The Written Sources
On this web page I intend, given the time, to present an annotated list of all the known and preserved written sources that - directly or indirectly - illuminate the gradual coming into being of ascetic shakuhachi practice - and the mysterious brotherhood of the masterless samurai Komusō,
the "Monks of Non-Duality & No-one-ness". of the Edo Period of Japan.
This process took place over a span of at least two centuries beginning at least around 1550 to around 1750.
More and more of these texts will also be presented in further details on the special "Chronology: Japan" web pages elsewhere on this very website.
However, the complete digitalization, translation and analysis of those rather many texts is taking considerable time, so please: Be patient☺
* Especially significant texts are marked with an asterix.
Here is a simple, compressed "check list" of the actual relevant texts inspected and analyzed
- picture books, encyclopedia etc. without descriptive notes are not included.
More detailed descriptions can be found in the section "Chronology: Quotations & Illustrations".
* c. 1470?: Rakuami (the oldest kyōgen theatrical play of the Ōkura School)
* 1486: Ōuchi uji okite-gaki
* 1494: Sanjūniban shoku-nin uta-awase emaki
* 1550-60: Kuromoto-bon Setsuyō-shū
* 1590?: Ōtani daigaku-bon Setsuyō-shū
* 1590: Tenshō jūhachinen-bon Setsuyō-shū
1614: Kirisutokyō no jomei chokurei
Government document regarding and aiming at the expulsion of all Christian missionaries from Japan drawn by the Zen Priest Konchiin Sūden (1563–1633) and issued under the name of the shōgun Tokugawa Hidetada.
* 1614: Keichō kenmon-shū (by Miura Jōshin)
1615: Buke shohatto
1615: Gozan jissatsu shozan shohatto
* 1621: Tsurezuregusa nozuchi (by Hayashi Razan)
1623: Shakuhachi (no) ki (by Hayashi Razan)
* 1623: Seisuishō (by Anrakuan Sakuden)
Early Edo/17th century: Haikai emaki - a picture & text scroll describing a komosō
1624-44, Kan'ei Period: Razan shishū by Hayashi Razan (includes 1 poem about Fuke Zenji)
1624-44, Kan'ei Period: Myōan sōsō-shū by Takuan Sōhō (contains hundreds of Chinese style poems, among others:
several about Fuke Zenji, various renowned Chinese Zen personalities and Takuan's close friend and disciple Isshi Bunshu, too)
1625: Yoin shakuhachi (no) ki (by Hayashi Razan)
* 1628: Kaidō honsoku
1636; Ha Kirishitan - "Crush Christianity" (by Suzuki Shōsan)
* 1640s?: Butsu-gen (alt. Hotoke-goto(ba)) - "Buddha Words"
* 1642: Ōkura Tora-akira-bon Kyōgenshū
Includes the oldest known version of the kyōgen piece Rakuami (possibly before 1500?) about the ghost of a deceased shakuhachi player.
* 1646: Letter from Isshi Bunshu/Monju to the komusō Sandō Mugetsu
c. 1648 - Roankyō (by Suzuki Shōsan) - includes an appraisal of Fuke Zenji
* 1664: Shichiku shoshinshū (by Nakamura Sōsan)
1666: Kimmō zū-i (by the Neo-Confucian scholar Nakamura Tekisai, 1629-1702)
* 1677, July: Ōko no jō jū-nana-ke jō: 17 paragraphs (issued from Reihō-ji in Edo)
* 1678, January 11: Oboe - the 3 paragraphs (document of the alleged "Fuke Sect Authorization" issued by the Temples and Shrines Magistrate or, more likely, simply a falsification?)
* Early 1680s?: Kyotaku denki, "Tale of the Imitated Bell" (allegedly written by Ton'o). The oldest known constructed/fabricated genealogy of the komusō,
created for the benefit of the Kyōto Myōan-ji through the introduction of Kichiku,
the alleged most favoured native Japanese student of Shinchi Kakushin's and likewise alleged founder of the Kyōto Myōan-ji,
the name of his later changed to Kyochiku Ryōen Zenji - at the earliest documented in a Myōan-ji document dated 1735.
* 1682-1686: Yōshūfu-shi - Records of the Kyōto Area (by Kurokawa Dōyū)
* 1687: Reihō-ji Okite/Sadame: 11 paragraphs
* c. 1690: Jinrin kinmō zu-i (by Makieshi Genzaburō & Atsuo Masamune)
* 1694: Honsoku deshi e mōshi-watashi sadame: 17 paragraphs (issued from the Kyōto Myōan-ji)
* 1695: Kashiragaki zōho kinmō zu-i
c. 1700?: Taishiroku (by Arai Hakuseki. 1657-1725)
1702: Nenzan kibun by Andō Tameakira, 1659-1716 (describing the contemporary shakuhachi & komosō)
* 1703: Letter of petition from the Kyōto Myōan-ji to Kōkoku-ji
* 1705: Honji shōmon (Letter of approval from Kōkoku-ji to the Kyōto Myōan-ji
* 1722: Reihō-ji Oboe: 6 paragraphs
* 1722: Reihō-ji Shūrei: 3 paragraphs
* 1731: Ichigetsu-ji & Reihō-ji Oboe: 10 paragraphs
* 1732: Shakuhachi denrai-ki - document with titles of numerous (now forgotten) honkyoku. This register includes Kyorei, Mukaiji, Kokū) and Suzuru
* 1735: Kyorei-zan engi narabi ni sankyorei-fu ben (important document sent from the Kyōto Myōan-ji to Myōshin-ji,
composed by Myōan-ji's "abbot" Kandō Ichiyū)
* 1740: Ichigetsu-ji komusō honsoku (Matsudo City Museum copy)
1748: Kana-dehon Chūshingura (the honkyoku Tsuru no sugomori is referred to in this famous stage-play about "The 47 rōnin")
* 1751?: Go-nyūkoku no setsu o-watasesōrō on-okitegaki / Keichō no okitegaki (probably the earliest known version with only 8 or 9 paragraphs.
See Takahashi Tōne 1990, pp. 54-56: "Version A") - dated by Yamato Hōmei, link to:
Yamato Hōmei web page
* 1752 (not 1659!): Chūkō Engetsu Ryōgen teichi kakun nijūsange-jo: 23 paragraphs
(supposedly produced by Engetsu Ryōgen, the actual founder/restorer of the Kyōto Myōan-ji; the date 1659 is most probably a falsification)
1792: Shokoku Fukeshūmon jisho
* 1789 - Kashiragaki zōho kinmō zu-i taisei
* 1792: Keichō no okitegaki (version with 11 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, p. 60: "Version C")
* 1792: Keichō no okitegaki (version with 10 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, pp. 60-61: "Version D")
(Acc. to Max Deeg, 2007, p. 27, a 1792 copy is the oldest attested copy of the Keichō no okitegaki)
1792: Shokoku Fukeshūmon jigo (in: Fukeshūmon (no) okitegaki)
1795: Fukushō-ji dendō-in (travel permit)
* 1795: Kyotaku denki kokujikai & Kyotaku denki (edited by Yamamoto Morihide)
1798: Fudai-ji komusō honsoku
1802: Kyōto Myōan-ji komusō honsoku
1811: Ichigetsu-ji komusō honsoku
1816, at the latest: Kinko techō by Kurosawa Kinko III (1772-1816)
* 1816: Miyaji Ikkan no Shakuhachi hikki (by Miyaji Ikkan)
1818: Hitori-goto (by Hisamatsu Fūyō)
* 1819: Fukeshūmon jōsho-ja (includes a Keichō no okitegaki version with 12 paragraphs, the Enpō 5 Oboe,
and a special Sadame with a comprehensive honkyoku list attached signed by Kobayashi I-he(i))
1823: Hitori mondō (by Hisamatsu Fūyō)
* 1825: Komusō osadame / Keichō no okitegaki (version with 17 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, p. 61-64: "Version E")
* 1831: Keichō no okitegaki (version with 20 paragraphs. See Takahashi 1990, pp. 57-60: "Version B")
1838: Kaisei hōgo (by Hisamatsu Fūyō)
* 1848, January 31 (not 1847!): Fuke-sō no gi ni tsuke go-shoku
(The komusō fraternity is eventually put under the direct administration and supposed control of the Rinzai Sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism.)
Mid-19th century: Ikkyū-banashi
* 1871, November 30: Meiji yonnen jūhachinen Daijikan fukoku dai-558-go
(The komusō fraternity is prohibited and the socalled "Fuke Sect" abolished.)
More to follow ...
To be continued, expanded and elaborated ...
The Medieval Japanese dictionary, SETSUYŌ-SHŪ
Comments: To be supplied ...
Readings for the kanji 'Komo-sō' and 'Fu-ke(-sō)'
in three different early versions of the 'Setsuyōshū'
- second half of the 16th century:
Kuromoto-bon Setsuyō-shū (1550-1560),
Tenshō jūhachinen-bon Setsuyō-shū (1590)
& Manjuya-shū Setsuyō-shū (1596-1615)
Tenshō jūhachinen-bon Setsuyō-shū
Comments: To be supplied ...
Late 16th century
Ryūmon bunko Setsuyō-shū
Details from the 'Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū'
Library of Nara Women's University - exact date unclear
Kirisutokyō no jomei chokurei
Comments: On January 27, 1614, Shūgun Tokugawa Ieyasu issued an edict completely prohibiting Christianity in Japan.
Attached to the edict were 15 rules for the guidance of the Buddhist priesthood in securing its enforcement, for instance,
" --- everyone must become a member of one or another of the principal Buddhist sects, the head of the family being responsible for the choice thereof."
Source: C.R. Boxer, 1993, pp. 318-319.
Do note that Kirisutokyō no jomei chokurei is not the actual, original title of this important document.
1614: Keichō kemmon-shū by Miura Jōshin
A CRUCIAL EVENT TAKES PLACE
The Osaka Castle Siege was all over on June the 2nd; around 70.000 of Toyotomi Hideyori's loyal, now defeated rōnin-samurai were now left with no masters -
and nothing to do, in risk of starving to death. For decades to come such unemployed warriors constituted a serious threat to peace in Japan,
many of them having even converted to Christianity.
Acc. to George B. Sansom (1964, vol. 3, pp. 32-33), the number of 'rōnin' in Japan at this time may have have reached a total of 500.000.
武家諸法度 - BUKE SHOHATTO
"Ordinances for the Military Houses"
In 1615, the "Ordinances for the Military Houses", totalling 13 paragraphs, are promulgated in order to regulate and control the samurai class
in times of peace. A couple of examples here:
(1) "The study of literature and the practice of the military arts must be pursued side by side."
(3) "Those who break the laws are not to be given shelter in any fief."
(5) "No sanctuary is to be given to men who plot rebellion or incite risings.
Hereafter residence in a fief shall be limited to men born in that fief."
To be continued, expanded and elaborated ...