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T.O. Profile / Bio / CV
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"?
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
ERA of the FUKE-SŌ / FUKE-KOMOSŌ
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
ERA of the KOMUSŌ
"Pseudo-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"
1640?: Is a Very Early "Komusō Temple" built
in Nagasaki on the Island of Kyūshū?
c. 1640?: The Strange Butsu-gen Komusō Document
1646 at the latest: 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
1830: 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
1872-1878 (1843-44): The Komusō zakki
From 1879 ... 1896-1914:
The Koji ruien Historical Encyclopedia
1880-1899: Tokugawa kinreikō - A Source Collection
of Tokugawa Period Laws & Regulations
1890: Higuchi Taizan - Teaching, the "Myōan Society",
and the Taizan-ha Tradition of Shakuhachi Asceticism
Early to mid-20th Century Research Pioneers,
Author Musicians, Editors & Publishers, Japan:
Mikami Sanji, Kurihara Kōta, Uramoto Setchō,
Nakatsuka Chikuzen, Mori Hikotarō, Tanikita Muchiku,
Nishimura Kokū, Takahashi Kūzan, Tomimori Kyozan,
Ikeda Juzan a.o.
1902: Mikami Sanji's Critical Article
'Fuke-shū ni tsuite', "About the Fuke Sect"
1931-1932: Tokugawa kinreikō - A Source Collection
of Tokugawa Period Laws & Regulations
2 - POST-WW2 till TODAY: JAPAN
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 ... : 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
1630 at the latest: Iwasa Matabei's Famous Painting of
Two 'Fuke-Komosō' With Swords & An Umbrella Maker
The basic information on this webpage was first published on the Internet, in an earlier version
of this website, 10 years ago, in early 2011; it has now been expanded with significant new details as of April 27, 2021, some supplied in a new Youtube video by the Freer Gallery of Art | Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA, on April 9, 2021. Read more below.
I discovered this really unique piece of early 17th Japanese art while Googling in the Japanese language already in January-February, 2011; the searchword back then was - among many others: 'Komusō', 虚無僧.
The painting had been exhibited at The Nezu Museum in Tōkyō during the period
November 23, 2010, through December 23, 2010.
Dated by Japanese art specialists to have been created no later than 1630, that painting ranks among the absolutely most important and significant evidence-bearing illustrations in Japanese shakuhachi history!
Cheers ☺ Torsten O.
Painting of an Umbrella Maker & Two Fuke-Komosō
by Iwasa Matabei, 1578-1650
An "important work of art" dating from the early Edo Period,
17th century, before 1630.
Exhibited in late 2010 at the Nezu Museum, Tōkyō.
Official however highly questionable museological title of the work, back then:
'Kasa-hari • komusō-zu'
"Picture of an Umbrella Maker & Komusō"
- exactly because those two flute players with their long swords
were in fact not 'Komusō', at all,
but 'Komosō', 薦僧!
According to recognized Japanese sources quoted on the internet,
this picture was originally 1 out of 8 illustrations on an exquisite folding screen
by Iwasa Matabei known as the 'Ikeda byōbu', among other names:
"The Ikeda Folding Screen",
(Link to the web page in question: Cultural Heritage Online)
Japanese art specialists do date that folding screen
to the Kan'ei Period, 1624-1644 - but no later than 1630.
That means that the 'Fuke-Komosō'/Umbrella Maker picture is indeed very closely contemporary with the important Kaidō honsoku,
海道本則, document of 1628!
Read more about the Kaidō honsoku, the various versions, here:
1628: The Kaidō honsoku 'Fuke-Komosō' Credo
SIGNIFICANT UPDATE as of April 27, 2021
On April 9, 2021, this video, titled "Look & Listen: Nature in Japanese Art and Music" was published on YouTube by The National Museum of ASIAN ART/Smithsonian/Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, on their "Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art" YouTube Channel:
"Look & Listen: Nature in Japanese Art and Music"
featuring Kurahashi Yōdō II, shakuhachi, and assistant curator of Japanese art at the Freer and Sackler, Frank Feltens.
Possibly, that unique painting by Iwasa Matabei may have been purchased by the Freer Gallery of Art at some time after late 2010?
Anyhow, the reproduction of Iwasa Matabei's painting here in the video, is indeed much more detailed than those previous ones presented online by the Nezu Museum around 2011, and before then:
PREVIOUSLY UPLOADED BACKGROUND INFORMATION between 2011 and 2020:
From November 23, 2010, through December 23, 2010, the Nezu Museum in Tōkyō exhibited a most extraordinary hanging scroll [kakejiku]
painted by the highly renowned early Edo Period painter Iwasa Matabei who lived from 1578 to 1650.
In the painting we see two figures wearing slightly pointed umbrella-shaped basket hats, both carrying rather long swords [Jap.: katana
刀] by their left sides.
Moreover, the two are seen to be playing some kind of (although more or less invisible) quite short and thin flute-like instrument:
Perhaps, a hitoyogiri? - or, maybe: a miyogiri!
Close view of two 'komosō' in "Picture of Parasol-maker & Komusō
Even closer view of two 'komosō' in Picture of Parasol-maker & Komusō"
'Kasa-hari • komusō-zu' on display (right) at Nezu Museum,
Tōkyō - November 23, 2010, through December 23, 2010
On this web page the picture can be studied in more detail - click underneath the illustration to enlarge:
Bunka Isan Online (Cultural Heritage Online)
Links to more information, online:
Nezu Museum exhibition highlights
Nezu Museum exhibition press material
www.wikipedia.org: Iwasa Matabei (in English)
www.wikipedia.org: Iwasa Matabei (in Japanese)
Kasa-hari • komusō-zu - online internet gallery with links (in Japanese)
Japanese web pages describing and discussing the Kasa-hari komusō-zu (in Japanese)
of the Kasa-hari • komusō-zu painting:
The painting appears to be quite contemporary with the documents Kaidō honsoku, 1628.
We know from the Keichō kenmonshū, 1614, that the Fuke monk/komosō being described there was indeed carrying a sword -
more specifically: a wakizashi 脇さし,
the shorter sword of the samurai.
In the Kaidō honsoku, the sword being carried by the komosō in 1628 is described as a katana
刀 - the long sword of the samurai.
After the middle years of the 17th century swords are no more to be seen in surviving pictorial representations of the "real-life" flute-playing mendicants -
with but one exception, the komusō picture in Kyotaku denki kokujikai, dated 1795.
In this context one specific, quite early komosō/komusō picture should be investigated:
Yet unidentified and undated early 17th century komosō picture
Posted on the internet by Mr. Dean Delbene, Chicago,
on September 6, 2009 (see link below)
Inquiring with Dean Delbene in January, 2011, I learned that we do - so far - know of no further, more specific documentation regarding this picture, its possible creator and approximate date of making.
In this picture we see a person who is apparently performing religious mendicancy in a street while wearing a rather large and deep,
softly pointed basket hat, a rolled up bed roll mat on the back, a long sword by the left side.
The instrument being played is a quite thin and significantly long vertical flute, compared with the shorter hitoyogiri and miyogiri vertical flutes, especially
- a dōshō
Link to Dean Del Bene's Myōan Shakuhachi blogspot web page in question:
Myōan Shakuhachi c/o Dean Del Bene