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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

Ikkyû's 'Ryôtô poem' - Ueno Katami 1983 edition

Figure 6

Ikkyū's (???) "Ryōtō poem"
in the Taigenshō, 1512
At least acc. to Ueno Katami
1983 edition

Ikkyû's 'Uji poem' - Ueno Katami 1983 edition

Figure 8

Ikkyū's "Uji poem"
in the Taigenshō, 1512
Ueno Katami
1983 edition

1470s?: The Dance-Kyōgen Play Rakuami
and the Philosophy of Non-Dual Ultimate Reality


'Rakuami' in Kyōgen Master Ōkura Toraakira's 'Kyōgen-shū', Kyōto, 1642

Does a more than 500 years old 4-line poem mark the origin of genuine "non-dualistic"
ascetic bamboo flute playing ideology in Medieval Japan?:

When Dualism is cut off [or, eliminated, rejected],
the inside of the shakuhachi transcends
[the distinction between] Past and Present.
That unique Sound of Impermanence blowing forth
brings even the Purest of Wisdom [Skt.: Jnana] to an end,
without limit."

Newly trsl. by T.O., Spring, 2019

It is widely agreed among Japanese kyōgen researchers that 'Rakuami' is the oldest of all kyōgen plays, at least in the categori of the so called "dance kyōgen", 'mai-kyōgen', 舞狂言.

It is also generally being surmised that what may have been a very early version of 'Rakuami', titled 'Shakuhachi', was indeed performed for the Imperial Prince Sadatsune at the Jūshin-in temple in Nara on the 17th day of the 3rd month in the third year of Bun'an, i.e. April 4, 1446.

Read more about 'Shakuhachi no nō - web page will open in a new browser window

'Rakuami' is being staged even today by, among other fine traditionally trained actors, the Ōkura Family of kyōgen specialist performers.

The oldest known surviving written version of 'Rakuami' was published in Kyōto in 1642 by the 13th Head of the Ōkura School of Kyōgen, Ōkura Toraakira, 1597-1662. Bearing his name, the publication is titled 'Ōkura Toraakira-bon Kyōgen-shū', 大蔵虎寛本狂言集, "Ōkura Toraakira's Anthology of Kyōgen Plays."
The original collection comprises 8 volumes with a total of 237 plays contained.

A manuscripted copy of 'Rakuami' is found reproduced in an important 1944 kyōgen anthology titled 'Kohon nō kyōgen-shū', 大蔵虎寛本狂言集, "Anthology of the Kyōgen-shū in Old Books", in vol. 2 on pages 742-748 (frames 378-381):

'Rakuami', 1642 - Link to Japan's National Diet Library, Digital Collection

Now, as for the poem in question, here you see it as printed on page 745 in Volume 2 of this mid-1600s kyōgen collection, with a short introduction spoken by the ghost of the deceased shakuhachi player Rakuami, himself - cf. A.L. Sadler's translation in the below:

The "Reject Dualism" poem in 'Rakuami', 1642 version

The "Reject Dualism" poem in 'Rakuami', 1642 version.

Fortunately, the two highly renowned kyōgen specialists Ikeda Hiroshi & Kitahara Yasuo have supplied an authoritative transcript of that old "running-hand" style scripture in Volume 2 of their momumental early 1970s 3 volumes very thorough study of the 'Ōkura Toraakira-bon Kyōgen-shū':

The "Reject Dualism" poem in 'Rakuami', 1642, transcribed in Ikeda & Kitahara, 1973, Vol. 2, p. 392.

The "Cut Off Dualism" poem in 'Rakuami', 1642,
transcribed and printed in Ikeda & Kitahara, 1973, Vol. 2, p. 392.

Yet again, here transformed into Japanese mixed script, including kanji, however omitting Ikeda & Kitahara's added punctuation:



A quite fulfilling new translaton/interpretation of the text reads as follows,

Says Rakuami,

"What for is this so mysterious ... ?
It also says in that writing of the Rōan Temple in Uji,

When Dualism is cut off [or, eliminated, rejected],
the inside of the shakuhachi transcends
[the distinction between] Past and Present.
That unique Sound of Impermanence blowing forth
brings even the Purest of Wisdom [Skt.: Jnana] to an end,
without limit."

New translation by T.O., Spring, 2019

Read about Kyōgen on Wikipedia

Material about 'Rakuami' presented before May, 2019

In the classical Japanese comic dance play 'Rakuami' you find most certainly the most essential poem in all of ascetic shakuhachi ideological history - here one of the several known slightly different versions:

"When Dualism is rejecteded,
the inside of the shakuhachi transcends [the distinction between] Past and Present.
That single unique Sound of Impermanence blowing forth
brings even the Purest of Wisdom [Skt.: Jnana] to an end,
without limit."


Recent new translation by T.O.

- in romanization:

Ryōtō o setsudan shite yori kono kata,
shakuhassun no uchi kokon ni tsūzu;
fuki-okosu mujō-shin no ikkyoku,
sanzenri-gai ni chi-in wa zessu.


"Happy Ami"

Date: Unknown. Perhaps as early as the mid-15th century.
Author: Unknown.
'Rakuami' is probably the earliest "dance-kyōgen" play ever created.

Source of original classical Japanese text: 'Kyōgen-ki", 1917 edition.

Rakuami kyougen-ki-a

Rakuami kyougen-ki-b

Rakuami kyougen-ki-c

Rakuami kyougen-ki-d

Text of the 'Rakuami' kyōgen play reprinted in the book 'Kyōgen-ki', 1917 edition.

Below you will find A.L. Sadler's English translation - originally published in Sidney in 1934 - of the amazing Japanese Nō-style dance-kyōgen play "Rakuami". This enchanting yet also somewhat tragic tale certainly deserves to be appreciated within the context of early Ascetic Shakuhachi history and ideology ...

A commentary follows after A.L. Sadler's translation - paragraph numbers have been added for easy reference.

'Rakuami' in the Kyôgen-ki - 1917 version. Photo: The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark. Left-click to open PDF with the complete 'Rakuami' text.
'Rakuami' in the Kyōgen-ki - 1917 edition
The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark


The poor mendicant finds a dog at every gate! I am a man of the eastern provinces, and as I have never seen the Shrines of Ise, you now behold me on my way thither.
Weary and travel-stained, I plod my way onwards, lacking even a change of raiment, and now I have come to Beppo in the farfamed Province of Ise.

Rapidly he pushes on his journey, and soon he has come to the pine-grove of Beppo.
And on a certain pine he sees the tablets and "tanzaku" (*) are hanging, and what look like many "shakuhachi".
Surely concerning these things there must be some tale, so he would ask the people of the place. Is no one here?

What would you ask of us who live round here?

I see these tablets and "tanzaku" on this pine, and many "shakuhachi" hang upon it.
There must be some story of these things, and 'tis of this I would inquire.

Ah, concerning that matter.
In former days there was a flute-player called Raku-ami who played the "shakuhachi" until he blew himself to death, and the people about here, feeling sorry for him, buried him here, and planted this pine in memory of him.
Perhaps your reverence will, of your charity, say a prayer for him in passing, even though your affinities have nothing in common.
I perceive that you also play the "shakuhachi" for you carry one in your girdle.

No, no. That is only to frighten away the dogs.
Still, though I have no connection with him, I will not refuse him my prayers.

And if there is anything else you wish to know, please ask us.

I will.

At your service.

So here lies the remains of Raku-amida-butsu. In memory of his sad story I will take this "shakuhachi" that I have here and play a tune.

How delightful the sound of the "shakuhachi". He plays the tune called "Sochogiri".

How strange! It as though I saw a shadow haunt my dreams.

13 - CHORUS:
The tenor flute; the alto flute; the soprano flute, the double flute he hears! And who is he who stands enchanted by the liquid tones?

I am that Raku-ami who of old time did blow myself to death upon this pipe. Your mellow tones have charmed me from the shades.

A miracle! To hear Raku-amida-butsu of ancient fame thus speak to me is strange indeed!

Wherefore do you think it strange? For in the book of the "shakuhachi" in the Temple of Ryoanji we read, that

when the two extremities of the bamboo are cut and determined, between the eighteen inches of its length a whole world lies.
And in one melody that breathes the spirit of impermanence there lies a power of communication that transcends the confines of the Empire.

Indeed you speak truth. For it is by virtue of this flute that I hold intercourse with Raku-amida-butsu famed of old. In it is the knowledge of all ages.

'Tis true indeed. For by the flute I was well-known even in the eastern provinces.


How full of meaning; wondrous pleasing is this pipe! But I can play nought but discordant tones. Such have no power to sound beyond our borders, so I will lay my instrument aside, and do you play.

We'll play in concert.

No, no! I would not make your melody discordant.

23 - CHORUS:
So at his bidding he takes the tenor flute, and puts it to his lips and plays a tune: To-ra-a-ro-ra, ri-i, ri-i, to-ra-a-ro, ra-a-ro, fu-u.

What cherished memories it recalls! But now I must return.

Alas, how sad your fate! Pray tell me how it came about.

Well, I will tell you. In former days, I used to wander round with doleful countenance, playing my "shakuhachi" to chance travellers or in front of rest-houses or at people's doors, whether they would or no; and if I did not get a copper for my pains, I would get angry and would revile them, and then, crying out that my playing was execrable and not to be borne, they would take a carrying-pole and send me flying.
And to this day among the shades I labour with pole and cord at my old flute, heating and treading and twisting and pulling to shape the bamboo aright.
I pray thee aid me, priest.
For until now my great attachment to this art has kept me bound to the circling wheel of birth and death.
How hateful is my love for this old flute.

(*) tanzaku = poem slips

See the complete text of 'Rakuami' as printed in the
Kyōgen-ki, 1917 edition.
The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark (PDF, 3,1 MB).


13: "The tenor flute; the alto flute; the soprano flute, the double flute ... " - the actual flute types mentioned are:
Ō-shakuhachi, ko-shakuhachi, shi-teki, han-teki and ryū-teki, i.e.: "all kinds of flutes" (cp. figure 1, to the left).

Some might perhaps speculate whether the "big" shakuhachi,
ō-shakuhachi, could have been not just a longer, but also a thicker and more heavy type of vertically held flute than the "small" shakuhachi, ko-shakuhachi, which would then have been shorter, and thinner - like the "hitoyogiri" ... ?

However, the overall meaning may rather be that of "shakuhachi in various sizes".

16: "The Temple of Ryoanji" - the correct romanization of the ideographs should be Rōan-ji (cp. figure 2, to the left).

16 - the poem, in Sadler's quite confusing, miscomprehended translation:

"When the two extremities of the bamboo are cut and determined, between the eighteen inches of its length a whole world lies.
And in one melody that breathes the spirit of impermanence there lies a power of communication
that transcends the confines of the Empire."

Here the poem in Japanese (cp. four slightly differing printed versions in figures 3, 5, 7, and 9, to the right):


- in romaji:

Ryōtō o setsudan shite yori kono kata,
shakuhassun no uchi kokon ni tsūzu;
fuki-okosu mujō-shin no ikkyoku,
sanzenri-gai ni chi-in wa zessu.

A very thorough and detailed study of Rakuami is presented in Carolyn Martha Haynes' excellent PhD thesis 'Parody in the maikyōgen and the monogurui kyōgen' (1988).

Her translation of the poem in question reads as follows, as being based on an Izumi School version of Rakuami presented in Nomura & Andō, 1974:

"When both ends are cut, the Middle Way is clear;
One Breath through the flute joins past and present.
In three thousand leagues there will be none
Who understands an enlightened tone."

In her commentary (pp. 104-105) Carolyn Haynes explains as follows:

"The first line, tezukara ryōto setdan shite yori, has a double meaning;
it refers both to transcending the illusion of the duality of existence and the manufacturing the shakuhachi, cutting the two ends of the instrument.

The last two lines imply the rarity of people enlightened enough to appreciate music played with true mujōshin, an understanding of the impermanence of things.
Thus, for Rakuami and the priest, the boundary between the living and the dead is nothing that love of their art cannot transcend."


On internationally renowned US kyōgen specialist and performer Don Kenny's comprehensive and very informative website you also find this enlightening translation/rendering of Rakuami's poem - see direct link at web page bottom:

After severing the dragon head, the Shakuhachi is tuned
by playing the Song of Transience, thus made so that
it forms close friendships between those from places
more than three thousand miles apart.


Ryōtō, 両頭, commonly translated as "double-sided", or "double-headed", also carries the meaning of "dual(istic) opposites", such as f.i. Birth versus Death; Suffering versus Relief; Delusion versus Enlightenment (Zengaku Jiten p. 1501).

The term, or concept, of setsu-dan, 截断/切断, to "cut off", appears as early as in the 10th century, in a poem by the Chinese Zen master Tokusan Enmyō (Zengaku Jiten p. 720).

It is highly probable that ryōtō, lit. "Twin Heads", refers to Fuke Zenji's recorded saying in the Rinzai roku, Ch. 29, 9th century, in which he speaks about the "Bright Head", 明頭, and the "Dark Head", 暗頭, both of which are to be rejected, it is being proclaimed.

Fuke Zenji who was a Chinese pre-Rinzai Lineage Ch'an/Zen monk may actually, in his myōan 明暗 poem, be polemizing on the 8th century Chinese Sōtō Zen monk Sekitō Kisen's statements about 明暗 in the famous essay of his, the Sandōkai ...

An alternative, somewhat more sophisticated, interpretation of the Myō-an (or Mei-an) Couple (or Pair): Myōan sōsō, 明暗雙雙, is given in Zengaku Jiten, p. 1397. Here myō (alt. mei) signifies the "discriminate", or "partial", where as An represents the "indiscriminate", or "impartial".

The renowned Japanese Zen master Takuan Sōhō (1573–1645) is known to have composed one very comprehensive literary work entitled as follows:
明暗雙雙集, Myōan sōsō shū, "Anthology of Myōan Duality".

The meaning of mujō, 無常, is elegantly explained by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen in her outstanding book 'Emptiness and Temporality. Buddhism and Medieval Japanese Poetics' (2008):

"Mujō 無常 Mutability or temporality, the coming into appearance and subsequent dissolution of things through the vicissitudes of time; epistemologically related to the absence of an eternal core, essence, or substance in things, hence their emptiness. Mujō may be said to be one of the principal registers of the Japanese traditional aesthetic sensibility, both in its privative and ecstatic modes. It is crucial to the experience of compassion, and a fundamental element in the awakening of religious faith."


Rakuami has survived till today among a total of more than 250 classical kyōgen plays still being performed.

Some Japanese kyōgen authorities do in fact recognize Rakuami as possibly the oldest play in the repertory of the Ōkura School of kyōgen, believed to have been founded by Konparu Yatarō, active ca. 1532-1555, or perhaps by Konparu Mangorō, ca. 1532-1570.

The title Rakuami first appears in a register of kyōgen plays in the Tenshō kyōgen-bon, 天正狂言本, dated 1576 or 1578 - it is, however, a popular theory that the play may in fact originate from the dengaku play Shakuhachi no nō, 尺八の能, reported to have been performed in Nara as early as in 1446 (Bun'an 3).

Still, the oldest surviving version of the Rakuami text as such has been preserved only in the kyōgen collection Toraakira-bon, 大蔵虎明本, dated as late as 1642, compiled by the 13th head of the Ōkura School, Ōkura Yaemon Toraakira, 1597-1662.

Then, since 1660, the Rakuami text has appeared in quite numerous editions of the socalled E-iri kyōgen-ki, 絵入狂言記, 'Illustrated Records of Kyōgen' as well as in a few 20th century kyōgen publications.


Among the many old Fuke Shakuhachi textual sources preserved at the Myōan-ji in Kyōto, one especially fascinating document is entitled Kyorei-zan engi narabi ni sankyorei-fu ben,
虚霊三縁起並ニ虚霊譜辯, "Lecture on the Origin of the Empty Spirit Mountain [i.e. the Kyōto Myōan-ji] and the Three Empty Spirit Music Pieces [i.e. Mukaiji, Kyorei & Kokū]".

Dated 1737, Kyōhō 22, 9th month, this hand-scroll bears the signature of Kandō Ichiyū, 寛堂一宥, 18th abbot in the traditional Myōan-ji lineage, who died in 1738, Genbun 3, 2nd month, 23rd day (Nakatsuka Chikuzen, 1979, pp. 133 & 150).

Quoting from that text:



"Kyochiku had [or, favoured] a speculative Buddhist verse,
which says,

"When all Dualistic Thinking is eliminated,
the shakuhachi dissolves the distinction between Past and Present.
That one unique sound of the True Reality of the Non-born
brings even the Purest of Wisdom [Skt.: Jnana] to an end,
without limit."

Do note that 無生真 here, and 無常心 quoted previously, are homonyms, both being pronounced as mu-jō shin.
However, their meanings do in fact differ: A "mind of impermanence" and "non-born true reality", respectively.
Perhaps the author of the Kyorei-zan engi only knew the original poem from hearsay, or - he may deliberately have changed the two characters?

The Kyorei-zan engi text continues,


"Once Kyochiku stayed in Uji in Jōshū [mod. Kyōto Prefecture] he called himself 'Rōan the Hermit'.
By the end of his life he erected a five-levelled monument
[a 'gorintō' grave pagoda?] in the vicinity of Uji.
People call it 'The Grave of Fuke'."

This is how legends are created, 'history' fabricated/invented - through the cunning manipulation of quotations from scriptures of the past ...

Torsten Olafsson - March 2010. Revised in May 2017

BIBLIOGRAPHY - specific:

Christopher Blasdel & Kamisangō Yūkō:
     The Shakuhachi. A Manual for Learning.
     Printed Matter Press, Tokyo, 2008. Pages 78-80.

Hashimoto Asao & Doi Yōichi, eds.: Kyōgen ki.
     Shin Nihon koten bungaku taikei, Vol. 58,
     Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1996. Pages 541-542.

Carolyn Martha Haynes: Parody in the maikyōgen
     and the monogurui kyōgen. Ph.D. thesis.
     Cornell University, 1988. Pages 102-131 & 268-271.
     Available online at
     Cat. no. AAT 8804579.

Ikeda Hiroshi & Kitahara Yasuo, researchers & editors:
     Ōkura; toraakira-bon kyōgenshū no kenkyū,
     "A Study of the Ōkura; toraakira-bon kyōgenshū."
     Vol. 2. Hyōgensha, Tokyo, 1973. 3 volumes.
     Original work published in Kyoto, 1642.

Riley Kelly Lee: Yearning for the Bell: A Study of
     Transmission in the Shakuhachi Honkyoku Tradition.
     Ph.D. thesis, University of Sidney, 1992. Ch. 3.2.1.
     Accessible online at:

Nakatsuka Chikuzen: Kinko-ryū Shakuhachi Shikan.
     Nihon Ongaku-sha, Tokyo, 1979. Pages 133 & 150.

Nishiyama Matsunosuke: Iemoto Monogatari.
     Chūō Kōronsha, Tokyo, 1976. Pages 162-164.

Nomura Hachirō, ed.: Kyōgen-ki. "The Book of Kyōgen."
     2 vols., Yūhōdō Shoten, Tokyo, 1917. Vol 2: Pages 173-176.

Nomura Kaizō and Andō Tsunejirō, eds.: Kyōgen Shūsei.
     Shun'yōdō, 1931. Revised and expanded edition
     published by Nōgaku Shorin, 1974. Pages 511-512.
     I have not yet been able to obtain a copy of this book.

Ōkura Yaemon Toraakira: Toraakira-bon.
     8 vols., Kyoto, 1642. 237 kyōgen plays.

Torsten Olafsson: Kaidō Honsoku, 1628: The Komosō's Fuke
     Shakuhachi Credo. On Early 17th Century Ascetic Shakuhachi
     Ideology. Publ. by Tai Hei Shakuhachi, California, 2003.
     Includes a CD-ROM with the author's complete M.A. thesis on
     the same subject.
     University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 1987.
     Purchasable at
     Thesis pages 108 & 131.

Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen: Emptiness and Temporality.
     Buddhism and Medieval Japanese Poetics.
     Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 2008.
     Page 186.

A.L. Sadler: Japanese Plays. No-Kyogen-Kabuki.
     Translated by A.L. Sadler, M.A.
     Argus & Robertson Limited. Sidney, 1934. Pages 124-126.

Sadler & Atkins: Japanese Plays - 2010 edition

A.L. Sadler: Japanese Plays: Classic Noh, Kyogen,
     and Kabuki Works. Translations by A.L. Sadler,
     with a new foreword by Paul S. Atkins.
     New edition published by Tuttle Publishing, 2010.

Sasano Ken, editor (1901-1961): Kohon nō kyōgenshū, Vol. 2.
     4 vols., Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1944.

Takahashi Kūzan: Fukeshū-shi. Sono shakuhachi sōhō no gakuri.      Fukeshū-shi kankōkai, Tokyo, 1979. Page 31.

Toyohara Sumiaki (1450-1524): Taigenshō (compl. in 1512), 13 vols.
     Nihon koten zenshū kankōkai, Tokyo, 1933.
     I have not yet been able to obtain a copy of this book.
     A digitalized version of an 1841 edition of the Taigenshō
     preserved in The Library of Congress in Washington
     is offered for free download at this web address:
     The link to the downloadable PDF does, however, direct you
     to a text in German, not to the Taigenshō file.
     Two editions of the Taigenshō are preserved
     in microfilm format at the Library of the Imperial
     Household in Tokyo.

Ueno Katami: Shakuhachi no rekishi. Shimada Ongaku Shuppan,
     Tokyo, 1983, Pages 162-163 && 213-215.
     New edition publ. by Shuppan Geijutsu-sha, Tokyo, 2002.

Zengaku Jiten, ed. by Jimbo Nyoten & Andō Bun'ei,
     Shōbō Genzō Chūkai Zensho Kankōkai,
     Tokyo, 1962. Page 1501.


Don Kenny: Kyōgen in English:
     Kyōgen in English: The dance-kyōgen 'Rakuami' translated

     Weblog focusing on 'Shakuhachi, Ikkyū, Komusō' and - Rakuami.

     Webblog focusing on 'Komusō in the Heisei Period' and - Rakuami.

Yasanichi Kyōgen search website: Ancient Kyōgen Librettos:
     Ōkura-ryū, The Ōkura School


Junko Sakaba Berberich: 'Rapture in Kyōgen.' Ph.D.
     University of Hawaii, USA, 1982.
     Available online at
     or at
     Cat. no. AAT 8302436.

Julie Iezzi: 'Kyōgen in English: A Bibliography.'
     Asian Theatre Journal, Vol. 24, No. 1, Spring 2007, pp. 211-234.
     Available online at

Carolyn Haynes: 'Comic Inversion in Kyōgen:
     Ghosts and the Nether World.'
     The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese,
     Vol. 22, No. 1 (April 1988), pp. 29-46.
     Available online at

Carolyn Haynes: 'Parody in Kyōgen:
     Makura monogurui and Tako.'
     Monumenta Nipponica,
     Vol. 39, No. 3 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 261-279.
     Available online at

Don Kenny: The Book of Kyōgen in English.
     Dramabooks (Geki Shobō), Tokyo, 1986.
     Fourteen kyōgen songs and six plays.

Don Kenny, comp.: The Kyōgen Book:
     An Anthology of Japanese Classical Comedies.
     The Japan Times, Tokyo, 1989. 31 plays.

Don Kenny: A Guide to Kyōgen.
     Tokyo: Hinoki Shoten, 1968; 4th ed. 1990.
     Synopses of all plays in the repertoire and a brief introduction.

Timothy Moore, Department of Classics, University of Texas:
     'Works in English on Japanese Kyōgen.'
     Online Kyōgen bibliography at

Zvika Serper: 'Japanese Noh and Kyōgen Plays:
     staging dichotomy.'
     Comparative Drama (Journal for comparative
     and interdisciplinary study of drama), Vol. 39, Fall-Winter, 2005,
     Western Michigan University, USA, 2005.
     Read and print free article copy at

Dorothy T. Shibano: 'Suehirogari. The Fan of Felicity.'
     Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Spring, 1980), pp. 77-88.
     Available online at

Dorothy Toshiko Shibano: 'Kyōgen':
     The Comic as Drama. Ph.D. thesis.
     University of Washington, USA, 1973.
     Available online at
     Cat. no. AAT 8626697.

Kanlayanee Sitasuwan: Language Usage in Kyōgen
     (Japanese Comic Drama). Ph.D. thesis.
     University of Washington, USA, 1986.
     Available online at
     Cat. no. AAT 7402232.


Tojiro Yamamoto Dynasty DVD set

Tōjirō Yamamoto Dynasty:
     Kyōgen of the Tōjirō Yamamoto Dynasty
     10 CD set including "Rakuami" (Ōkura-ryū).
     Published in May, 2007.
     Available from Far Side Music - item no. FSV3299

Tojiro Yamamoto Family performance, Indonesia

Tōjirō Yamamoto Family performance in Indonesia

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Rakuami poem - Ō:kura Toraakirabon Kyōgenshū, 1642

Figure 0

'Rakuami' poem:
"Reject Dualism".
Ōkura Toraakira-bon
Kyōgen-shū, 1642
In Ikeda & Kitahara, 1973

Rakuami: five flute types

Figure 1


Rôan-ji no shakuhachi no hon

Figure 2

"Rōan-ji no
no sho"

Rakuami poem - Nishiyama Matsunosuke 1976 edition

Figure 3

Rakuami poem
1976 edition

Rakuami poem - Takahashi Kūzan 1979 edition

Figure 4

Two Ikkyū poems
in the Taigenshō, 1512
At least acc. to
Takahashi Kūzan
1979 edition

Rakuami poem - 1917 edition

Figure 5

Rakuami poem
1917 edition

Rakuami poem - 1996 edition

Figure 7

Rakuami poem
1996 edition

Rakuami poem - 1983 edition

Figure 9

Rakuami poem
Ueno Katami
1983 edition