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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

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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