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The Zen Shakuhachi Truth Research Web Pages

Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi History & Ideology in Particular

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



About this Research Project

Realizations & Conclusions

Highlighted Pictures

Highlighted Quotations

Texts, Quotations & Illustrations
A Chronological Overview:

 •  India
 •  China
 •  Japan
 •  The West

To be - or not to be:
     a "Zen Buddhist Priest"?

Errors, Misconceptions & Loose Ends

The Source Collections

The Written Sources

1470?: The Kyōgen Play Rakuami

1505: Kōrin's Shakuhachi Essay

1512: The Taigenshō Music Treatise

The Komosō & Fuke-komosō Sources

1614: The Keichō kemmon-shū

1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Evidence

1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Thesis

1640s?: The Hotoke-gotoba Evidence

1646: Isshi Bunshu's Letter
     to the Komusō Sandō Mugetsu

1646 ... The Hottō Kokushi Legend

The Early Komusō Texts

The Kyōto/Kansai Sources

The Edo/Kantō/Tōkyō Sources

1664: Shichiku shoshinshū

1677: The Empō 5, 6th Month
     Reihō-ji Ordinance

1678: The Empō 5, 12th Month
     Komusō-ha Oboe Memorandum

1687: The Jōkyō 4, 6th Month
     Reihō-ji Ordinance

1694: Engetsu's Honsoku deshi ...

1703 & 1705: The Myōan-ji
     c/o Kōkoku-ji Interrelationship

1732: The Shakuhachi denrai-ki

1735: Myōan-ji's Kyorei-zan engi ...

1740?: Keichō no okitegaki -
     Existing Reprint Versions

1795: Kyotaku denki kokujikai

1816: Miyaji Ikkan's Shakuhachi hikki

1823: Hisamatsu Fūyō's Hitori mondō

1848: Bakufu Government Decree
     re-administrating the "Fuke Sect"

1871: Bakufu Government Decree
     bans & dissolves the "Fuke Sect"

1890 ... The Legacy of Higuchi Taizan

1930s: Uramoto Setchō Credo

1970s: Myōan Taizan-ha Thought & Credos

Honkyoku Music History
     Ascetic Shakuhachi Titles

Miyagawa Nyozan's Honkyoku 'Ajikan'

Myōan Taizan-ha Notation



Profile / Bio / CV

Contact Info

Realizations & Conclusions

Preliminarily, as of late March, 2017 ... :

The most important - some might think: controversial, heretic, provocative, maybe even somewhat 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 then.

 •  There were no so called komusō, 虚無僧, in action earlier than the 1640s, at the earliest.

 •  The earliest possibly reliable written evidence of anything like a "Fuke Sect",
Fuke-shū, 普化宗, is dated 1687 - produced by the Edo twin temples Ichigetsu-ji, 一月寺, and Reihō-ji, 鈴法寺.

 •  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, 本曲, is dated 1694 - in the oldest reliable Kyōto Myōan Temple document, that we know of.

 •  The earliest reference to actual honkyoku music titles is dated as "late" as 1732.

 •  The term sui-zen, 吹禅, was not known and used in Japan before c. 1890.

 •  The terms zen shakuhachi, 禅尺八, and shakuhachi zen, 尺八禅, were not "invented" and spread in the world before the 1970s, at the earliest, possibly.

Overall conclusion that has manifested itself
as a result of the present research project

The history and characteristics of socalled "Buddhist Shakuhachi Practices in Japan" have been seriously falsified from the very beginning.

This process of deliberate source forgery, myth creation, deliberate misinterpretation and censorship is taking place still, this very day - generated by "professionals" and "amateurs" alike, inside as well as outside of Japan, be they both performers, historians and fans!

This new web page will be expanded continuously ...

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