Fseien The "Zen Shakuhachi" <I>Historical Evidence</I> Research Web Pages - by Danish/Icelandic Musician, Music Editor & Japanologist Torsten Olafsson


「禅尺八」歴史的証拠 研究   ホームページ

The "Zen Shakuhachi" Historical Evidence Research Web Pages

Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study and Substantiation 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



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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


     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

     "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


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


     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


Profile / Bio / CV

Contact Info

1950s ... : The Origin of 'Suizen' at Kyōto Myōan-ji:
     Kobayashi Shizan, Tomimori Kyozan,
     Tanikita Muchiku, Yasuda Tenzan,
     Hirazumi Taizan, Koizumi Ryōan,
     Fukumoto Kyoan, Yoshimura Sōshin a.o.


"Blowing a Flute Meditation" - "Flute-blown Meditation" ... ?
"Blowing a Flute Non-dualistic Contemplation Practice"
- "Ascetic Bamboo Flute Practice"

This is a research project in continuous progress
- webpage last updated on April 20, 2021.


Links to closely related webpages:

1852: Kyōto Myōan-ji's 32nd 'Kansu' Rodō Genkyō's
     Commandments Regarding Komusō Begging Practice
     and 'Sui-teki shugyō' - and the Possible Origin
     of the Now so Much Favored Term 'Suizen'?

1974 ...: Misleading 'Suizen' & "Shakuhachi Meditation"
     Information & Assertions, East & West
     - Presented in Western Languages

1861 ... : Shakuhachi, Fuke & Komusō Narratives
     Authored and Published in Western Languages

1823: The Edo, Kinko-line shakuhachi player Hisamatsu Fūyō explains his shakuhachi practice
as 'Kisoku shugyō', 気息修行, "Breathing Asceticism", or "Ascetic Breath Practice".

     Source: Hitori mondō, 1823, c/o Kishi Kiyokazu.
     Link: http://www.dental.gr.jp/bmbnt/bamboo199.htm

1852: The 32nd Kyōto Myōan-ji 'Kansu', 看首, "supervisor", "director", Rodō Genkyō,
coins and presents the new term 'Sui-teki shugyō',
吹笛修行, "Blowing a Flute Ascetic Practice".

That was, in fact, especially with regard to begging activities in which
only a maximum of two participants were allowed to travel and beg fo alms together, stated Rodō Genkyō in his decree.

Visit this webpage for more information - will open in a new browser window:

1852: Kyōto Myōan-ji's 32nd 'Kansu' Rodō Genkyō's
     Commandments Regarding Komusō Begging Practice
     and 'Sui-teki shugyō' - and the Possible Origin
     of the Now so Much Favored Term 'Suizen'?

     Source: Nakatsuka Chikuzen, 1979, p. 176.

1857, first month: The 'Komusō' temple Fudai-ji issues a partly pre-printed 'Suiteki shugyō-tome',
吹笛修行留, "Stop for Flute-playing Ascetic Practice" "Fuke Shūmon Supervision Certificat".

Fudai-ji Stop for Flute-playing Ascetic Practice

This document is awaiting further investigation and explanation.

     Source: Kunimi Masashi's shakuhachi website -
     Link: https://kisokuseikan.at.webry.info/202011/article_4.html

1914, November 22: the 35th Myōan 'Kansu', Higuchi Taizan, founder of the 'Myōan Taizan-ha' ascetic shakuhachi tradition, dies.
Kobayashi Kyozan is appointed 36th 'Kansu'.

1928, first printed in 1936: Uramoto Setchō authors three essays on the topic of 'Fuke Shakuhachi', but he does not mention the term 'Suizen' anywhere, there.

     Source: The National Diet Library, Tokyo.
     Link: https://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/1222923
     - go to book pages 195 through 242/pdf page frames 107 through 131

1928, March 15: 'Kyozan-bō', 虚山坊, most probably "Young Kyozan", alias Tomimori Kyozan, authors an article on pages 23-25 in the Myōan Kyōkai bulletin Dai Myōan, 大明暗, titled 'Sui-shō-zen man-go', 吹簫禅漫語, "This and That about (the Term) 'Blowing a Flute Meditation'".

     Source: Kunimi Masashi's website.
     Link: https://kisokuseikan.at.webry.info/202004/article_2.html

1930: Kobayashi Shizan & Tomimori Kyozan co-write a book on 'Myōan Shakuhachi',
in which the very first chapter is an introduction to that new very "idea" and term,
'Sui-shō-zen', 吹簫禅,

"Blowing a Flute (Zen) Meditation".

Kobayashi and Tomimori 1930 'Myouan suishou-hou' book cover front

Kobayashi and Tomimori's 1930 'Myouan suishou-hou' book cover, front

     Source: The National Diet Library, Tokyo.
     Links: https://kisokuseikan.at.webry.info/upload/detail/033/077/31/N000/000/000/158815798201060433907-thumbnail2.jpg.html
     & https://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/1258947?itemId=info%3Andljp%2Fpid%2F1258947&__lang=en

1938, November 27: The 36th Myōan 'Kansu', Kobayashi Kyozan, dies.
The position as 'Kansu' is left open for about 10 years, most probably because of WW2.

1949: Tanikita Muchiku is appointed 37th 'Kansu'.

1950-1953: Yasuda Tenzan serves as the first chief monk of the new Kyōto Myōan-ji.
Yasuda-san produces at least a few quite impressive 'Suizen' calligraphies.

1950s: Myōan-ji begins to issue so called 'Suizen gyōka-shō', 吹禅行化証,
"Ascetic Shakuhachi Travel Authorization Certificates" - see image and translation below.

By the early 1950s, it appears that at least these eight prominent Myōan-ji personalities would have been engaged - previously and presently - in the creation, promotion and consolidation of the new Taizan-ha Shakuhachi term 'Suizen':

Kobayashi Shizan, Tomimori Kyozan, Tanikita Muchiku, Yasuda Tenzan,
Hirazumi Taizan, Koizumi Ryōan, Fukumoto Kyoan & Yoshimura Sōshin.

1953: Tanikita Muchiku leaves the office of 'Kansu' and is succeeded by Koizumi Ryōan as 38th 'Kansu'.

     Source: https://www.komuso.com/people/index.pl

1953: Hirazumi Taizan is appointed 2nd head monk of Myōan-ji; produces at least one impressive 'Suizen' calligraphy - see image at page down.

1955, July 30: The former Myōan-ji 'Kansu' Tanikita Muchiku publishes an article in the Myōan-ji bulletin 'Suizen', Issue No. 2.

     Kunimi Masashi's shakuhachi website.
Link: https://kisokuseikan.at.webry.info/202004/article_2.html

1957, March 24: Tanikita Muchiku dies.

Most probably during the early 1950s, Tanikita Muchiku supervised the recording and production of 'Taizan-ryū Shakuhachi' pieces for the new 33 r.p.m. vinyl sound format, the "LP". 12 record discs in all, Tanikita Sensei recorded the majority of the pieces, himself, and many other players are represented, as well.

But, obviously, the term 'Suizen' was not chosen to be part of the collection's official title:


"Taizan-ryū Shakuhachi I-XII"

The LP set was produced privately, for non-commercial purposes.

1950s Taizan-ryuu Shakuhachi LP label no. OG-575   1950s Taizan-ryuu Shakuhachi LP label no. OG-618

'Taizan-ryū Shakuhachi' LP labels I & XII

     Source: TOWADŌ - http://towa33.com/?page=70&cid=14

Another preserved Tanikita Muchiku honkyoku collection not titled 'Suizen' was given the name

'Tanikita Muchiku no Shakuhachi - Tanikita hito-goe hen',

谷北無竹の尺八 - 谷北一声編,

"Tanikita Muchiku's Shakuhachi - The Tanikita Single Voice Collection" - see link to towa33.com below:

1950s Tanikita Muchiku no Shakuhachi LP label no. TRS-5105   1950s Tanikita Muchiku no Shakuhachi LP label no. TRS-5110

'Tanikita Muchiku no Shakuhachi' LP labels I & VI

     Source: TOWADŌ - http://towa33.com/?eid=5664

With the appearance in Japan of the music cassette tape in the early 1960s, selected Tanikita Muchiku recordings were also prepared for that new format and released in a triple-MC set titled 'Shakuhachi honkyoku no genryū o motomete, Tanikita Muchiku-shū I-III',


'Shakuhachi honkyoku no genryū o motomete
Myōan sanjūnana-sei Tanikita Muchiku-shū'

"Searching for the Fountainhead of Shakuhachi Honkyoku
The 37th ['Kansu'] Tanikita Muchiku Anthology I-III"

The first published set of music cassettes was designed like this - seen at aucfree.com:

Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC fronts   Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC fronts

Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC track lists

     Here is a link to a complete track list at komuso.com:

A following version of the set had these three front cover portraits:

Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC HT-01   Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC HT-02   Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC HT-03

Two of the three inlay cards were designed like this:

Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC HT-01   Tanikita Muchiku shuu MC HT-02

Obviously, none of these Taizan-ryū/Tanikita Muchiku releases were marketed under the title, or headline, 'Suizen' - and none of them carry any precise release date, unfortunately so ...

The Sugiyama Jogakuen University Digital Library presents

Historical Recordings Featuring Legendary Seien-ryū
and Taizan-ryū/Taizan-ha Shakuhachi Players:

     Link to numerous historical shakuhachi recordings,
     including those on the above Tanikita Muchiku LP collections:


A dated photo of Iwata Seien with shakuhachi friends and noble wives - and a fine recording of 'Ajikan' of his:

'Ajikan' played by Iwata Seien, date unknown

'Ajikan' played by Iwata Seien - no date.

Persons in the picture - Above from the left:
Ishida Fuchiku, 石田普竹, and Iwata Seien, 岩田律園.

Below from the left:
Uramoto Setchō and Mrs. Uramoto, 浦本浙潮,
and Mrs. Okazaki and Mr. Okazaki Shūen, 岡崎洲園, himself.

1960: Parallelly, Uramoto Setchō introduces the explanatory term 'Gyō no ongaku', 行の音楽, "Ascetic Music" - however without referring to 'Suizen' in that article of his.

1966: A now very famous 'Suizen' stone monument is erected to the left inside of the gate of Kyōto Myōan-ji.

     Source: 'Kansu' Kojima Hōan.
     Link: http://myoanshakuhachi.blogspot.com/2012/06/those-who-wanted-to-emphasize-suizen.html.

Suizen monument at Myōan-ji, Kyōto. Photo by Torsten Olafsson

Photo by Torsten Olafsson, early Spring, 1977.

1968, October 27: Tomimori Kyozan is interviewed by Rekisen Yokō [?], 礫川餘光,

     Source: http://shakuhachistuff.blogspot.com/2009/12/s-interview-with-tomimori-kyozan-1.html

1969: A new temple main hall is designed and constructed at Kyōto Myōan-ji:

Kyōto Myōan-ji, 1977

Kyōto Myōan-ji, Main Hall completed in 1969
Photo by Torsten Olafsson, early Spring, 1977

1972: Koizumi Ryōan retires and is followed by Fukumoto Kyoan as 39th 'Kansu'.

1972: Okamoto Chikugai authors a short essay on 'Suizen' breathing - first published in 2012 by the Myōan Sōryū-kai.

1974: The record company Nippon Columbia releases a triple-LP record set titled 'Suizen', featuring Sakai Chikuhō II - who really was not a 'Taizan-ha' player, at all.

Nippon Columbia, Sakai Chikuhou II Suizen 3 LP record set

1974: Kamisangō Yūkō writes about 'Komusō' and 'Suizen' in the pamphlet for Nippon Columbia's triple-LP set 'Suizen':

Kamisangou Yuukou about Suizen, 1974, page 17

いわば昇格したのであるから ...

"As an outcome of the establishment of the Fuke Sect
the 'komosō' groups that included beggar monks and lunatics,
be they homeless persons,
(turned into) a religious group of 'rōnin' "wave men",
the membership privilege of whom was limited to persons with samurai rank
who performed 'suizen'
and samurai martial arts,
(thus) climbing in status, so to speak ..."

     Source: Kamisangō Yūkō, 'Suizen' LP pamphlet, 1974, p. 17.
     Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson, 2020

     Comment: No, 'suizen' is not mentioned even a single time in any of the numerous Edo Period texts about shakuhachi-playing 'rōnin' and 'komusō'!

1975: 'Suizen' is not mentioned in any of the articles in the Kikan Hōgaku 5 special shakuhachi edition of 1975!

     Name of authors: Kikkawa Eishi & Nishiyama Matsunosuke.

1976: After the sudden death of Fukumoto Kyoan, Yoshimura Sōshin is appointed 40th 'Kansu'.

1970s? - no later than Spring, 1978:
Myōan-ji's 2nd chief monk, Hirazumi Taizan, creates a unique 'Mu-ku-teki Suizen', 無穴笛 吹禅, "No-holes-flute sui-zen' calligraphy hanging scroll - read more at page bottom.

Mu-ku-teki Suizen

1978: Ozawa Seizan, a close student of Yoshimura Sōshin's, describes the meaning and "purpose" of 'Suizen' in a letter of recommendation to Torsten Olafsson, Denmark:

Ozawa Seizan, letter of recommendation, 1978   Ozawa Seizan, letter of recommendation, 1978

Detail of a letter of recommendation for Torsten Olafsson
written by Ozawa Seizan in Spring, 1978
Photo to the right by T.O.


"Myōan Shakuhachi is related to the Fuke Sect of Shakuhachi and it has as its purpose to employ the ancient Japanese shakuhachi flute as a Dharma instrument [hō-ki] in order that one understands the Ultimately Adual Nature of the 'Bright' and the 'Dark' [Myō-An] and experiences the Essence of Non-Substantiality [kyo] through Self-Cultivation.

This practice is called 'Suizen'."

     By Ozawa Seizan, 1939-2012, Myōan-ji, 1978, in a letter
     of recommendation to the author. Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson.

1978, probably: The 40th Myōan-ji 'kansu, Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin, and Myōan-ji releases a 4-LP record set titled 'Suizen ichinyo', 吹禅一如, "The Oneness of 'Blowing a Flute' and 'Meditating'".
Or, I'd rather prefer a translation like this, for instance: "The Non-duality of Meditating while Blowing a Flute".
Yasuda Tenzan is the actual artist who created that very 'Suizen ichinyo' calligraphy for the LP front covers:

Yoshimura Soushin Suizen ichinyo 4 LP record set   Yoshimura Soushin Suizen ichinyo 4 LP record set, label

     Sources: http://towa33.com/?page=70&cid=14

1983: Okamoto Chikugai publishes an article in Ichi-on jōbutsu
     on the Way of 'Ōshū Suizen'.

1983: Torsten Olafsson & Olafssongs, Denmark, produce the LP/MC
"Standing Waves. Zen Shakuhachi Meditations", featuring six Myōan Taizan-ha (Suizen) honkyoku.

Standing Waves CD, 2001   Standing Waves LP, 1983

Fønix Music CD reissue, 2001 - Olafssongs LP/MC, 1983.
Discogs.com quite misleadingly categorizes the record as "New Age".

1985: Matsumoto Kyozan includes a 'Suizen godō', 吹禅一如, calligraphy on the front page of a 'honkyoku gakufu' collection of his.

The Tantric symbol 'A' & 'Suizen godō'

Read more at page bottom.

1985?: Nippon Columbia releases a

'Komusō Chiku-in Suizen' 'Fuke-shū Tani-ha Kyotaku' vinyl LP

虚無僧 竹韻 吹禅 普化宗 谷派 虚鐸

Go to 1998, June 20, to read more about a reissue on CD in that year.

1991: Yoshimura Sōshin retires and is succeeded by Kojima Hōan as 41st 'Kansu'.

1994: Tukitani Tuneko, Seyama Tōru & Simura Satosi write about 'Suizen' in an article presented in English, trsl. by Riley Kelly Lee:

"It was not so easy to become a member of the Fuke sect or a komusō.

This was due to the arrangement of the system of rules as determined by the Tokugawa shogunate.

Accordingly, it can be said that the shakuhachi has been handed down to us within a limited, chartered organisation.

That organization maintained an ideology centered around Zen Buddhism.
Moreover, Zen in the Fuke sect was nothing but the playing of the shakuhachi.

This ideology and lifestyle was called suizen ('blowing Zen').

Thus, in terms of suizen, the shakuhachi was not a musical instrument, and naturally pieces performed on it were not considered as being music.

To them, the shakuhachi was a hōki ('religious instrument'), that is to say, a sacred tool for the purpose of spiritual training.

If one were to use the above-mentioned emic viewpoint, within the organisation of the komusō the shakuhachi was not included in 'music', or rather was not allowed to be included."

     Source: Tukitani Tuneko, Seyama Tōru, Simura Satosi and Riley Kelly Lee, translator (1994):
'The Shakuhachi: The instrument and its music, change and diversification."
In: Contemporary Music Review, 8:2, p. 111

     Comment: No, 'Suizen' was definitely neither an "ideology" nor a "lifestyle" of the members of the so called "Fuke Sect" during the Edo Period.
     The term does not appear anywhere in any Japanese literary source before 1950, at the very earliest.

1995 (?): Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin's 'Suizen ichinyo' triple-CD set is issued by Myōan-ji, probably the same recordings as those previously published on 4 vinyl LP records in 1978.

Yoshimura Soushin Suizen ichinyo CD disc set, front cover   Yoshimura Soushin

Despite the fact that Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin's Taizan-ha 'Suizen' shakuhachi recordings of the late 1970s are titled 'Suizen ichinyo', 吹禅一如,
"Blowing the Shakuhachi & Meditation Are Not Two" [literally: "Are One"],
at the ISS website komuso.com, Yoshimura Sōshin's recordings are registered under the both insufficient and quite misleading headline
'Meianji Shoden Shakuhachi Honkyoku Shū' 1-3,

     Links to track lists with short sound samples:

1998, June 20: Nippon Columbia reissues a

'Komusō Chiku-in Suizen' 'Fuke-shū Tani-ha Kyotaku' LP on CD
     Columbia ‎– COCF-15174. First released on LP in 1985?

Nippon Columbia Tani-ha Kyotaku Suizen vinyl LP record

虚無僧 竹韻 吹禅 普化宗 谷派 虚鐸

     First found at this website: https://www.hmv.co.jp/en/artist_Various_000000000000075/item_%E8%99%9A%E7%84%A1%E5%83%A7-%E7%AB%B9%E9%9F%BB_319112
     See also: https://www.discogs.com/%E6%99%AE%E5%8C%96%E5%AE%97%E8%B0%B7%E6%B4%BE%E8%99%9A%E9%90%B8-%E9%96%A2%E6%9D%B1%E9%81%93%E5%A0%B4-%E6%AD%A6%E8%94%B5%E9%87%8E%E9%81%93%E5%A0%B4-%E8%99%9A%E7%84%A1%E5%83%A7-%E7%AB%B9%E9%9F%BB/release/12415418

2000: Tsukitani Tsuneko writes but just a little about 'Suizen' in her monumental book 'Shakuhachi koten honkyoku no kenkyū'.

Tsukitani Tsuneko, 2000, p. 172, note 138

The late professor Tsukitani Tsuneko's comments about 'sui-teki shugyō'
and the possible origin of the term 'suizen'. Tsukitani 2000, p. 172, note 138.

In her monumental study of 'koten honkyoku', published in 2000, Prof. Tsukitani hardly at all touched upon the topic of 'Suizen'.
In note 138 on page 172, the first sentence states that,
"Playing the shakuhachi as an ascetic meditative discipline [Zen no shugyū] is called 'Suizen'."

The last sentence then reads,

しかし、「座禅」にかわる尺八修行の意味でいつから 「吹禅」というようになったか、 その典拠を未だ見つけることができない。

namely, "However, I can not yet find any written reference to when 'Suizen' became a term for 'Zazen' seated meditation that changed into 'ascetic shakuhachi discipline'."

     Source: Tsukitaki Tsuneko, 2000, page 172, note 138.

2001: Okada Fujio publishes a book titled 'Komusō no nazo - Suizen no kokoro.'
"The Komusō Mystery - The Essence of Suizen".

2001, November 24: Nippon Columbia releases a CD named 'Nihon no gakki: Shakuhachi'
"Japanese Music Instruments: Shakuhachi." Track 1 on the record has the title

'Suizen Kokū Shakuhachi Fukeshuu Tani-ha Kyotaku',
吹禅 虚空 Shakuhachi – 普化宗谷派 虚鐸

     Source: https://www.discogs.com/Various-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E3%81%AE%E6%A5%BD%E5%99%A8-%E5%B0%BA%E5%85%AB-Japanese-Music-Instruments-Shakuhachi/release/11230892

2004: The first Western shakuhachi record release titled 'Suizen'?
Ronnie Seldin and Barbara Lee Kroos publish the 5-LP & book set
"Sui Zen. Blowing Zen On the Shakuhachi":

Seldin & Lee Kroos Sui Zen 5 LP + book set   Seldin & Lee Kroos Sui Zen 5 LP + book set

2005: Takahata Sōyū publishes a book about 'Suizen' titled
'Yasei no zen. Suizen'.

2005: Takahata Sōyū publishes a book about 'Suizen' titled
"Myōan Shakuhachi. Suizen: The Zen of Wildness.'

2005: Steve Weiss designs a map of "26 Suizen Temples", allegedly "approved" by Kurahashi Yoshio:

Map of 26 Suizen temples - late Tokugawa Period?

Map of 26 "'Suizen' temples" - during the late Tokugawa Period ... really?
Compiled by Steve Weiss, 2005, approved by Kurahashi Yoshio.

There were, of course, no such "'Suizen' temples" mentioned anywhere, nor ever,
in Edo Period documents! Source of map: www.shakuhachi.com

2008: Tsukitani Tsuneko states regarding 'Suizen' in her article in "The Ashgate Companion to Japanese Music":

"The Fuke sect was named after its putative Tang Chinese founder, Pu-hua (Jap. Fuke).
It has no doctrines or scriptures, parishioners or lay believers;

its equivalent to Zen meditation or sutra recitation is the playing of shakuhachi
- what practitioners call suizen (blowing Zen).

No such use is recorded in China."

     Source: Tsukitani Tsuneko in "The Ashgate Companion to Japanese Music," 2008, p. 150.

2009, August 8: US citizen and longtime Myōan Taizan-ha shakuhachi player Dean Seicho Delbene posts this illustration on his "Myoan Shakuhachi Blogspot" Website:

Tomimori Kyozan's Statement regarding the origin of the terms suizen/suishouzen,nodate

     Tomimori Kyozan's statement regarding the origin of the terms suizen/suishouzen, no date.
Possibly a short transcript of the interview that took place on October 27, 1968,
see entry page up.
Do note that neither 'Sui-shō-zen' nor 'Sui-zen' can be found any Chinese text, whatsoever.

     Link: http://myoanshakuhachi.blogspot.com/2009/08/suizen-origin-suishouzen.html?m=0

2009, October: Kyōto Myōan-ji 'Kansu' Kojima Hōan informs Christopher T. Mau that it was Yasuda Tenzan who "coined", invented, the new term 'Suizen' while he served as the first chief monk of that newly revived temple in the period 1950-1953.

     Source: Christopher T. Mau Ph.D. thesis, 2014, p. 116.
     Link: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/18260

2010: Tago Kōin publishes an article titled 'Suizen no yurai ni tsuite', "About the origin of Suizen," in the magazine Tozan-ryū Gakuhō

     Link: http://www.tozanryu.com/about/reference/download/gakuho.pdf

2015, February 25: Nippon Columbia releases a double CD named 'Nihon no gakki - Koto / Shakuhachi
"Japanese Music Instruments: Koto / Shakuhachi." Track 1 on CD 2 has the title
'Suizen Kokū Shakuhachi Fukeshuu Tani-ha Kyotaku',
吹禅 虚空 Shakuhachi – 普化宗谷派 虚鐸

     Source: https://www.discogs.com/Various-%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E3%81%AE%E6%A5%BD%E5%99%A8-%E7%AE%8F%E5%B0%BA%E5%85%AB-Japanese-Music-Instruments-Koto-Shakuhachi/release/11221155

2017: Kojima Hōan retires and Seian Genshin becomes the 42nd 'Kansu'.

2019: Seian Genshin & Kyōto Myōan-ji produce the CD
'Nichi-nichi no Suizen', "Everyday Shakuhachi Asceticism":

Seian Genshin Myouan-ji Nichinichi no Suizen CD

2021: Still, as of April 16: The Myōan Dōshu-kai representatives themselves declare on the Myōan temple's website - among other contradictory statements -

that it was the renowned Shingon Buddhist, later to become a Zen monk, Shinchi Kakushin/Hottō Kokushi, 1207-1298, who instituted 'Sui-shō-zen' and 'Sui-zen', ['kakuritsu saremashita', 確立されました], as the alternative, though also somehow equivalent, practice of Buddha realization through 'Za-zen', 座禅

- in the middle of the 13th century, that should have taken place ... I mean: really?

Quotation from the webpage in question, in Japanese:





     Source: Myōan Dōshu-kai webpage: 'Suizen no Shakuhachi'


Yes, that very "novel" term, 'Suizen', was quite certainly invented and introduced into modern ascetic shakuhachi ideology by Yasuda Tenzan, 安田天山, 1909-1994, while he was serving as the first head monk of the new, present-day Kyōto Myōan Temple during the years 1950 to 1952.

On Saturday August 8, 2009, US citizen and longtime Myōan Taizan-ha shakuhachi player Dean Seicho Delbene posted this illustration on his "Myoan Shakuhachi Blogspot" Website:

Tomimori Kyozan's Statement regarding the origin of the terms suizen/suishouzen,nodate

Tomimori Kyozan's Statement regarding the origin of the terms suizen/suishouzen, no date

Do note, by the way, that it can not be true at all, what Kyozan is quoted for stating, namely that,

" - - - 吹簫禅 (SuiShouZen) is right, that word was in old China."

Looking up under 'sui' in the main index of the Dai Kanwa Jiten encyclopedia of classical Chinese and Japanese literature and history you will find neither 'Sui-shō-zen' nor 'Suizen' there.

The very same goes for the great multi-volume collection of Buddhist scrptures, the Tripitaka,
c/o the online searchable SAT Daizōkyō Text Database:
Neither there do you find even one single appearance of the terms 'Sui-shō-zen', 吹簫禅, and 'Suizen', 吹禅 - simple as that.

Only beginning in the early 1950s, various Suizen gyōka shō, 吹禅行化証, or "Ascetic Shakuhachi Travel Authorization Certificates", were issued by the Myōan Temple, replacing the former Komusō gyōka shō, 虚無僧行化証, of the latter part of the Edo Period.

Suizen gyōka seiganbun

'Suizen gyōka seiganbun', 吹禅行化誓願文,
"Ascetic Shakuhachi Written Travel Pledge" No prior to 1950.

The 'Suizen' Certificate Reads and Translates as follows:

'Suizen gyōka suigammon'
"'Suizen' Travel Authorization Pledge"

いだん いっさい あく

'Issui i-dan issai aku'
"First breath cuts away All Evil"

いしゅ いっさい ぜん

'Nisui isshū issai zen'
"Second breath leads towards All Goodness"

いど しょ しゅう じょう

'Sansui ido sho shū jō'
"Third breath benefits Mankind and All Livings Things"

かいぐ じょうぶつ どう

'Kaigu jōbutsu dō'
"The Way for Everyone to Attain Buddhahood"


'Kyoreizan Myōanji
"Non-dual Spirit Mountain Myōanji"

The source of the above given text, it should be noted, is the website of the Kyōto Myōan Temple named Myōan dōshukai, 明暗導主会: Myōan dōshukai

Who was Yasuda Tenzan?

Here you can study a short biography and a long interview by Lucien Stryk & Ikemoto Takashi, published in a book in 1963 when Yasuda Tenzan was acting as chief abbot of the Zen temple Tōfuku-ji in SE Kyōto:

Interview with Master 安田天山 Yasuda Tenzan by Lucien Stryk & Ikemoto Takashi

Yasuda Tenzan, the Zen Calligrapher

Some time ago, a unique Yasuda Tenzan calligraphy was sold on auction in Japan:

Yasuda Tenzan 'Suizen' calligraphy on auction

Yasuda Tenzan 'Suizen' calligraphy on auction c/o ochisatsu.com
The description reads, "Yasuda Tenzan; 'Suizen' calligraphy; founding chief monk
of the revived Myōan-ji; hanging scroll."

Link to the ochisatsu.com web page

Details of Yasuda Tenzan's 'Suizen' calligraphy:

Yasuda Tenzan 'Suizen' calligraphy, detail   Yasuda Tenzan 'Suizen' calligraphy, detail

Yasuda Tenzan 'Suizen' calligraphy, details"

Yasuda Tenzan 'Suizen' calligraphy, detail

Yasuda Tenzan 'Suizen' calligraphy, signature

Another very significant, shakuhachi-related Yasuda Tenzan calligraphy, 'Ichi-on jōbutsu':

Yasuda Tenzan 'Ichi-on jôbutsu' calligraphy, details

Source: Jidai shakuhachi Auction

明暗寺四十世 芳村普庵宗心


Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin

Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin - 1904-1998

In the tokonoma decorative alcova behind Yoshimura Sōshin sensei you see yet another calligraphy by Yasuda Tenzan that reads as follows:

霊韻直古今, 'Rei-in choku kokon', or rather:
霊しい韻が古今を直す, 'Tamashii in ga kokon o naosu':

"Spiritful Sound Transforms Past & Present",
i.e.: "Spiritful Sound Transcends the Duality of Past & Present".


The Tantric symbol 'A' & 'Suizen godō'

Opening pages of a honkyoku folding book (ori-hon)
written by Matsumoto Kyozan, dated 1985.

To the right: 'Suizen godō':
"Suizen Way of Buddhist Enlightenment".

To the left the Sanskrit seed syllable 'A' (Jap.: 'A')
of the Buddha Mahāvairocana, or
Dainichi Nyorai, residing in the center of the
Taizō-kai (Womb Realm) mandala (Skt.: Garbhadātu)
of Japanese Tantric Buddhism (Shingon)
Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson

Xerox copy given as a present by the late Dan E. Mayers, Esq., in 1989.


Sakai Chikuhou II 'Souvenir of Japan' LP, 1986

According to the ISS komuso.com website, in 1986, Sakai Chikuhō II and DENON released an LP album titled "Souvenir of Japan - Shakuhachi Komusoh and Suizen" - label no. Denon - C33-7777.

     Here is a link to the music track list on the komuso.com website:

1999, Heisei 11:

Suizen ichinyo calligraphy by Asanuma Ichidou

The highly regarded calligrapher Asanuma Ichidō, 浅沼一道
also created an expressive 'Suizen ichinyo' calligraphy.

     Source: https://kumattamk.exblog.jp/15690617/

2012: A Taiwanese shakuhachi study group visits Kyōto Myōan-ji and takes many photographs.

Suizen ichinyo calligraphy over the main altar at Kyōto Myōan-ji

A 'Suizen ichinyo' calligraphy is placed over the main altar at Myōan-ji.
Name of the artist is so far illegible.

Link to the Shakuhachi Taiwan study group: https://blog.xuite.net/shakuhachi.taiwan/twblog/157539267

Mu-ku-teki Suizen      Myōan Taizan signature & seal

"No Hole Flute - Blowing a Flute Non-dualistic Contemplation Practice"

Calligraphy signed 'Myōan Taizan', the 2nd present times
Myōan Temple chief monk Hirazumi Taizan, 平住台山, (a.k.a. Myōan Taizan),
inaugurated in 1953, died in 1984 (Shōwa 59).

Signature and stamps deciphered by Kosuge Daisetsu, 小菅大徹,
(Komusō kenkyūkai/Hosshin-ji), and Sato Nakazato, Japan.
A present to Torsten Olafsson
given by his teacher Ozawa Seizan in Summer, 1978

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