1678, January 11: The Komusō-ha Oboe Memorandum
This webpage has been created with very generous contributions from Kishi Kiyokazu, 貴志清一, Japan,
and Ronald Nelson, USA, for which I do warmly thank them both.
Go to page bottom for links to Mr. Kishi's comprehensive Japanese language shakuhachi homepage.
*** Latest news as of August 2, 2016:
My own complete English translation of the document can now be found and studied at the bottom of this webpage.
覚 - OBOE
Here you see an annotated reprint of a very important Fuke Shakuhachi related document
that is exhibited in copy in the Komusō Room of the Matsudo City Museum in NW Chiba Prefecture.
This is the vicinity in which the memorable "Fuke Sect" temple Ichigetsu-ji was located during the Edo Period after it had been established there at some time
during the last quarter of the 17th century.
覚 - 'Oboe'
- Annotated reprint of the socalled "Edict of the Empō Period"
Photo taken by Ronald Nelson in Summer 2014.
This document is generally being regarded, accepted and highly respected as presenting full and reliable evidence of the socalled
"Fuke Sect" having been officially recognized and authorized by the "Temples & Shrines Magistrate Department" in Edo -
and thus the Tokugawa Bakufu régime - towards the ultimate close of the 5th year of the Empō Period (1673-1681).
Click in the photo to enlarge.
The above picture appears to show one existing photographic reproduction of an actual, original Oboe, or "Memorandum", document.
According to the small sign under the picture, it is a treasure of the Myōan Temple in Kyōto.
Both photos were most kindly taken by Ronald Nelson of the International Shakuhachi Society at the Matsudo City Museum in Summer 2014.
In december 2015, my fine friend and longtime serious shakuhachi researcher Kishi Kiyokazu,
貴志清一, in Japan generously offered me the possibility of
presenting on my Zen-shakuhachi website here his fine renderings into both classical and modern Japanese of this very important komusō document
known as the "Enpō 5 Edict" - or, "Memorandum", in Japanese: Oboe, 覚 -
dated towards the very end of the fifth year of the Enpō Period which lasted from 1673 through 1681.
In the following presentation I have also included Kishi Kiyokazu's own comments in English to the document,
its contents and significance, in his own personal opinion and qualified interpretation.
Thank you very much for this fine favour of yours, Kishi-san :-)
一 本寺之 (住職者) 其末寺并本寺之弟子
仲間 以衆評 撰器量 可相立之
後 住契約并遺状 不可立之
一 弟子契約之儀 改其人 慥取証人 可極之
附 虚無僧之作法 古来定通 従本寺
弥 念入 急度 可申付事。
一 末寺并弟子中 背法令 仕置時 小科之者
断本寺 可任指図 大科之族者 達奉行所
落着可申付之 理不盡之働 仕間敷候事。
右之條〃 堅可相守之 若 於違背之
太 摂津 判
板 石見 判
小 山城 判
Paragraph 1 rendered in classical Japanese (yomikudashi) by Kishi Kiyokazu:
Paragraph 1 rendered in modern Japanese by Kishi Kiyokazu:
Kishi Kiyokazu's comment to Par. 1:
There was a relation between a main temple 本寺（ほんじ）
and the branch temples 末寺（まつじ）.
This provision refers to the way in which a chief priest should be selected and appointed.
It admits/confirms the autonomy of the Fuke Sect.
Paragraph 2 rendered in classical Japanese (yomikudashi) by Kishi Kiyokazu:
Paragraph 2 rendered in modern Japanese by Kishi Kiyokazu:
Kishi Kiyokazu's comment to Par. 2:
This provision states the way to select or permit a disciple.
If he is a criminal, he cannot become a Fuke monk.
Paragraph 3 rendered in classical Japanese (yomikudashi) by Kishi Kiyokazu:
Paragraph 3 rendered in modern Japanese by Kishi Kiyokazu:
Kishi Kiyokazu's comment to Par. 3:
The punishment of a light crime must be enforced by the Fuke Sect and a heavy crime by the Shogunate magistrate's office.
That is the ordinary way of the Shōgunate.
Paragraph "4" rendered in classical Japanese (yomikudashi) by Kishi Kiyokazu:
大 摂津 守 御印
板 石見 守 御印
小 山城 守 御印
Paragraph "4" rendered in modern Japanese by Kishi Kiyokazu:
延宝5 丁巳年 12月 18日
[=１６７8年 1月 11日]
Kishi Kiyokazu's comment to Par. "4":
Ōta, Itakura, and Koide were the supreme officials of the Temple & Shrine Department.
So this document is public and has a binding force.
This document is an utmost important one, because this is the official one.
And from now and that time on Komusō were admitted as Zen priests.
Kishi Kiyokazu, December 2015
by Torsten Olafsson as of August 2, 2016
The chief monk of a [or, of the] head temple must be elected and appointed from among the disciples of the highest standard in the sub temples and the head temple(s).
Even if there exists a master-disciple relationship [possibly, between two rōnin komusō?],
that must not be allowed any influence on the selection and written appointment of a chief monk.
As for the chief monk of a sub temple he must report to the head temple in case there arises a dispute or a conflict among that temple's disciples.
At the time of accepting (or, contracting with) a [new] disciple, that person's background and identity must be certified and confirmed in formal writing
by a [or, by one or more] witness(es) before a final decision [can be settled].
Convicted and banished persons who have acted contrary to the fundamental laws must be arrested and taken prisoners (or, taken into custody].
Even so more, the head temple must definitely and thoroughly so instruct that the etiquette (or, manners) of the Komusô since times of old
be ever increasingly observed and respected.
At the time when a sub temple and/or a disciple are to be punished for having acted against the laws,
minor offenders are to make a humble plea to the head temple and accept the resulting mandate.
Persons who have committed serious wrongdoing must be handed over to the government magistrates, for their official judgement in the matter.
Outrageous behaviour that is not in accordance with the underlying Principles of the Cosmos [acc. to Neo-Confucianism] is not acceptable [lit., does not serve].
The above paragraphs must be firmly observed and obeyed.
If they are violated that is very unlawful.
Empō 5th, the 'hinoto mi' year, 12th month, 18th day *)
= January 11, 1678, year of the cyclic sign 'hinoto mi' *)
Ōta Settsu no Kami [seal] **)
Governor Director ['Kami'] of the Settsu Province (SE part of Hyōgo Prefecture
and the Northern part of Ōsaka Prefecture)
Itakura Iwami no Kami [seal] ***)
Governor Director ['Kami'] of the Iwami Province (Western part of Shimane Prefecture)
Koide Yamashiro no Kami [seal] ****)
Governor Director ['Kami'] of the Yamashiro Province (Southern part of Kyōto Prefecture)
(To) All Komusō Factions
*) The cyclic sign 'hinoto mi', 丁巳, is not correct for this date.
The cyclic sign for Empō 5-12-18 should be 'tsuchinoe uma', 戊午!
Direct link to the online Zöllner & Tsuchihashi Year Period and Cyclic Sign Calculator & Generator
**) Personal name: Ōta Suketsugu, 太田 資次;
in office as Temples & Shrines Magistrate in 1676-1678.
***) Personal name: Itakura Shigetane, 板倉 重種;
in office as Temples & Shrines Magistrate in 1677-1680.
****) Personal name: Koide ???, 小出 ?
Do note that there was no person with the family name 'Koide' in office in Empō 5!
However, in fact a certain Ogasawara Yamashiro no Kami, 小笠原 山城 守,
personal name: Ogasawara Naganori, 小笠原 長矩,
was indeed in office as Temples & Shrines Magistrate in 1666-1678.
Source: WikiPedia: Jisha bugyō
A deepening commentary will be added soon ...
August 2nd, 2016
Link to 尺八吹奏研究会HP
- The Shakuhachi Performance Research Society HomePage edited by Kishi Kiyokazu
A few selected 2016 updates by Kishi Kiyokazu on his Japanese language shakuhachi home page:
A visit in Matsudo City in NW Chiba Prefecture, and the city museum there
A visit at the Kōkoku-ji Zen temple in Yura, Wakayama
Main Hall of the Kōkoku Temple in Yura, Wakayama Pref., Japan.
Photo by Kishi Kiyokazu, July 2016
A walk around the Kumano Kōdō in S. Wakayama Prefecture
A study of the statue of Kyochiku Ryōen Zenji at the Myōan Temple in Kyōto
An Empō Period shakuhachi-playing mendicant komusō?
Before or after 1690? - perhaps even some time before 1683?:
A komusō playing a root-end shakuhachi in a Kyōto street
Detail from the 'Tohi zumaki', 都鄙図巻, "Town & Country Picture Scroll".
A very long and impressive picture scroll painted on silk. By Sumiyoshi Gukei, 1631-1705
Originally a treasure of the Konbu-in in Nara, now exhibited at (link)
Tōkyō National Museum
Sumiyoshi Gukei was born and lived in Kyōto until 1683 when he moved to Edo, present day Tōkyō, where he died in 1705.
In: Izumi Takeo, 2013, p. 93.