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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 Panorama:

 •  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 kenmon-shū

1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Evidence

1628: The Kaidō Honsoku Thesis

1640s?: The Butsu-gen 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 Enpō 5, 6th Month
     Reihō-ji Ordinance

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

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

1694: Engetsu's Honsoku deshi ...

c. 1700?: The Kyotaku Denki myth

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

1722: The Kyōhō 7, 6th Month
     Reihō-ji Memorandum

1730: The Kyōhō 15, 7th Month
     Ichigetsu-ji & Reihō-ji Memorandum

1732: The Shakuhachi denrai-ki
     and early 'honkyoku' history

1735: Myōan-ji's Kyorei-zan engi ...

1751: Keichō no okitegaki -
     Existing Reprint Versions

1752: Myōan Temple Restorer Engetsu Ryōgen's
     23 Fixed Rules for the House

1770: The Kurozawa Kinko Honkyoku Collection

1795: Kyotaku denki kokujikai

1816: Miyaji Ikkan's Shakuhachi hikki

1823: Hisamatsu Fūyō's Hitori mondō



Profile / Bio / CV

Contact Info

The Written Sources

On this web page I intend, given the time, to present an annotated list of all the known and preserved written sources that - directly or indirectly - illuminate the gradual coming into being of ascetic shakuhachi practice - and the socalled "Fuke Sect" - of the komusō, the "Monks of Non-Duality & No-one-ness". of the Edo Period of Japan.

This process took place over a span of at least two centuries from around 1550 to around 1750.
More and more of these texts will also be presented in further details on the special "Chronology: Japan" web pages elsewhere on this very website.

However, the complete digitalization, translation and analysis of those rather many texts is taking considerable time, so please: Be patient

* Especially significant texts are marked with an asterix.

The Titles

Here is a simple, compressed "check list" of the actual relevant texts so far inspected and analyzed
- picture books, encyclopedia etc. without descriptive notes are not included.

More detailed descriptions can be found in the section "Chronology: Quotations & Illustrations".


* 1550-60: Kuromoto-bon Setsuyō-shū

* 1590?: Ōtani daigaku-bon Setsuyō-shū

* 1590: Tenshō jūhachinen-bon Setsuyō-shū

  1614: Kirisutokyō no jomei chokurei

* 1614: Keichō kemmon-shū (by Miura Jōshin)

  1614: Kenkyō ruiten, "Anthology of Religious Regulations and Precepts" (does not include any komusō related document such as f.i. the Keichō no okitegaki)!)

  1615: Buke shohatto

  1615: Gozan jissatsu shozan shohatto

* 1621: Tsurezuregusa nozuchi (by Hayashi Razan)

  1623: Shakuhachi (no) ki (by Hayashi Razan)

* 1623: Seisuishō (by Anrakuan Sakuden)

  Early Edo/17th century: Haikai emaki - a picture scroll describing a komosō

1624-44, Kan'ei Period?: Razan shishū by Hayashi Razan (contains 1 poem about Fuke Zenji)

1624-44, Kan'ei Period?: Myōan sōsō-shū by Takuan Sōhō (contains hundreds of Chinese style poems, among others: several about Fuke Zenji, various renowned Chinese Zen personalities and Takuan's close friend and disciple Isshi Bunshu, too)

  1625: Yoin shakuhachi (no) ki (by Hayashi Razan)

* 1628: Kaidō honsoku

  1642: Ha kirishitan - "Crush Christianity" (by Suzuki Shōsan)

* 1642: Ōkura Tora-akira-bon Kyōgenshū
Includes the oldest known version of the kyōgen piece Rakuami (before 1500?) about the ghost of a deceased shakuhachi player.

* 1640s?: Hotoke-goto(ba) - "Buddha Words"

* 1646: Letter from Isshi Bunshu/Monju to the komusō Sandō Mugetsu

  c. 1648 - Roankyō (by Suzuki Shōsan) - includes an appraisal of Fuke Zenji

* 1664: Shichiku shoshinshū (by Nakamura Sōsan)

  1666: Kimmō zū-i (by the Neo-Confucian scholar Nakamura Tekisai, 1629-1702)

* 1677, July: Ōko no jō jū-nana-ke jō: 17 paragraphs (issued from Reihō-ji in Edo)

* 1678, January 11: Oboe - the 3 paragraphs (document of the alleged "Fuke Sect Authorization" issued by the Temples and Shrines Magistrate or, more likely, simply a falsification?)

* 1682-1686: Yōshūfu-shi - Records of the Kyōto Area (by Kurokawa Dōyū)

* 1687: Reihō-ji Okite/Sadame: 11 paragraphs

* c. 1690: Jinrin kinmō zu-i (by Makieshi Genzaburō & Atsuo Masamune)

* 1694: Honsoku deshi e mōshi-watashi sadame: 17 paragraphs (issued from the Kyōto Myōan-ji)

* 1695: Kashiragaki zōho kinmō zu-i

* Early 1700s?: Kyotaku denki, "History of the Imitated Bell" (allegedly written by Ton'o). The oldest known constructed/fabricated genealogy of the komusō, created for the benefit of the Kyōto Myōan-ji through the introduction of Kichiku, the alleged most favoured native Japanese student of Shinchi Kakushin's and likewise alleged founder of the Kyōto Myōan-ji, the name of his later changed to Kyochiku Ryōen Zenji - at the earliest documented in a Myōan-ji document dated 1735.

  c. 1700?: Taishiroku (by Arai Hakuseki. 1657-1725)

  1702: Nenzan kibun by Andō Tameakira, 1659-1716 (describing the contemporary shakuhachi & komosō)

* 1703: Letter of petition from the Kyōto Myōan-ji to Kōkoku-ji

* 1705: Honji shōmon (Letter of approval from Kōkoku-ji to the Kyōto Myōan-ji

* 1722: Reihō-ji Oboe: 6 paragraphs

* 1722: Reihō-ji Shūrei: 3 paragraphs

* 1731: Ichigetsu-ji & Reihō-ji Oboe: 10 paragraphs

* 1732: Shakuhachi denrai-ki - document with titles of numerous (now forgotten) honkyoku. This register includes Kyorei, Mukaiji, Kokū) and Suzuru

* 1735: Kyorei-zan engi narabi ni sankyorei-fu ben (important document sent from the Kyōto Myōan-ji to Myōshin-ji, composed by Myōan-ji's "abbot" Kandō Ichiyū)

* 1740: Ichigetsu-ji komusō honsoku (Matsudo City Museum copy)

  1748: Kana-dehon Chūshingura (the honkyoku Tsuru no sugomori is referred to in this famous stage-play about "The 47 rōnin")

* 1751?: Go-nyūkoku no setsu o-watasesōrō on-okitegaki / Keichō no okitegaki (probably the earliest known version with only 8 or 9 paragraphs. See Takahashi Tōne 1990, pp. 54-56: "Version A") - dated by Yamato Hōmei, link to: Yamato Hōmei web page

* 1752 (not 1659!): Chūkō Engetsu Ryōgen teichi kakun nijūsange-jo: 23 paragraphs
(supposedly produced by Engetsu Ryōgen, the actual founder/restorer of the Kyōto Myōan-ji; the date 1659 is most probably a falsification)

  1792: Shokoku Fukeshūmon jisho

* 1789 - Kashiragaki zōho kinmō zu-i taisei

* 1792: Keichō no okitegaki (version with 11 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, p. 60: "Version C")

* 1792: Keichō no okitegaki (version with 10 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, pp. 60-61: "Version D")
(Acc. to Max Deeg, 2007, p. 27, a 1792 copy is the oldest attested copy of the Keichō no okitegaki)

  1792: Shokoku Fukeshūmon jigo (in: Fukeshūmon (no) okitegaki)

  1795: Fukushō-ji dendō-in (travel permit)

* 1795: Kyotaku denki kokujikai & Kyotaku denki (edited by Yamamoto Morihide)

  1798: Fudai-ji komusō honsoku

  1802: Kyōto Myōan-ji komusō honsoku

  1811: Ichigetsu-ji komusō honsoku

  1816, at the latest: Kinko techō by Kurosawa Kinko III (1772-1816)

* 1816: Miyaji Ikkan no Shakuhachi hikki (by Miyaji Ikkan)

  1818: Hitori-goto (by Hisamatsu Fūyō)

* 1819: Fukeshūmon jōsho-ja (includes a Keichō no okitegaki version with 12 paragraphs, the Enpō 5 Oboe, and a special Sadame with a comprehensive honkyoku list attached signed by Kobayashi I-he(i))

  1823: Hitori mondō (by Hisamatsu Fūyō)

* 1825: Komusō osadame / Keichō no okitegaki (version with 17 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, p. 61-64: "Version E")

* 1831: Keichō no okitegaki (version with 20 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, pp. 57-60: "Version B")

  1838: Kaisei hōgo (by Hisamatsu Fūyō)

* 1848, January 31 (not 1847!): Fuke-sō no gi ni tsuke go-shoku
(The komusō fraternity is eventually put under the direct administration and supposed control of the Rinzai Sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism.)

  Mid-19th century: Ikkyū-banashi

* 1871, November 30: Meiji yonnen jūhachinen Daijikan fukoku dai-558-go
(The komusō fraternity is prohibited and the socalled "Fuke Sect" abolished.)

More to follow ...

The Sources

To be continued, expanded and elaborated ...

The Medieval Japanese dictionary, SETSUYŌ-SHŪ

Kuromoto-bon Setsuyō-shū
Comments: To be supplied ...

'Fuke-sō' & 'Komosō' in the Setsuyōshū

Readings for the kanji 'Komo-sō' and 'Fu-ke(-sō)'
in three different early versions of the 'Setsuyōshū'
- second half of the 16th century:
Kuromoto-bon Setsuyō-shū (1550-1560),
Tenshō jūhachinen-bon Setsuyō-shū (1590)
& Manjuya-shū Setsuyō-shū (1596-1615)

Tenshō jūhachinen-bon Setsuyō-shū
Comments: To be supplied ...

Late 16th century
Ryūmon bunko Setsuyō-shū

'Fuke-sō/Komosō' in Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū     'Setsuyōshū, title

Details from the 'Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū'
Library of Nara Women's University - exact date unclear

Kirisutokyō no jomei chokurei
キリスト 除名勅令
Comments: On January 27, 1614, Shūgun Tokugawa Ieyasu issued an edict completely prohibiting Christianity in Japan.
Attached to the edict were 15 rules for the guidance of the Buddhist priesthood in securing its enforcement, for instance, " --- everyone must become a member of one or another of the principal Buddhist sects, the head of the family being responsible for the choice thereof."
Source: C.R. Boxer, 1993, pp. 318-319.
Do note that Kirisutokyō no jomei chokurei is not the actual, original title of this important document.

1614: Keichō kemmon-shū by Miura Jōshin


The Osaka Castle Siege was all over on June the 2nd; around 70.000 of Toyotomi Hideyori's loyal, now defeated rōnin-samurai were now left with no masters - and nothing to do, in risk of starving to death. For decades to come such unemployed warriors constituted a serious threat to peace in Japan, many of them having even converted to Christianity.
Acc. to George B. Sansom (1964, vol. 3, pp. 32-33), the number of 'rōnin' in Japan at this time may have have reached a total of 500.000.

The Osaka Castle Siege 1614-1615


Buke shohatto
"Ordinances for the Military Houses"

In 1615, the "Ordinances for the Military Houses", totalling 13 paragraphs, are promulgated in order to regulate and control the samurai class in times of peace. A couple of examples here:

(1) "The study of literature and the practice of the military arts must be pursued side by side."

(3) "Those who break the laws are not to be given shelter in any fief."

(5) "No sanctuary is to be given to men who plot rebellion or incite risings. Hereafter residence in a fief shall be limited to men born in that fief."

To be continued, expanded and elaborated ...

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