1890-1950: The Remarkably Differing Narratives
about the Kyōto Myōan-ji, the "Myōan Society" and the
'Taizan-ha' Tradition of 'Suizen' Shakuhachi Practice
In 2008, the late, honorable shakuhachi specialist Tsukitani Tsuneko, professor at Ōsaka University, stated as follows on page 151 in the 2008 "Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music".
"A disciple of Kichiku/Kyochiku, Tengai Myōfu, built Myōanji temple at Shirakawa, Kyoto. The name Myōanji (temple of light and dark) comes from the words of a gatha sung by Puhua; this is also the origin of the terms Myōan shakuhachi and Myōan-ryū (ryū = 'school' or lineage).
The temple was abandoned after the 1871 abolition of the Fuke sect, but revived in 1890 as the Myōan Kyōkai (Myōan Church), and in 1950 it was legally incorporated as Myōanji."
I wonder what Tsukitani Tsuneko actually wrote in her Japanese language manuscript before her text was, somehow, "translated" into English?
Because, something went really wrong here ...
First, "Tengai Myōfu" is a mythical, totally made up legendary figure who certainly did not built any temple at all, ever.
Next, the actual Kyōto Myōan Temple, that was actually only established quite late in the 17th century, was eventually ordered to close down itself in 1871 - in full obedience towards the offical governmental decree dated November 30, 1871.
Who ever used to take shelter there, who may even have been living permanently in that "temple", they were now all dispersed, spread for all winds and soon even also forbidden to practice begging for alms, completely.
Some of the temple's treasures and other belongings came to be preserved elsewhere unknown for some time and the buldings were dismantled and sold out, like for example the temple's main gate that was first taken over by a Kyōto primary school and can now be seen finally reinstalled within the the precincts of a prominent Pure Land Buddhist temple in the center of Ōsaka, namely the Dainenbutsu-ji that I paid a visit to in companion with and guided by my good friend since the late 1970s, Mrs. Kakehi Atsuko, in early March, 2019:
The old Myōan-ji gate reinstalled at Dainenbutsu-ji in Hirano-ku, Ōsaka.
Photos: T.O., March, 2019
Nothing was left behind at the original Myōan Temple site at Shirakawa in Kyōto.
Next, because the original Myōan Temple was definitively destroyed in 1871 and its grounds deserted, it could certainly not have been "revived" in any way physically in 1890, could it?
First in 1890, a new shakuhachi organization was formed though not as any "Myōan Church", but as a new "Myōan Society", the 'Myōan Kyōkai', the kanji for which read as follows:
Now, what does it mean, in Prof. Tsukitani's 2008 words, that "in 1950 it was legally incorporated as Myōanji"?
And where may that 'Myōan Kyōkai' have been installed and operating from for 60 years between 1890 and 1950?
Are we supposed to believe that the 'Myōan Kyōkai' people began to gather at the Zen'ei-in sub temple at Tōfuku-ji as early as in 1890?
Or, much more likely: The 'Myōan Kyōkai' members and Myōan Taizan-ha shakuhachi players were in fact more or less "homeless" throughout
all those six decades before, as it happened, they were allowed to install themselves more permanently and "officially" in the sub temple named the Zen'ei-in, in 1950?
That is the subject of the present web page that will soon discuss the several differing narratives that have been proposed regarding that mysterious matter of concern.
This new web page is carefully being further researched and prepared ...