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      '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


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ca. 1685-1690: The Yōshū fu-shi
     & Jinrin kinmō zu-i - Evidence of Kyōto Myōan-ji

妙安寺 - MYŌAN-JI

1682-1686: YŌSHŪFU-SHI - Records of the Kyōto Area

雍州府志 巻四
在 蓮華王院 南 而為禪刹。

"Records of the Kyōto Area, Volume 4
Temples & Shrines, Part 1
Myōan-ji is located south of the Rengeō-in, 蓮華王院, "Hall of the Lotus King" [the Sanjūsangen-dō], and it is a Zen temple."

The descriptive text continues like this, in Max Deeg's translation (Deeg, 2007, p. 26):

"In the recent past there was a strange monk called Roan. Nobody knows where he comes from. At his time he was very close to master Ikkyū of the Daitoku-ji, Ryūgoku-zan 龍寶山. He had a predilection for the practice of the wind-holes (that is: flutes) and he loved to blow the shakuhachi.
He called himself 'the ascetic wind-hole' (fūketsu-dōsha 風穴道者).
Originally he lived in the district of Uji 宇治 in the (hermitage) Kyūkō-an 吸江菴.
He also lived in this temple (Myōan-ji) for a while. As people say, this is the main temple of the komusō." "

This may be regarded as the earliest known written reference to the Kyōto Myōan Temple in South Eastern Kyōto (Higashiyama Area) although the name is written with different characters.

The famous Sanjūsangen-dō, 三十三間堂, with its 1001 golden Kannon statues is situated just south of the present Shichi-jō Avenue in the Higashiyama area.

However, there is general consensus that not long afterwards and until 1871 the Kyoreizan Myōan-ji was rather located a short distance to the North, in the close neighbourhood of the famous Edo Period Dai-butsu, 大仏, "Great Buddha", of the Tendai temple Hōkō-ji, 方広寺, right north of the Toyokuni Shrine.
Other close neighbours in this area are the present-day Kyōto National Museum to the South and the Myōhō-in to the East.

     10 volumes by Kurokawa Dōyū, died 1691.
     Source: Yamaguchi, 2005, p. 82.
     Trsl. Torsten Olafsson, 2013.




"An Illustrated Dictionary of Human Matters", or: "An Illustrated Vocabulary of Human Relations"

Two komusō in Jinrin kinmō zu-i, 1690

Two 'komusō' playing root-end shakuhachi
In: 'Jinrin kinmō zu-i', 1690 - Maki/Vol. 2
By Makieshi Genzaburō & Atsuo Masamune
The Library of Kyōto University
Link to Kyōto University's online presentation of this volume

Two komusō in Jinrin kinmō zu-i, 1690

In: Ueno, 2002, p. 219

This is the so far possibly oldest known surviving picture showing 'komusō'
performing 'taku-hatsu', 托鉢, or: 'being entrusted with a bowl'
(practicing ascetic religious mendicancy) at the gate of a house.

Their flutes are certainly of the heavy 'kon-jiku', 根竹, or "root-end" type.

Two komusō in Jinrin kinmō zu-i, 1690

Two komusō in Jinrin kinmō zu-i, 1690

Do note that the figure to the left is clad in the traditional dress of a Buddhist monk whereas the figure on the right is wearing the - apparently representive - outfit of the early 'komusō'.

The text accompanying. and sort of "explaining". the picture in Volume 2 of this encyclopedia is to be located but a few pages after the picture page itself - in frame 48 of the online edition:

Text page presenting the explanation of the 'shakuhachi' picture previously shown

Close to the upper right corner of the page to the right you see this text section with the heading 'Shakuhachi':

xxx       xxx

Here the original wording presented as online digital Japanese kanji ideographs:


In English:

"Because its length is 1 foot 8 inches, it is called shakuhachi.
Maybe it expresses the sad voice of the Willow Princess ... ?
It originates in an occult, noble sect.
The Chinese T'ang Dynasty monk Fuke liked it [a lot].
Today, the Kyomōsō are the descendants [of his]."

     Trsl. by Torsten Olafsson, 2018.

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