Shakuhachi



「禅尺八」現実研究   ホームページ

The "Zen Shakuhachi" Reality Research Web Pages

An Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi Historical Chronology,
Terminology & Etymology of Concepts, Ideology, Iconology & Practices in Particular


By Torsten Mukuteki Olafsson • トーステン 無穴笛 オーラフソンデンマーク • Denmark

 



Introduction

Sitemap - All Menu Items List

Newly Added Extra Web Page Menus


About this Research Project

Preliminary Realizations & Conclusions


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"?


Highlighted Illustrations


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
     about 'Komusō', 'Fuke-shū', 'Suizen' et cetera



The Source Collections

The Japanese Written Sources - An Overview






Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
     A Chronological Panorama



 •  INDIA - 1 web page

 •  CHINA - 2 web pages

 •  JAPAN - 8 web pages

 •  The WEST - 1 web page






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, Kyōto


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. 1628?



The Komosō & Fuke-sō / Fuke-komosō Sources


1550-1560: The Early 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-komosō


1627-1629: Takuan Sōhō, the Purple Robe Affair, the
     Concept of 'Mu-shin Mu-nen' and the Myōan sōsō-shū


1628: The Kaidō honsoku Fuke-komosō Credo






ERA of the KOMUSŌ
     "Monks of the Non-Dual & None-ness"

     c. 1628? to 1871



The Early Komusō-related Texts
     - from c. 1628? to c. 1750



1628?: A "Fuke Shakuhachi" related Murder Case
     in the Province of Tosa on the Island of Shikoku?


1637-1640: The Shimabara Uprising on Kyūshū,
     the National "Sects Inspection Bureau", and the
     Efficient Extinction of Catholic Christian Believers


c. 1640?: The Kaidō honsoku "Version 2" Copy

1640?: Is a Very Early "Komusō Temple" built
     in Nagasaki on the Island of Kyūshū?


c. 1640?: The Strange Butsu-gen Komusō Document

1646: Abbot Isshi Bunshu's Letter to a
     "Proto-Komusō" named 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


1659?: A Falsely Dated Myōan-ji Document Revealed

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 Kyōto 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 Administrator
     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. texts


The Kiyū shōran Encyclopedia
     on 'Komosō' & 'Shakuhachi'







Post-Edo & Post-WW2 Period History Sources & Matters
     The Re-Writing & Re-Falsification
     of "Fuke Shakuhachi" Narratives



1 - MEIJI PERIOD till the mid-20th CENTURY

     1868-1945



1871? (1843-44): The Komusō zakki
     Source Collection



From 1879 ... 1896-1914:
     The Koji ruien Historical Encyclopedia



1890: Higuchi Taizan - Teaching, the "Myōan Society",
     and the Taizan-ha Tradition of Shakuhachi Asceticism



1902: Mikami Sanji's Critical Article
     'Fuke-shū ni tsuite', "About the Fuke Sect"


Early 20th Century Historians & Musicians, Japan:
     Kurihara Kōta, Uramoto Setchō,
     Nakatsuka Chikuzen, Tanikita Mujiku,
     Tomimori Kyozan, Ikeda Jūzan a.o.



1931-1932: Tokugawa kinreikō - A Source Collection
     of Tokugawa Period Prohibition Laws







2 - POST-WW2 till TODAY: JAPAN

     1945 ...



1950: "The Myōan Temple of the True Fuke Sect"
     Inauguration at Tōfuku Temple in SE Kyōto


1950s: Yasuda Tenzan, Hirazumi Taizan & 'Suizen'

1960: Uramoto Setchō's Essay about
     'Gyō no ongaku': "Music of Asceticism"



Shakuhachi Historianship in Japan Today?:
     The "Traditionalists" and the "Truth Tellers"



The Legacy of the Late Myōan Taizan-ha Teachers
     Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin & Ozawa Seizan







3 - POST-WW2 till TODAY: The WEST

     1945 ...



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

Links

Profile / Bio / CV

Contact Info


Profile / Biography

Born in late January 1950 in Hellerup, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Mixed Icelandic/Danish descent.
Grew up on the island of Amager in Southern Copenhagen.

Studied music (and dancing) from very early childhood and on:
Singing, piano, recorder, bugle, drums, electric bass, acoustic guitar, vibraphone, Indian tabla, percussion - then Japanese shakuhachi, a little Japanese koto, acoustic bass guitar and – as of lately: Arabic darbuka drum.

First "professional" appearance as a pop/rock drummer on October 3rd, 1965, on the island of Amager, Copenhagen.

1965-68: Specialized language (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English, German, French & Latin) & classical music studies in high school.

1968: Formed the symphonic rock band ACHE, who composed and recorded the world’s first genuine rock ballet, "De Homine Urbano" in 1969, released on LP in 1970 (Philips) & re-released six times since then, internationally.
Second ACHE album, ‘Green Man’, 1971, also reissued six times, worldwide.

1968: Began university studies in Chinese Language and Culture.
BA degree in 1974 - Danish equivalent academic degree: Exam. art.

1974: Began university studies in Japanese Language and Culture.

1977-78: Studies in Japan: Kyōto University foreign special research student, and Myōan-ji, Taizan-ha shakuhachi, with Ozawa Seizan sensei, Yamashina, Kyōto.

Torsten Olafsson Myōan Temple admission certificate, 1977 Torsten Olafsson Myōan Temple admission certificate, 1977 Torsten Olafsson Myōan Temple admission certificate, 1977

Torsten Olafsson's Myōan Temple admission certificate, 1977


1981: BA degree in Japanese/Japanology - Danish equivalent academic degree: Exam. art.

1983: Participates as photo editor during the build-up of the "Japan I Brede" exhibition.

1983: Release of the LP ‘Standing Waves – Zen Shakuhachi Meditations’ (Olafssongs OLP 001/OMC 001).
Geoff Duckworth wrote in his review in "Take no Michi", published by The International Shakuhachi Society (selections):

" - - - Listening to the music one is immediately struck by its starkness in terms of tonal variation, decoration, vibrato etc., that one hears in the music of players from the Kinko, or Tozan schools.
If you have developed your shakuhachi listening with the music of Yamaguchi, Reibo, Yamamoto, or Yokoyama, for instance, the music here may be a shock." - - -

" - - - You may, or may not like the music on this record. But I think this would miss the point, that this record adds to the richness of both one's personal store, and the whole body of shakuhachi music. - - - "
Link to a scanning of the complete review, PDF

1983-1984: Gives a number of public lectures about Japanese culture in Denmark.

1986: Special research in the Tōkyō area. Leisure time shakuhachi studies with Yokoyama Katsuya in Chiba.

1987: MA thesis in Japanology submitted to the University of Copenhagen: ‘Early 17th Century Ascetic Shakuhachi Ideology. The Kaidō honsoku. A Komosō’s Fuke Shakuhachi Credo, dated 1628.’ Published by Monty H. Levenson/Tai Hei Shakuhachi, California.

1991-2000: Print Manager, then Serious Music Manager with Warner/Chappell Music Denmark A/S.

1997: On invitation by then International Shakuhachi Society president, the honorable, late Dan E. Mayers, Esq., Torsten writes an introductory essay to the ‘Kaidō honsoku’ thesis.

2001: ‘Standing Waves’ is re-released on CD by Fønix Musik, Denmark (Fønix Musik CD FM 1183).

2003: The ‘Kaidō honsoku’ thesis together with the introductory essay is printed and published internationally by Monty H. Levenson/Tai Hei Shakuhachi, Willits, California, USA.

2003: Website about Fuke/Zen Shakuhachi research is launched, now c/o www.torstenolafsson.dk.

2005: Introductory essay about the ‘Kaidō honsoku’ thesis is published by the ISS, in Annals vol. 2.
The editor, the late president of the International Shakuhachi Society, Mr. Dan E. Mayers, Esq., wrote in his introduction to the article:

"Torsten Olafsson taught himself, unaided, to read ancient Japanese in order to complete the following thesis: an astonishing scholarly feat.
The conclusions of the thesis are not widely accepted by Japanese scholars but are interesting and challenging, throwing new light on an area in which Japanese scholarship has tended to become all too formal.
Those wishing further scholarly enlightenment should consult the original thesis, of which this is a very brief and incomplete summary. Only through study of the original thesis can a full appreciation be obtained of the scholarship involved. The Editor"

2008: The late Prof. Tsukitani Tsuneko concluded in her article in the book “The Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music”:

"The body of shakuhachi researchers in Japan is relatively small; names that recur in the bibliography include Kamisangō, Tsukitani/Tukitani, Seyama and Simura/Shimura.
It is regrettable that the most conspicuous work is being produced not in Japan but by scholars abroad. (See the works by Fritsch, Gutzwiller, Keister, Lee, Olafsson.)"

2009: Becomes a board member and graphics editor of Dansk-Japansk Selskab.

2009: Danish language website established: www.shakuhachi.dk.

2011: English language shakuhachi website is assigned its own separate URL under the name www.zen-shakuhachi.dk.
Title: The "Zen Shakuhachi Reality Research Web Pages".
Many structural expansions and numerous updates following till this day.

2011, January: Special PowerPoint-supported shakuhachi lecture at Ordrupgaard, Charlottenlund.

2017, June: The Museum at the Royal Castle Amalienborg in central Copenhagen presents the exhibition "Japan i Kongehuset" and Torsten O. plays the shakuhachi during the reception.
The important guests of honour in the audience are the exhibition's two protectors, His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and His Royal Highness Prince Frederik of Denmark.

2017, July: Torsten O. presents a comprehensive exhibition at the European Shakuhachi Society's Summer School in Vejle with c. 80 color posters about shakuhachi history and ascetic ideology.

2017, December: Torsten O. accompanies two Japanese silent movies at Cinemateket in Copenhagen and talks about the shakuhachi in between the two performances.

2018, juni: Torsten O. plays the shakuhachi and tells about the ascetic tradition on the outdoor arena of Lillerød Kirke in Allerød.

2019, February: Torsten O. presents his new updated version of his PowerPoint-, video-, and audio supported lecture/mini concert: "The Flute with no Holes – Zen & the Sound of Bamboo". Venue: Elsinore Library/Helsingør Bibliotek at Kulturværftet overlooking the harbour and Kronborg Castle.

Torsten Olafsson has contributed as a versatile studio musician to more than 40 Danish music albums; as a professional graphic artist created more than 60 music album cover designs; transcribed, music engraved, typeset and layouted well over 1.300 mostly Danish pop, rock, jazz, folk & instrumental guitar music pieces and, since a. 1980, in his capacity as music editor and publishing company music editor and print manager, produced several hundred sheet music and music book titles.

Torsten is currently – beside his various shakuhachi activities - working closely with his younger brother, internationally renowned acoustic & electric guitarist Finn Olafsson, OIafssongs Music Publishers, Denmark, as a concert & studio recording musician, music editor, graphics designer, photographer, webmaster - as well as performing as a lecturer on Japanese shakuhachi history, music & ideology.



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Torsten Olafsson