「修行尺八」歴史的証拠の研究   ホームページ
      'Shugyō Shakuhachi' rekishi-teki shōko no kenkyū hōmupēji -

The "Ascetic Shakuhachi" Historical Evidence Research Web Pages

Introduction & Guide to the Documentation & Critical Study of Ascetic, Non-Dualistic Shakuhachi Culture, East & West:
Historical Chronology, Philology, Etymology, Vocabulary, Terminology, Concepts, Ideology, Iconology & Practices

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 / Front Page / Home

Go to this web page to navigate
     and explore the site:

Main Menu Items List - Site Map:
     All Web Pages on this Website

New Web Pages and Web Page Updates

Literature in Eastern Languages

Literature in Western Languages


Contact Info

4+ "Historical" 'Komusō' Documents to be Completely Discarded & Ignored

Ignore and forget about these 4+ all fabricated documents and their place in time.
     What will then be left of chronologically trustworthy "Komusō Shakuhachi History"?

Still, it is indeed worthy of attention and acceptance that none of those texts do mention anything regarding 'Fuke-shū', 'Rinzai Zen', "'Komusō' meditation", nor 'Suizen'!

1 - 虚鐸伝記
2 - 延宝五年の覚
3 - 慶長之掟書
4 - 虚鐸伝記国字解

These are the four documents *) and their contents that should be completely left out of the entire "historical" narrative - ignored and banned from the "equation" of credibly datable "historical facts":

1 - Kyotaku denki – a narrative possibly conceived between circa 1665 and 1675, judging from the overall context.

2 - Enpō 5-nen no oboe, the “Edict of Enpō 5: dated January 11, 1678 - not December 18, 1677!

3 - Keichō no okitegaki – first edition among many versions, quite probably first created in 1751.

4 - Kyotaku denki kokuji-kai – published in Kyōto in 1795, including the fanciful ‘Kyotaku denki’ text.

All these documents were indeed very purposefully created to (fraudfully) legitimize the early, emerging mid-1600s' so-called 'komusō', 虚無僧, "Pseudo-Monks of the Non-Dual and None-ness", who had absolutely no "centuries long honourable history" of their own to speak of, at all.

So, they invented the whole thing - made everything all up!
Created the Kyotaku denki: "Tale of the Imitated Bell (of Non-Dual Reality)".

The simple facts are the following:

1 - Regarding the entirely fabricated Kyotaku denki:

Firstly, legendary early 9th century "Fuke Zenji" may very well be an invented personality who really never existed.

Anyhow, there really was no Chinese Mr. Chang/Zhang, Jap.: Chō, who ever happened to hear Fuke Zenji ringing a bell and, as the story goes, "composed" a piece of music titled 'Kyorei', 虚鈴, "Bell of Non-Duality", "Bell of Non-Substantiality", to sort of "echo" that imagined alleged enlightening sound of Fuke's bell.

Had such a piece of music been played on a 9th century Chinese 'shakuhachi', a predecessor of the modern 't'ung-hsiao'?, that 'Gagaku shakuhachi'-like? flute would have had 6 finger holes, basically unlike the well known Japanese 'komusō' shakuhachi flute of later times with its only 5 fingerholes - and therefore with quite a different tuning and tonality.

Seriously: Any such melody that was, as alleged, transmitted through 16 generations and over around 4 centuries, even without any known graphic notation, would have changed beyond recognition over the hundreds of years that passed by, don't you think?

The first time the music title 'Kyorei' appears in fully credibly dated writing is in a still quite mysterious text titled Shakuhachi denrai-ki, dated 1732:

1732: The Shakuhachi denrai-ki
     and Early 'Honkyoku' History

The second time the title 'Kyorei' appears in credibly dated writing is in a preserved Kyōto Myōan-ji document dated 1735:

1735: Kyōto Myōan-ji Temple Chief Administrator
     Kandō Ichiyū's Letter about 'Sankyorei-fu',
     the "Three Non-Dual Spirit Music Pieces"

The alleged, central role of Hottō Kokushi, a.k.a. Kakushin, as a transmitter of the shakuhachi piece 'Kyorei' to Japan, is nothing but an invention, politely speaking.

There is nothing in any of the numerous 13th century sources related to Kakushin, his life and merits, that mentions the shakuhachi. Period!

Next, 'Kyotaku denki' introduces five more quite interesting personalities, all of which were also invented very purposefully, for convenience, in order to establish faked hereditary links to the late-17th century 'komusō,' who were in desperate need of a direct, respectable lineage beginning with Fuke - and through him all the way back to Gautama Sakyamuni Buddha, himself.

One especially prominent name featured is, of course: 'Kichiku', 寄竹, described as a (alleged) direct Japanese disciple of Kakushin's, who, allegedly, ventured deep into "the Study of Zen" and is being credited with having created two more famous shakuhachi melodies, namely 'Mukaiji' and 'Kokū'.

ca. 1665-1675?: The Kyotaku denki Fairy Tale:
     Shinchi Kakushin, Kichiku & Kyōto Myōan-ji

Those 3 titles are also mentioned historically in 1735, collectively titled 'San-kyorei-fu', 三虚霊譜:

1735: Kyōto Myōan-ji Temple Chief Administrator
     Kandō Ichiyū's Letter about 'San-kyorei-fu',
     the "Three Non-Dual "Spirit" Music Pieces"

Then, we have those 4 Chinese 'koji', 四居士, 'shi-koji',
the Chinese "Budhhist laymen", who - according to the invented story! - are described as having accompanied Kakushin on his ship when he returned from Buddhist studies in China to Japan, in 1254.

The earliest ever literary reference to 4 such completely fictional figures dates from the early 1640s and appears in a preserved letter from the Rinzai Zen abbot Isshi Bunshu, 1608-1645/1646, to a monk named Sandō Mugetsu, no dates:

1646 ... The Hottō Kokushi / Kakushin Legend:
     "The Four Buddhist Laymen" & the "disciple" 'Kichiku'

1646 at the latest: Abbot Isshi Bunshu's Letter to a
     "Proto-Komusō" named Sandō Mugetsu

Isshi Bunshu explains - in some possible "act of conspiracy"? - how those 4 Buddhist laymen supposedly spread the - invented! - 'Kyotaku' flute "tradition" so as to create in all 4x4 = 16 "branches" of the 'komosō' movement "all over Japan".

That directly connects backwards in time to the Kaidō honsoku' 'komosō' document of 1628 and its list of 16 branches of the Fuke adoring "mat monks", the 'komosō':

1628: The Kaidō honsoku Fuke-komosō Credo

Then, the Kyotaku denki presents a long list, a purely invented genealogy, of invented "transmitters" of the - never-having-existed! - "Kyotaku tradition" only including: the mid-1600s!

That is in fact at least one strong indicator that the Kyotaku denki story could not have been produced later than at that time in history.

Now follows the widespread claim and belief that a so called "Fuke Sect" should have been officially and formally recognized by the Tokugawa government in the year Enpō 5?

Wherever that document originated, and why, the Fuke Sect is not at all being referred to in that text, at all:

1678: The Enpō 5, 12th Month Komusō-ha Oboe
     Bakufu Memorandum of January 11th, 1678

As for the, so nicknamed: Keichō no okitegaki that "document" - that actually exists in numerous different and variable versions, all dating after the mid-18th century - in none of those do you ever find any referrence to any established "Fuke Sect", be it "komusō shakuhachi meditation", nor even less the term 'suizen', at all:

1751: The Keichō 19/1614 'Komusō' Certificate
     The Many Different All Fabricated Versions

And, to be sure: The idea that the first Tokugawa shōgun, named Ieyasu, would have recognized any 'komusō' in 1614, is simply ridiculous, in any respect.

Then, as for the fourth "documentary evidence" in question, the Kyotaku denki kokujikai, 虚鐸傳記国字解, "The Kyotaku Denki Rendered in the Japanese Language":

1795: The Kyotaku denki kokujikai Source Book

1795: The Kyotaku denki Original Text, 1795/1981
     edition, the Kyotaku denki kokujikai Illustrations,
     and Tsuge Gen'ichi's 1977 Translation

In none of those documents do you find any references to 'komusō' meditating with the 'shakuhachi' as a tool for such a purpose, simple as that!

No mention of 'suizen', whatsoever!

Just as there exists not even a single historical picture of a 'komusō' shown being seated while "meditating" with a 'shakuhachi'!

When you downright leave out, purge, those many texts from the historical narrative and academic discourse, here is what it leaves for you to appreciate and understand - to accept as being the facts when it comes to reliable historical documentary evidence:

1560-1614 - THE AGE of the LATE KOMOSŌ: THE FUKE-SŌ

1614-1664 - From KOMO-SŌ, FUKE-SŌ & "FUKE-KOMOSŌ" - to KOMUSŌ


To the front page To the top