「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

About this Research Project

By Torsten Olafsson

Especially warm thanks to:

Yuki Pallis & Tim Pallis, Kyōto, Japan/Copenhagen, Denmark -

Kirsten Refsing, Copenhagen, Denmark -

Joan Hornby, The National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen -

Taguchi Noriko & Taguchi Shigeo, Copenhagen, Denmark/Japan -

Sato Nakazato, calligrapher, Japan -

Kiku Day, The European Shakuhachi Society, Denmark/London, Great Britain/Japan -

Kosuge Daisetsu, Komusō Kenkyūkai c/o Hosshin-ji, Tōkyō, Japan -

Martina Binnig, Köln, Germany -

Kishi Kiyokazu, Shakuhachi suisō kenkyūkai, Japan -

Ronald Nelson, President of ISS/The International Shakuhachi Society, USA -

Monty H. Levenson, Tai Hei Shakuhachi, Willits, California, USA

for contributing to the (either/or) source materials search and bibliopgraphy, editing, illustrating, translating, interpreting, continued improvement and further completion of this "About this Research Project" webpage as well as other of this sites' webpages.

The studies of mine that are underlying these research webpages began in early September, 1968:

First Chinese Studies: Chinese Language, Culture & Art; next, from 1974: Japanese Studies: Language & Culture - while at that time being enrolled as a graduate research student at the Eastasian Institute, University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

The fundamental approach and goal is that of an uncompromisingly critical and unbiased investigation of all the extant, available original written and pictorial Japanese sources of shakuhachi 尺八 history and ideology, primarily focusing on the period from approximately 1450 through around 1750.

Well, then - I do admit to the truth: That is really an ambitious project, isn't it?
How could that come true at all, only possibly?

When, back in 1968, I began to study Chinese at the Copenhagen University in Denmark,
I couldn't know that half a century later I would be managing a website like the present, with all the discipline and diligence that actually demands of one single person, essentially working all alone, on his own, like I do - fully independently.

A completely non-profit research project it is indeed - con amore ...

In the Chinese language, culture & arts program, I soon found myself sincerely enjoying to learn a completely different language (and way of thinking and viewing the world, our planet Earth) from what I so far knew, and learn about a culture of such an immense importance in human history.

Learning the modern Chinese linguage was one sort of challenge - studying Classical Chinese literature such as excerpts from the Confucian Analects, Taoist teachings and texts about Classical Chinese music theory - that was simply a mind-blowing experience. Chinese archaeology, arts, philosophy, religion, calligraphy - and painting bamboo with but a few almost dry brush strokes on paper ...

However, becoming better acquainted and musically so fascinated with the Japanese shakuhachi bamboo flute, I had to change course and devote myself to the study of Japan, the geography, culture, society, language, arts, music and thought systems - in all that outspoken diversity and complexity.

At the Eastasian Institute in the very center of Copenhagen we read, analyzed, translated - and were eventually tested and examined in - the native literature from the very beginnings to recent times, for example:

'Kojiki', 'Nihon shoki', 'Taketori monogatori'; the poetry of 'Manyōshū' and other classical poetry anthologies such as 'Kokin wakashū' and 'Shin kokin wakashū'; the Heian court lady diaries 'Murasaki Shikibu Nikki' and 'Genji monogatari'; the warrior epic 'Heike monogatari' and writings with strong underlying Buddhist inspiration like 'Hōjōki' and 'Tsurezuregusa'.

Not to forget the 15th century masterpieces of linked verse, known as renga - first of all the 'Minase sangin hyakuin' by the poets Sōchō, Sōgi & Shōhaku, dated 1488.

Edo Period must read material was for instance the neo-confucian writers Dazai Shundai and Ogyū Sorai (the latter writing in Chinese style kambun); the much famed novel writer Ihara Saikaku and the certainly even more celebrated haiku poet Bashō.

Entering the post-Tokugawa times after 1868, the most prominent authors investigated were Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Natsume Sōseki and - Mishima Yukio.

Besides, on top of all this, dozens and more dozens of pages about Japanese music and shakuhachi history were eagerly but painstakingly studied, devotedly digested and warmly appreciated.


I keep feeling sincerely grateful towards my many gifted supportive teachers and academic bystanders, be they professors, bright scholars and assistant professors back then, in those utterly inspiring bygone days at the university:

Kirsten Refsing, Esperanza Ramirez Christensen, Mette Laderierre, Schuyler van R. Cammann, Olof G. Lidin, Mette Laderierre, Kirsten Rønbøl, Birthe Ahrendrup, Setsuko Bergholdt, Nina Fønss, Chi-yun Eskelund, Professor Chang, Else Glahn, Søren Egerod, Bo Gyllensvärd and Göran Malmqvist.

Professor Emerita Kirsten Refsing lecturing at Hokkaidō: University

Kirsten Refsing
Japanologist, translator & novel writer, Dr. Phil., Professor Emerita,
former Hong Kong University professor, retired Copenhagen University Dean.
Longtime internationally renowned Ainu Language researcher and expert.
Received the prestigious Order of Dannebrog on November 18, 2011.

Photo: Kirsten Refsing speaking and lecturing at Hokkaidō: University, N. Japan.

Among my many gifted high school teachers first of all the late Mr. Leif Bruun-Andersen who was responsible for the music program at Christianshavns Gymnasium during the mid- and late 1960s.
My so very inspiring, fantastic shakuhachi teachers in Japan:
Ozawa Seizan and Yokoyama Katsuya.
Not to forget Yoshimura Fuan Sōshin who introduced and recommended me to Ozawa Seizan sensei in 1977.

Fellow students and university friends that I shall never ever forget: Joan Hornby,
Erik Fæster Olesen, Elisabeth Grønvald, Karen E. Bjerre, Finn Chemnitz, Kari-Nina Pedersen, Søren M. Chr. Bisgaard, Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Inga-Lil Hansson & Ole & Ki Aabenhus.

Furthermore, persons - be they additional great friends, musician colleagues, shakuhachi enthusiasts, Japan society committee colleagues, specialists & mentors alike - for their kind support, appreciation, declared respect, inspiration, and valuable various assistances - for convenience here listed in the alphabetical order of their family names:

Marianne Alo, Jørgen Bennick, Martina Binnig, Hans Otto Bisgaard, Lea Stine Brich, Christian Briggs, Peder Bundgaard, Mary Lu Brandwein, Torben Dan Christensen, Kiku Day, Dean Del Bene, Geoff Duckworth, Karen Ejersbo Iversen, Frank Erdmann Fürst, Tom Frederiksen, Johnnie Gellett, Gert Günther, Morten Hansen, Douglas Hernandez, Philip Horan, Jytte Hovgaard, Jan Hurtigkarl, Svend M. Hvass, Mads Mazanti Jensen, Birgit Jenvold, Alxander Kabanov, Kakehi Atsuko, Vibeke Kamp, Kishi Kiyokazu, Kim Kyung-Hee, Palle Kjærulff-Schmidt, Jem Klein, Kosuge Daisetsu, Jørgen Krarup Edl, Lilli Krarup Edl, Kenneth Larsen, Stefan Lenz, Louise Lerche-Lerchenborg, Mei Levenson, Monty H. Levenson, Gunvor Lidin, Gitte Lund, Jørgen Lund, William P. Malm, Vlastislav Matousek, Dan E. Mayers, Kim Menzer, Chris Moran, Ron Nelson, Jerome Neu, Nancy Neukirch, John Høyer Nielsen, Agar Kyosui Noiri, Anders Nordin, Agnete Nyboe Andersen, Hanne Nøhr, Maria Olafsson, Marianne Olafsson, David Palanquez, Tim Pallis, Yuki Pallis, Laurence E.R. Picken, Graham Ranft, Lene Regius, Sakaguchi Yoshie, Sato Nakazato, David Sawyer, Yōkō Schandorff, Mikkel Scharff, Simura Satosi, Gert Smedegaard, Kasper Søeborg, Søren Sørensen, Taguchi Noriko, Taguchi Shigeo, Frédérique Thouvenot, Steen Toft Andersen, Tsukitani Tsuneko, Walther Ulrich, José Vargas, Uwe Walter, Per Weiss, Marco Flemming Widding, Per Wium, Yamakawa Sōkyū, Palle Aarslev ...

Not least, the sincerest thanks to my (younger) brother Finn Olafsson who, in Spring 1983, produced the one and only solo shakuhachi LP album of mine:
"Standing Waves - Zen Shakuhachi Meditations", the very first music album that Finn and I created and released together on our Olafssongs Music Publishing record label in that same year.

The album was kindly and expertly recorded in Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen - engineered by worldwide renowned recording engineer & music producer Flemming Rasmussen. Thank you, both!

Finn Olafsson and Flemming Rasmussen

Finn Olafsson and Flemming Rasmussen in present-day Sweet Silence Studios
in Helsingør/Elsinore, town of the Kronborg Castle and Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet,
North Sealand, Denmark

Kronborg, Spring 2017

Kronborg, Spring 2017 - Photo: Torsten Olafsson

Finally, most importantly, indeed: The warmest of cordial thanks to my dear Japanese hosts in Kyōto in 1977-78, the Tamura Family, with whom I am again in so very friendly contact.

Tamura Yoshiko and Tamura Shozo, Sanzen-in NE Kyoto

Tamura Yoshiko and Tamura Shōzō at Sanzen-in, NE Kyoto, Spring 1977

Tamura Yoshiko: Japanese sumi-e ink painting of Lake Biwa - 2016

Tamura Yoshiko: Japanese sumi-e ink painting of Lake Biwa - 2016

Please do note that you are really not reading a printed book here - this is just a WWW Internet based "E-publication".

It keeps growing ever steadily as I can't help but finding yet more new "goodies" to be shared with you ...

So utterly different from a traditional old-fashioned printed book, though:
It disappears by the very moment you turn off the electrical power supply ...

To be continued, deepened and elaborated upon ...

Japanese standard books about the shakuhachi

Japanese standard reference books about the shakuhachi, and other ...

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Torsten Olafsson