Skip to content Skip to footer

D.T. Suzuki on Swedenborg. An Introduction

Author: Federica Sgarbi

Source: Global Perspectives on Japan (GPJ), No.5 (2022), pp.64-82
Publisher: Forum Tauri Press
Keywords: Buddhism, Kant, religion, culture, Suzuki Daisetsu, Swedenborg


The Japanese Buddhist scholar and philosopher Daisetsu Teitarō Suzuki (1870-1966) is known for his contributions and eff orts to promote Zen Buddhism in the West. However, a field of investigation, diligently cultivated by the religious scholar and somewhat neglected in the relevant literature, is his research on the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Suzuki, a devoted admirer of the European author, considered his works a valuable point of reference for overcoming the profound spiritual crisis widespread in Japan at the end of the 19th century. Therefore, he did his utmost to make his books known by translating them into Japanese and through his writings. Suzuki’s research off ers an original contribution to philosophy and the history of religion and an unprecedented interpretation of the figure of Swedenborg, perhaps known more for Kant’s criticism of his work than for his theological views. This article aims to introduce these contributions, retracing the life and works of the Swedish mystic, with specific reference to the analogies that Suzuki identified between Swedenborg’s and Buddhist thought.