「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

Wikipedia and the Like: Serious Misinformation
     regarding 'Komusō', 'Fuke-shū', 'Suizen' et cetera

Selected examples of seriously incorrect statements and grave misinformation are highlighted here

printed in red italic letters.


"It was used by the monks of the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism in the practice of
suizen (吹禅, blowing meditation)."

Correction: No, the historical shakuhachi players known as komusō were as a whole not genuine "Zen monks", the so called "Fuke sect" was in no way any full fledged Buddhist sect, and the term and practice of suizen did not at all exist until only shortly after the Second World War.
No evidence can be produced to confirm such however widespread popular claims.

"During the medieval period, shakuhachi were most notable for their role in the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhist monks, known as komusō ("priests of nothingness," or "emptiness monks"
虚無僧), who used the shakuhachi as a spiritual tool.

Correction: No, the historical term the "medieval period" of Japan covers the 13th through the 16th centuries, the Kamakura and Muromachi eras. The shakuhachi-playing komusō did not emerge in Japan before the middle of the 17th century: The early Edo Period.
We know of hardly any written evidence of the use of the shakuhachi as a "spiritual tool" during the first several formative decades of the komusō brotherhood's existence.


"Suizen was traditionally practised by the Komusō ("monks of emptiness"), the Zen Buddhist monks of the Fuke sect of Japan who flourished during the Edo period (1600 to 1868)."

No, suizen was certainly not practised by the komusō of the Edo Period, 1600-1868. The introduction of that term is being credited to the first genuine abbot of the Kyōto Myōan Temple, Yasuda Tenzan, 1909-1994, who served in that capacity from 1950 to 1952.

"In 1823 Hisamatsu Fūyō (Hisamatsu Masagoro Suga no Sandaharu – c. 1790s to c. 1880s) published his short treatise on suizen practice, Hitori Mondō ("self-questioning")."

No, Hisamatsu did of course not write about suizen 200 centuries ago.


"Fuke Zen came to Japan in the 13th century.
Komusō belonged to the Fuke sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
Fuke Zen comes from the teachings of Linji Yixuan, a Zen teacher from China in the 9th century.
Fuke, however, is the Japanese name for Puhua, one of Linji's peers and co-founders of his sect.
- - -
Komusō practiced suizen, which is meditation through the meditative blowing of a shakuhachi, as opposed to zazen, which is meditation through quiet sitting as practiced by most Zen followers.
- - -
As Fuke Zen increased in popularity through the Sengoku Period, groups of basket-headed komusō playing for hours on street corners or wandering the roadways on pilgrimages became a common sight.

No, "Fuke Zen" did not come to Japan in the 13th century.
No, "Fuke Zen" was not a branch of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
"Fuke Zen" was not a "school" of Chinese Zen Buddhism - Fuke was only a contemporary of Linji Yixuan during the early 9th century before Linji's "school" of Zen ever had formed.
- - -
No, komusō did not practise suizen.
- - -
No, nothing like "Fuke Zen" existed and was taking place place during the Sengoku Period, the "Age of Warring States", c. 1467–c. 1600, and there were definitely no "groups of basket-headed komusō playing for hours on street corners or wandering the roadways on pilgrimages" during that period.

"Travel around Japan was heavily restricted by the Ashikaga shogunate during this rebellious era, but the Fuke sect managed to wrangle a rare exemption from the Shōgun ...
- - -
When the Tokugawa Shogunate came into power over a unified Japan at the beginning of the 17th century, the komusō came under official government criticism for the first time. Because many new komusō had formerly been samurai disenfranchised during the Sengoku (Warring States) period (16th century) who were now lay clergy, the potential for trouble was obvious. Because many of the monks were former samurai, and had become rōnin when their masters were defeated—most likely by the Shogunate and their allies—the komusō (now greater in numbers than ever) were seen as untrustworthy and destabilizing to the new shogunate.

No, again: there were definitely no "basket-headed komusō" during the Ashikaga Period, 1336-1573, and a shogunate that oversaw any traveling "Fuke".
- - -
No, no, no! Just do ignore this entire last paragraph as it is simply complete nonsense, no less - all mixed up.
First of all: There were no komusō in Japan during the earliest decades of the 17th century!

That Wikipedia article about Komusō appears to have been authored by US Tennesseean
David Michael Weber


"Fuke-shū (Japanese: 普化宗 Fuke sect) or Fuke Zen was a distinct and ephemeral derivative school of Japanese Zen Buddhism which originated as an offshoot of the Rinzai school during the nation's feudal era, lasting from the 13th century until the late 19th century."

No, once more: There was absolutely no "Fuke activity" in Japan as early as in the 13th century.


"Myōan-ji (Japanese: 明暗寺, "Temple of Light and Darkness") is a Buddhist temple located in Kyoto, Japan."

"Myōan-ji is a sub-temple of Tōfuku-ji, and contained within the larger Tōfuku-ji temple complex, located in Higashiyama ward."

"It is the former headquarters and the premier pilgrimage site of the Fuke sect of Rinzai Zen."
- - -
Oh, no! Very little, if anything at all of this is, in fact, in any way "true"!

The present Kyōto Myōan Temple contained within the precincts of Tōfuku-ji is not "the former headquarters and the premier pilgrimage site" ... of itself!

Furthermore, the real "former" Myōan Temple of the Edo Period, located elsewhere in Kyōto, was not originally regarding itself as any "Fuke Sect" temple at all.

While at the same time, effective from 1705, that same temple in Kyōto was the only komusō temple that really succeeded in establishing some degree of a closer "link" to the well established Rinzai Zen institution, when the temple became a subtemple to Kōkoku-ji in Yura in present Wakayama Prefecture south of Kyōto and Nara in Central Japan.

Kōkoku-ji was itself a subtemple of the prominent Rinzai Zen temple Myōshin-ji in Kyōto, founded in 1342.
- - -

"The temple was founded by the komusō and Zen master Kichiku (known honorarily as Kyochiku Zenji) — in whose remembrance there is a small shrine contained within."
- - -
No, so certainly not!

First of all, the former, original Edo Period Kyōto Myōan Temple - located both north of the Tōfuku-ji and also north of the Sanjūsangendō Temple hall in the E. Higashiyama Area - was established sometime during the second half of the 17th century, not anytime before.

The name of the temple's true and actual founder was, most certainly, 'Engetsu Ryōgen Zenji' 淵月了源禅師, who died in 1695 acc. to preserved My⡝an-ji records.

'Kichiku' is the constructed name of a completely fabricated, legendary person who never lived.
In consequence, of course, neither could "he" have been a living 'komusō. Simple as that!

His name was changed to 'Kyochiku Ryōen Zenji', 淵月了源禅師, sometime after the turn of the 18th century, i.e. at the dawn of the 18th century, however certainly before the year 1735 when the new name was highlighted in an important official Kyōto Myōan-ji letter brought to the Myōshin-ji.


"Komusō played honkyoku for enlightenment and alms as early as the 13th century."

No, that is absolutely false. There were no komusō in 13th century Japan and the term and evidence of the practise of honkyoku first appears in a Kyōto Myōan Temple document dated 1694. Komusō first emerged in the mid-17th century.

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