About this Research Project
Newly Added Extra Web Page Menus
The Chinese Ch'an Monk P'u-k'o, the Komosō Beggars
& the Imperialistic Catholic Christian Intruders
- the Rōnin Samurai, the Fuke-Komosō, the Komusō
& the Kyōto Myōan Temple - an Unbiased Narrative
The Amazing Fuke Zenji / Fuke Shakuhachi /
Fuke-shū Legend Fabrication Hoax
To be - or not to be: a "Zen Buddhist Priest"?
Preliminary Realizations & Conclusions
1549 ... The Catholic Christian Century in Japan
& the Temple Patron Household System
Ascetic Shakuhachi Ideology
and the Realization of The Non-Dual
- Highlighted Quotations
Chronology of Ascetic Shakuhachi
Ideology-related Terms, Concepts & Names
Various Errors, Misconceptions & Loose Ends
Wikipedia: Inaccuracies & Misunderstandings
regarding Komusō, Fuke-shū, Suizen etc.
The Source Collections
The Japanese Written Sources - An Overview
Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
A Chronological Panorama
• INDIA - 1 webpage
• CHINA - 2 webpages
• JAPAN - 8 webpages
• The WEST - 1 webpage
Research Cases of Particular Significance,
Real Importance & Special Concern
ERA of the KOMOSŌ - The "Mat Monks"
c. 1450 to c. 1550
1470s?: The Dance-kyōgen Play Rakuami
1474: Tōyō Eichō and Ikkyū Sōjun at the
Inauguration of the Rebuilt Daitoku Temple
1494 & 1501: Two Enchanting Muromachi Period
Poetry Contest Picture Scrolls
1512: The Taigenshō Court Music Treatise
ERA of the FUKE-SŌ / FUKE-KOMOSŌ
c. 1550 to c. 1640
The Komosō & Fuke-sō / Fuke-komosō Sources
1550-1560: The Setsuyō-shū Dictionaries
1614: The Keichō kenmon-shū Short Story Book:
The Fuke-komosō in Hachiō-ji, West of Edo City
1621-1625: The Neo-Confucian Scholar Hayashi Razan
on the Shakuhachi, Komosō and Related Matters
1623: Anrakuan Sakuden's Encounter
with a Wandering Fuke-sō
1628: The Kaidō honsoku Fuke-komosō Credo
1637-1640: The Shimabara Uprising on Kyūshū,
the National "Sects Inspection Bureau"
and the Final Extinction of All Catholic Believers
c. 1640?: The Kaidō honsoku "Version 2"
ERA of the KOMUSŌ
"Monks of the Non-Dual & None-ness"
c. 1640 to 1871
The Early Komusō-related Texts
- from c. 1640 to c. 1752
c. 1640?: The Strange Butsu-gen Komusō Document
1646: Abbot Isshi Bunshu's Letter to the
"Proto-Komusō" Sandō Mugetsu
1646 ... The Hottō Kokushi / Kakushin Legend:
"The Four Buddhist Laymen" & the "Disciple" Kichiku
1650s?: The Kaidō honsoku "Version 3" Copy
The Kyōto/Kansai Sources
1664: The Shichiku shoshinshū Music Treatise
c, 1665-1675?: The Kyotaku denki Fairy Tale:
Shinchi Kakushin, Kichiku & Kyōto Myōan-ji
The Edo/Kantō/Tōkyō Sources
1677: The Enpō 5, 6th Month
Reihō-ji Komusō Set of Rules
1678: The Enpō 5, 12th Month Komusō-ha Oboe
Bakufu Memorandum of January 11th, 1678
1687: The Jōkyō 4, 6th Month
Reihō-ji Komusō Set of Rules
c. 1685-1690: The Yōshū fu-shi
& Jinrin kinmō zu-i - Evidence of Myōan-ji
1694: Myōan-ji Founder Engetsu Ryōgen's
23 Rules for his Komusō Disciples
1703 & 1705: The Kyōto Myōan-ji
c/o Kōkoku-ji & Myōshin-ji Interrelationship
1722: The Kyōhō 7, 6th Month,
Reihō-ji Komusō Memorandum
1730: The Kyōhō 15, 7th Month, Ichigetsu-ji
& Reihō-ji Komusō Memorandum
1732: The Shakuhachi denrai-ki
and Early Honkyoku History
1735: Kyōto Myōan-ji Temple Chief Admin
Kandō Ichiyū's Letter about Sankyorei-fu,
the "Three Non-Dual Spirit Music Pieces"
1751: The Keichō 19/1614 Komusō Certificate
The Many Different All Fabricated Versions
1752: Kyōto Myōan-ji Founder Engetsu
Ryōgen's 23 Fixed Rules for the Komusō
1795: The Kyotaku denki kokujikai Source Book
1816: Miyaji Ikkan's Shakuhachi hikki Book
1823: Hisamatsu Fūyō's Hitori mondō a.o.
Post-Edo & Post-WW2 Period History Sources & Matters
The Re-Writing & Re-Falsification
of Shakuhachi Narratives
1 - MEIJI PERIOD till the mid-19th CENTURY
1871? (1843-44): The Komusō zakki
From 1879 ... 1896-1914 & 1967-1971:
The Koji ruien Source Collection
2 - POST-WW2 till TODAY: JAPAN
1950: "The Myōan Temple of the True Fuke Sect"
Inauguration at Tōfuku Temple in SE Kyōto
1960: Uramoto Setchō's Essay about
Gyō no ongaku: "Music of Asceticism"
3 - POST-WW2 till TODAY: The WEST
1945 ... : Some Early Post-WW2 Shakuhachi Narratives
Written and Published in Western Languages
Translations of Shakuhachi Source Texts
published in the West / Outside of Japan
including the Internet / WWW
- The Translators
Literature / References
Profile / Bio / CV
WELCOME ☺ INTRODUCTION
Unveiling & Verifying the Actual Origins & Secrets
of Ascetic Shakuhachi Traditions, Ideologies & Practices
An Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi Historical Chronology,
Terminology, Ideology, Iconology & Practices in Particular
- by Danish/Icelandic Torsten Mukuteki Olafsson, Elsinore, North Sealand: Multimusician, composer, music editor, graphics designer, japanologist, shakuhachi historian, writer & lecturer.
"Japanischer Bettler als Klarinettbläser"
"A Japanese Beggar as Clarinet Player"
Komusō in Gustav A. Spieß, 1864, page 201
This is but the second oldest known Western picture of a performing shakuhachi-playing beggar lay monk. It was printed from an engraving based on an original photograph taken in 1861 somewhere in Nagasaki in SW Japan by either August Sachtler or John Wilson during the visit there of the official Prussian Expedition to Japan, 1860-61.
Who were the komusō, 虚無僧,
the "Pseudo-monks of Non-Duality *) & None-ness" **)
and their predecessors, their "forerunners", the komo-sō,
薦僧, the so called "Mat Monks"?
[ *) or, "of Non-Substantiality" - **) or, "Egolessness")
What do the many surviving written Japanese source documents and plentiful pictorial evidence de facto clarify to us
about 'Komosō Shakuhachi', 'Fuke-komosō Shakuhachi',
'Komusō Shakuhachi', 'Fuke Shakuhachi', 'Zen Shakuhachi'
- and 'Suizen' - history and ideology, in particular?
That is what the present "Zen Shakuhachi Reality Research Web Pages" are all about.
Please enjoy ☺ The Very Best Wishes
Torsten 無穴笛 Olafsson - Helsingør/Elsinore, North Sealand, Denmark
WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? WHO? HOW? WHY?
Overall conclusion that has manifested itself
as a result of the present research project
The asserted history and alleged characteristics of Ascetic Shakuhachi Practices in Japan have been most purposefully "constructed" since the very early beginnings.
This more or less constantly ongoing activity of deliberate source falsification, forging and fanciful myth fabrication is taking place still, this very day -
generated by "professionals" and "amateurs" alike,
inside as well as outside of Japan - be they both shakuhachi musicians and players, musicologists and "history" writers, book editors and publishers - beside a wide variety of enough so sincerely devoted shakuhachi "admirers" in general.
Very little indeed of what you can find and read in most of the books and articles, in phonogram cover notes
and on the internet - be that on websites or weblogs presented in a variety of languages - can actually be soberly corroborated when first one is investigating the totality of known, preserved text and picture source materials etc. - the multitude, comprehensiveness and complexity of which is not only aweinspiring but truly terrifying.
The very most central and important fact having so far been revealed is that there were absolutely no socalled komusō,
虚無僧, "Pseudo-monks of Non-Duality & None-ness",
in existence and action in Japan before after the quite precise year of 1640, what so ever!
The most important - some might think: Controversial, heretic, provocative, maybe even somehow insulting? findings and conclusions at the present time of writing are the following:
• There existed nothing like an "established Zen shakuhachi tradition" during the Japanese Middle Ages, the Muromachi Period, nor before that time, for that matter.
• There were no so called komusō,
虚無僧, "Monks of the Non-Dual & None-ness",
in action in Japan before the 1640s - that is plain and clear.
• Nothing, no one, nor any "group", such as specifically a so called "Fuke Sect", Fuke-shū,
普化宗, was "officially approved" in 1677-1678.
In fact, that never happened, even later. Period ☺
• The earliest possibly reliable written evidence of anything like a "Fuke Sect", Fuke-shū,
is dated 1687 - produced by the Edo temple Reihō-ji,
That particular document, in the version of it that has been preserved till today, however, may well have been somehow "falsified" in that respect / to that "effect" at a later date, by its editors.
• The so called Fuke-shū - if ever it might have existed and functioned in some form of capacity as a "unified, top-down organized religious congregation" on a nation-wide basis at all - it was definitely neer "a genuine sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism".
There are no surviving documents or other evidence at all that can be seen to support such a belief or even claim.
The only "temple" that appears to have enjoyed if only some however limited degree of "connection" with the established Rinzai Sect organization was the Myōan Temple in Eastern Kyōto - see entries 1703 & 1705.
None of the early extant Myōan Temple documents mention any Fuke-shū at all in their contents. In fact, dated even as late as 1752, a very central and comprehensive Myōan Temple document refers to the "congregation" as
Komusō shūmon, 虚無僧宗門, i.e. "Komusō Sect / Creed / Doctrine" - not Fuke-shū, or Fuke-shūmon.
• The oldest convincingly dated existing pictorial representation of a typical long and heavy root-end bamboo flute of the komusō is dated 1690.
• The earliest written mention of the term honkyoku,
is dated 1694 - in the oldest reliable Kyōto Myōan Temple document, that we know of.
• The earliest fully trustworthy reference to actual honkyoku music piece titles is dated as "late" as 1732.
• The term sui-zen,
was not known and used in Japan before 1950.
• The terms zen shakuhachi,
and shakuhachi zen,
were not "invented" and spread in the world before the 1970s, at the earliest.
The ESS Summer School Vejle 2017 "Pictures & Quotations Exhibition"
On the European Shakuhachi Society founder and chair person Kiku Day's kind invitation,
Danish/Icelandic Torsten Olafsson designed and presented a
"Zen Shakuhachi Reality Research Pix & Quotes Exhibition"
for the ESS Summer School Vejle 2017 event ...
Significant Friendly International Collaborations☺
Kiku Day who is now a longtime permanent resident of beautiful rural Mid-Western Denmark has been a dear and respected friend of mine for many years.
With her superb PhD degree in Ethnomusicology from SOAS in London, Kiku took the courageous steps and necessary initiatives to establish the European Shakuhachi Society
while still acting prominently in the capacity as that very important community's most energetically event-making, inspirational chairperson.
Read much more here on Kiku's personal homepage
I was enthusiastically assisting and supporting Kiku Day in preparing for the succesful ESS Summer School 2017 that took place in Vejle, Jutland, Denmark.
The European Shakuhachi Society - founded by Kiku Day in January, 2008
Click here to link to the European Shakuhachi Society's official homepage
July 2017: ESS Shakuhachi Summer School in Vejle, Mid-Western Denmark ☺
In 2003, Mr. Monty H. Levenson of Tai Hei Shakuhachi in Willits, N. California, USA, generously printed and published my Kaidō honsoku,
海道本則, MA thesis (1987) - still available from www.shakuhachi.com.
You may click in the photos to study a presentation of the publication:
I am the very happy and grateful owner of several exquisite professional shakuhachi flutes of Monty H. Levenson's unique making
Read more about Monty H. Levenson on the web page "The West", entry "1970".
Mr. Ronald Nelson, president of the International Shakuhachi Society (ISS, at www.komuso.com) has supplied to me both numerous scannings of essential rare Japanese texts
and, not least, most valuable photos of his taken in the "Komusō Room" of the Matsudo City Museum in NW Chiba and at the Tokyo National Museum.
Please do visit the outstanding art photographer's no less than breathtakingly amazing picture website and appreciate his numerous photos
from the trips of his all over East and South Asia - and elsewhere:
Link to the "Ronald Nelson Photography" homepage
Photo: Japanese tōrii gate. Source: Ronald Nelson's personal Facebook page.
Mr. Kishi Kiyokazu, 貴志清一, Japan, has contributed prominently
with so far two very important historical Fuke Shakuhachi texts/documents generously made readable here in modern Japanese,
transcribed from the Kanbun and classical Japanese originals, respectively.
Do visit Mr. Kishi's comprehensive Japanese website via this link:
Link to 尺八吹奏研究会HP
- The Shakuhachi Performance Research Society HomePage edited by Kishi Kiyokazu
Links to recent 2016 updates on the homepage can be found page bottom on this newly updated web page:
Link to The January 11, 1678 Komusō-ha Oboe-gaki web page
Kishi Kiyokazu's fine work on Hisamatsu Fuyō's Hitori mondō dated 1823 can be appreciated here:
Link to the 1823 Hitori mondō webpage
1.8 Myōan Taizan-ha shakuhachi made by Ozawa Seizan, 1939-2012
'MU-KU-TEKI SUI ZEN'
"No-Hole-Flute Breathing Contemplation"
Calligraphy signed 'Myōan Taizan'