, St. Martin's Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0312204938
  • Alan W. Watts, The Way of Zen, Pantheon Books, 1957, ISBN 978-0375705106
  • Alan Watts, In My Own Way: An Autobiographie 1915–1965, Pantheon Books, 1972, ISBN 9781577315841
  • Alan Watts, Buddhism: The Religion of No-Religion, ed. Mark Watts, edited transcripts, 1999, Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3203-X
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1922
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lecture on Ethics, 1929
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 1953
  • Michael Dylan Welch, The Haiku Sensibilities of E. E. Cummings; in: Spring 4 (The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society), 1995
  • Ikuyo Yoshimura, Zen to Haiku: The Life of R. H. Blyth / R. H. Buraisu no Shogai, Zen to Haiku o Aishite, 1996; ISBN 978-4810422900; (in Japanese)
  • Ikuyo Yoshimura, R. H. Blyth and World Haiku; in: World Haiku Review, Vol.2 Issue 3, Nov. 2002

Further listening[edit]

  • Alan W. Watts, Zen and Senryu, Read by Alan Watts and Sumire Hasegawa Jacobs, Musical commentary by Vincent Delgado, Translations by R. H. Blyth, CD locust music 49, 2004 (Vinyl 1959)
  • Alan W. Watts, Haiku, Read by Alan Watts and Sumire Jacobs, Musical commentary by Vincent Delgado, Translations by R. H. Blyth, CD locust music 50, 2004 (first broadcast on KPFA Radio 1958; Vinyl 1959)


  1. ^ Pinnington 1994, p254; Kirkup 1994, p5; Suzuki, dust jacket Blyth, Zen Classics Vol. 4
  2. ^ Pinnington 1994, p254; Kirkup 1994, p6
  3. ^ UEDA Munakata Kuniyoshi, A Short Introduction to R.H. Blyth p5; in: The Bulletin of the International Society for Harmonization of Cultures & Civilizations No.20, 2014, Nihon University [1]
  4. ^ Dower 1999, p310
  5. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.3, p70
  6. ^ Pinnington 1994; Kirkup 1994
  7. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, 2, 4 (dust jackets)
  8. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.4 (dust jacket)
  9. ^ Huxley 1951, (1958)
  10. ^ Durrell/Miller 1988, p285,364,377 and Miller 1962, p61
  11. ^ Salinger c. 1963
  12. ^ Shea/Wilson 1975, vol.3, annot. 29, ('teth') and vol.1, book 1 ('Chokmah'); also Blyth 1942, p21, van de Wetering 1973, Chap.5
  13. ^ Watts 1957, and 1972, 1999
  14. ^ Humphreys 1949, Chap. Ten
  15. ^ Aitken c. 1985, 1996(a)
  16. ^ Sekida 2005, p18
  17. ^ Richie 2004a, p17f (early summer 1947); Richie c. 1982, 2004b, pp120
  18. ^ Smullyan 1977
  19. ^ van de Wetering 1999, p51
  20. ^ Osho 1977
  21. ^ Blyth 1960, preface
  22. ^ Blyth 1960, p269
  23. ^ Blyth, Senryu 1949, p41; Blyth 1960, p465
  24. ^ Blyth, Senryu 1949, p37f
  25. ^ Snyder 2005; Suiter 2002, p21, p47
  26. ^ "Whalen 1923-2002".
  27. ^ Kerouac 1958; (w. Gary Snyder as Japhy Ryder)
  28. ^ "Collected Haiku".
  29. ^ Salinger (c.1955 and 1959;c.1963) 1991, p118, and p67; for 'poem himself'. quoting Milton, see Blyth 1942, p264; for Blyth's definition of 'sentimentality' see Blyth (1949-52) Vol.2, p229 and Updike 1961
  30. ^ Paz 1988 (c.1968), notes, p.648; Paz 1954
  31. ^ Welch 1995
  32. ^ "BOOKS THAT MOST INFLUENCED ME – Luke Rhinehart". Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  33. ^ Barthes 2010, Sessions January 6, 1979 to February 24, 1979 (in the Index Nominum see Robert (sic!) H. Blyth); Samoyault 2016, Chap. 12. For bibliographical confusions, Barthes 2010, p415n24
  34. ^ see also Suzuki 1959, Chap. VII, and Barthes 1970
  35. ^ Makoto Ueda 1967; see also Blyth (1949-52) Vol.4, pp95
  36. ^ see Blyth (1949-52) Vol.3, p231f., 433, 435f., Vol.2, 363
  37. ^ Blyth (1963-64) Vol.1, p.207, p223
  38. ^ Blyth (1963-64) Vol.2, p349
  39. ^ Blyth (1963-64) Vol.2, p347
  40. ^ Hackett 2002
  41. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.5, p54
  42. ^ Aitken c.1986, 1996(b), p27; Arai 2005, p183; the dialogue took place, when Blyth first met Suzuki in October, 1941
  43. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.2, p62
  44. ^ Blyth 1942, p92; parallels in Wittgenstein 1953, § 255
  45. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.2, p203; cp. Castaneda 1974, Part 2, The Tonal and the Nagual
  46. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.5, p93[header]
  47. ^ Blyth 1961, p236
  48. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p98
  49. ^ Blyth 1942, p251; cp. Wittgenstein: 1929, last paragraph; 1953, § 119; 1922, 5.6, 6.521
  50. ^ Blyth 1942, p189; see also Blyth 1960, p178 and Blyth (1949-52) Vol.4, p77
  51. ^ Blyth, Oriental Humour, p266
  52. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p16
  53. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.4, p73
  54. ^ Blyth 1959(a), p66
  55. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.4, p275
  56. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p26
  57. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.4, p270
  58. ^ Blyth 1942, p203
  59. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p189
  60. ^ Blyth, Oriental Humour, p366/67[plate]
  61. ^ Blyth, Letter to Hackett; in: The Genius of Haiku 1994, p133
  62. ^ Blyth, Humour in English Literature, p28
  63. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.5, p130; see also Smullyan 1980, Osho 2013
  64. ^ Blyth, Oriental Humour, p93; Zen and Zen Classics Vol. 3, p38
  65. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.2, p137
  66. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.2, p181
  67. ^ Blyth (1963-64) Vol.2, p360
  68. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p7(Preface)
  69. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p20
  70. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.2, p179f
  71. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p18
  72. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.3, p82; Vol.4, p218; Vol.4, p.201f; Vol.3, p36; Vol.3, p159f; see also Vol.3, p179f
  73. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.1, p33
  74. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.4, p218
  75. ^ Blyth, Zen Classics Vol.5, p53

External links[edit]