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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

1637-1640: The Shimabara Uprising on Kyūshū,
     the National "Sects Inspection Bureau", and the
     Efficient Extinction of Catholic Christian Believers



The practice of fumi-e, 踏み絵 - the forced trampling of Christian images - is introduced and kept in constant national execution and effect through the year 1858.

The religious authorities of the Tokugawa shōgunate requires suspected Christians to step on images of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in order to prove that they are not members of that outlawed religion.

Fumi-e   Fumi-e

Fumi-e: Jesus Christ & the Virgin Mary

Fumi-e inquisitional ceremony in the early 19th century. Painting by Keiga Kawahara, around 1826

Painting of a 'fumi-e' inquisitional ceremony by Keiga Kawahara, 1786–1860?, a citizen of Nagasaki, created sometime during 1800-1829.

Source: National Library of the Netherlands. Link:


1635 - The Jisha bugyō, Magistrate of Temples and Shrines, is officially established as a permanent position.
Four Jisha bugyō, "temple & shrines magistrates", are appointed from among the fudai daimyō, and since now they take turns in the position for one-month intervals.



1637: Christian farmers, warriors, rōnin (masterless samurai) and others revolt against the authorities on the Shimabara Peninsula in Kyūshū.
When the uprising was put down in 1638, tens of thousands had been killed. All surviving rebels, numbering in the thousands, were decapitated.
Christianity was now strictly outlawed in Japan and informers were encouraged.

Folding screen depicting the rebellion at Shimabara

'Shimabara ran-zu byōbu'
"Folding screen depicting the rebellion at Shimabara".
Source: Wikipedia.

Map of Hara Castle, Shimabara

Map of Hara Castle, Shimabara. Source: Wikipedia.

1639, July 5: The captain-major of two visiting Portuguese ships at Nagasaki is presented with a copy of a decree which orders the immediate and permanent cessation of all trade between the Portuguese and Japan.

1640, July: A portuguese vessel carrying a specially selected embassy reaches Nagasaki in one last attempt to persuade the shōgun to change his mind.
On August 1, the entire party is arrested and imprisoned.

1640, August 4: 61 of the prisoners are executed on "Martyr's Mount" - 13 native crew members are spared and sent back to the Portuguese colony Macao, to report what has happened.

     Source: C.R. Boxer, 1993, pp. 384-385.


In 1640, in direct consequence of the Shimabara Rebellion, the Tokugawa Bakufu orders the socalled Shūmon aratame-yaku, or "officers for examining the religious sects", to be set up.

From this time on, the major sects of Buddhism were made responsible for producing registers of religious affiliation of every Japanese household with one specific Buddhist temple.
The socalled Danka seidō, or "Danka System", in which Japanese households since the Heian Period, 794-1185, had voluntarily been supporting the temples financially, was now reshaped into a most effective instrument with which the government could monitor the population and - first of all - suppress and eliminate the Christian faith and its believers, on a mandatory basis.

Read more about the Danka seidō - and the very important socalled tera-uke 寺請, or "temple certificates", issued annually by the temples - on these pages:

Wikipedia: The Danka system

Even though the later komusō fraternity was, seemingly, to some extent officially recognized by the Tokugawa government in January, 1678, in some capacity as a "semi-religious brotherhood", the komusō "temples" did not play any role in administering and partaking professionally in the Danka System of the Edo Period at all.

Furthermore, the komusō are not known to have performed formal funeral and ancestor commemoration services, nor do the komusō temples appear to have had any cemeteries for the common population - nor themselves! - within their precincts. *
This possibly explains, at least in part, why it did not require much more than a few brush strokes for the new Meiji Government - in October, 1871 - to completely bring an end to the komusō tradition.

     * See f.i. Yamaguchi Masayoshi, 2005, p. 187.


1642: The former warrior, loyal supporter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and devoted Zen buddhist monk and writer Suzuki Shōsan completes his strongly anti-Christian essay Ha Kirishitan, "Crush Christianity".
Interestingly, Shōsan was an outspoken admirer of Fuke Zenji - see 1648, the Roankyō.

1651: A 'rōnin' revolt led by Yūi Shōsetsu is put down by the shōgunate.

1657-1658: An attempted revolt involving both 'rōnin' and Christians is discovered and the rioters eliminated.


WANTED: Believers in the Christian Faith - Earn a Reward !!!


"Public Proclamation About the Prohibited Christian Faith"

Reward proclamation, wanted signboard

Reward proclamation, public sign board

Reward proclamation, wording

Reward proclamation, wording

伴天連之訴人 (ばてれん之訴人)   銀三百枚
いるまんの訴人 (入満の訴人)   銀弐百枚
同宿弁宗門訴人   銀五拾枚

Japanese text about the promised rewards:

1: "A person who reports a Catholic Father (shall earn) 300 pieces of silver."

2: "A person who reports a non-ordained Christian monk (shall earn) 200 pieces of silver."

3: "A person who reports some one who speaks about the creed in the same place
= a lay believer (shall earn) 500 pieces of silver."

     Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson, 2018.
     Source: Fujii Joji, 2013, p. 69.

1664: The shōgunate, or bakufu, orders every daimyō to establish in their domain an officer of religious investigation, i.e. either a magistrate of religion (shūmon bugyō) or magistrate of temples and shrines (jisha bugyō).

1665: Registries of religious affiliation are now being produced on a nationwide scale.

The registry's format is finally standardized in 1671 - the system of religious inspection and obligatory temple certification has now become completely consolidated by law and is carried out effectively, on a yearly basis, in all of Japan.

1665: Registries of religious affiliation are now being produced on a nationwide scale.



1671: The registry's format is finally standardized. The system of religious inspection and obligatory temple certification has now become completely consolidated by law and is carried out effectively - and efficiently on a yearly basis, in all of Japan - with expectable exceptions, of course.

Read more on this local webpage: 1549 ... The Catholic Christian Century and the Temple Patron Household System,
- and here: Wikipedia: The Danka System

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