The Tribe (Buzoku)

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The Tribe was the best known name of a loose-knit countercultural group in Japan in the 1960s and 70s.


Central figures of the group's beginnings in Shinjuku and leadership included Nanao Sakaki, Tetsuo Nagasawa, Sansei Yamao, Mamoru Kato, and Kenji Akiba, who shared an interest in an alternative community, free from materialism.


This group initially called itself "the Bum Academy" or sometimes Harijan, and published three issues of a magazine, Psyche. Around the time the group obtained land in Nagano Prefecture and on Suwanosejima, "the Tribe" (Buzoku) became their best known name. Starting in December 1967, they published a newspaper, also called Buzoku.


By 1970, according to Yamao, a few thousand young people felt some varying degrees of belonging to the Tribe. American poet and scholar Gary Snyder was also an influential member of the Tribe. Bhagavan Das spent some time with the Tribe on Suwanosejima in 1971-2.[1]


Sakaki found available land on Suwanosejima and brought several friends there, from the highland farm they had already started in Nagano,[2] in May 1967. This was the beginning of the "Banyan Ashram".[3] In 2004, according to Sakaki, some ten families were still living at this commune.[4]


  1. ^ Das 1997, pg. 186
  2. ^ Snyder 1999, pg. 62
  3. ^ Halper 1991, pp. 98-100
  4. ^ "Nanao Sakaki Interview". Retrieved 2012-12-24.