「禅尺八」歴史的証拠 研究   ホームページ

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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Newly Added Extra Web Page Menus

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

'Fuke-sō/Komosō' in Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū

'Fukesō' = 'Komosō'
c. 1560?


JAPAN 4 • 1560-1614

2600 BCE - 800 CE
China 1
6000 BCE - 500 CE
China 2
500 CE ...
Japan 1
600 - 1233
Japan 2
1233 - 1477
Japan 3
1477 - 1560
Japan 4
1560 - 1614
Japan 5
1614 - 1664
Japan 6
1664 - 1767
Japan 7
1767 - 1883
Japan 8
1883 ...
The West
1298 ...

A list of references is included at page bottom.
A complete bibliography can be found on this separate webpage: "Literature".

1560-1614 - THE AGE of the LATE KOMOSŌ: THE FUKE-SŌ

"Screen with Genre Scenes of the Twelve Months"

Komosō playing a short vertical flute in a street

Komosō playing a short vertical flute in a street (center)
Detail of section 4 of the folding screen
'Tsukinami fūzoku-zu byōbu'
"Screen with Genre Scenes of the Twelve Months"
Anonymous, late Muromachi Period (2nd half of 16th century). Tokyo National Museum

Tsukinami fūzoku-zu byōbu full view

Komosō playing a short vertical flute in a street, close-up

Do we actually see the komosō above wearing a long sword, possibly made of wood (?),
the tip of which is protruding from his left side, appearing just beneath the bed roll that he is carrying on his back?

Link to an online, inter-active website presenting the complete screen:
Tokyo National Museum - E-Museum online

c. 1550-1560

普化僧 - FUKE-SŌ synonymous with KOMOSŌ コモ

節用集 - SETSUYŌSHŪ DICTIONARY VERSIONS: Guides to Character Readings

'Fuke-sō/Komosō' in Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū     'Setsuyōshū, title

Details from the 'Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū'
Library of Nara Women's University - precise date unclear

When, approximately, did the komosō of Medieval Japan adopt Fuke Zenji as their idol of shakuhachi asceticism?
A few late Muromachi Period versions of the popular dictionary Setsuyōshū", "Economical Collection" or "Collection [of Words] for Everyday Use", do actually present noteworthy evidence in that respect:

'Fuke-sō' & 'Komosō' in the Setsuyōshū

Readings for the kanji 'Komo-sō' and 'Fu-ke(-sō)'
in three different early versions of the 'Setsuyōshū'
- second half of the 16th century

In their comparative study of various early versions of the Setsuyōshū, Kamei Takashi and Takaha Gorō (1974) presents the table shown above (Vol. 1, p. 727):

1: Kuromoto-bon Setsuyōshū, c. 1550-1560.
The kana reading shown for both the kanji komo-sō and that of fu-ke is:
'ko+mo+so+u' - alt.: 'ko+mo'.

2: Tenshō jūhachinen-bon Setsuyōshū, Tenshō 18, 1590.
The kana reading shown for the kanji fu-ke-sō is:

3: Manjūya-shū Setsuyōshū, Keichō Period, 1596-1615.
The kana reading shown for the kanji komo-sō is:

Read more about the Setsuyōshū here: Wikipedia: Setsuyōshū

Link to the Nara Women's University Library manuscript database:
Ryūmon bunko no Setsuyōshū


Itinerant monk playing a vertical flute on a bridge

Itinerant monk (?) playing a short vertical flute on a bridge
Detail of the folding screen 'Takao kanpu-zu byōbu'
By Kano Hideyori, act. 1565-1576. Tokyo National Museum

Full view of the Takao kanpu-zu screen

1560: Oda Nobunaga begins to eliminate his daimyō enimies.

One of the Jesuit missionaries meets with shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiteru in Kyōto. Yoshiteru issues orders that the missionaries are to be well treated and not taxed, and are authorized to work in Kyōto. By this time there are about 12 missionaries in Japan, most living and working on Kyūshū.
The Catholic Father Caspar Vilela makes Kyōto a center of Christian missionary work.

1566: The emperor, under pressure from the Buddhists, issues an order expelling Christian missionaries from Kyōto. They flee to Kyūshū and Sakai.

1569: After a meeting with Nobunaga and Yoshiaki in Kyôto, Jesuit missionaries are allowed back in the capital to preach.

1568: Nobunaga takes control over Kyōto and soon breaks the resistance of the Buddhist monasteries.

1573: Nobunaga drives Shōgun Yoshiaki out of Kyōto, bringing an end to the Ashikaga Shōgunate.

1574 - RAKU-CHŪ RAKU-GAI ZU - Uesugi-bon edition

Two komosō in Kyōto

Komosō playing a vertical flute in a Kyōto street
Detail of the folding screen 'Raku-chū raku-gai zu byōbu',
"Pictures from In and Around the Capital",
Uesugi-bon edition. Commissioned by Oda Nobunaga.
The Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum, Yamagata Prefecture

1575: At the Battle of Nagashino, Nobunaga's troops are the first to use firearms: muskets, on a large scale - weaponry introduced in Japan by European merchants and missionaries.

1582: Nobunaga dies and his general Toyotomi Hideyoshi gains control. The are now about 200 Christian churches and around 150.000 Christian converts in Japan.

1582: A Japanese delegation is dispatched to visit the Pope in Rome.

1583: Toyotomi Hideyoshi commences the construction of the grand Castle of Ōsaka.

1584: A Spanish trading ship, blown off course in a storm, enters Hirado. Because he is jealous of Nagasaki's monopoly with Protuguese traders and he dislikes the Jesuits, Matsuura, the daimyō there, welcomes it and agrees to receive other Spanish traders and non-Jesuit missionaries in Hirado if they wish to come.

1584: Hideyoshi occupies Kyōto and enters an alliance with the powerful Tokugawa Ieyasu.

1585: Hideyoshi brings Shikoku under control and becomes Imperial regent, Kanpaku.

1587: Hideyoshi becomes Prime minister, Dajōdaijin of Japan and issues an edict forbidding Christianity and orders all missionaries to leave Japan.

1588: Hideyoshi issues the "sword hunt" order to eliminate the otherwise potential risk of future peasant and warrior monk revolts.

1590: Hideyoshi overpowers the Hōjō Clan in the Kantō region (present-day Tōkyō region) and is now in control of all of Japan.

1590: The Japanese delegation to Rome, dispatched in 1582, returns to Japan.

Late 1590: Hideyoshi orders the a national census to be taken. After they begin to appear in the census figures, Hideyoshi orders the expulsion of all rônin from towns and villages in which they did no farm work or military service.

1591: Hideyoshi issues a three-article law concerning social status: Warrior, farmer, artisan and merchant classes are firmly fixed.
Hideyoshi orders the renowned tea master Sen no Rikyū to commit suicide.


1592-1615 - Bunroku & Keichō Periods



"The tones of the 'hitoyogiri' shakuhachi
     may satisfy for one night,
But sleeping with you just one night is not enough."

     Trsl. by Blasdel/Kamisangō, 1988/2008.
     This is the earliest known written source in which
     the term 'hitoyogiri' appears in Japanese literature.
     Text in Japanese from Nakatsuka, 1979, p. 67.

Old Edo Period hitoyogiri shakuhachi

Old Edo Period (1603-1867) hitoyogiri shakuhachi.
Makers unknown. In: Kikan Hōgaku 5, 1975.

1592-1593: Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends troops to invade Korea with the ultimate goal of conquering the entire Eastasian mainland.

1593: Korean movable type printing equipment is brought back to Japan by Hideyoshi's troops.

1593: The Portuguese Franciscan Fr. Pedro Bautista arrives in Japan which soon causes serious conflicts with the Jesuits.

1596: The "San Felipe Incident". Read a dramatic online description of this fatal shipwreck event on a sandy beach in Tosa/Kōchi on Shikoku Island that led to the eventual execution of 26 Catholic Christians in Nagasaki: February 5th: The Dictator Hideyoshi and the 26 Martyrs

The 26 Christian Martyrs

The 26 Christian Martyrs in Nagasaki. Painting by Eustaquio Maria de Nenclares, 1862.
Source: WikiPedia: The San Felipe Incident

1597: Hideyoshi sentences to death 26 Christians on a list of Kyōto Christians drawn up by Ishida Mitsunari.

On February 5, 1597, 26 Christians - missionaries and Japanese followers alike - are crucified at Nishizaka in Nagasaki on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, then the absolute ruler of Japan.

The 26 Christian Martyrs Memorial Monument, Nagasaki

The 26 Christian Martyrs Memorial Monument, Nagasaki.
Source: WikiPedia
1597: Hideyoshi issues an order to expell all christians from the country. (He allows a few to remain to serve the small Portuguese community in Nagasaki.) The vast majority of missionaries go into hiding and never leave. There are an estimated 300,000 converts in the country by this time.

1597-1598: Toyotomi Hideyoshi's second invasion of Korea, this time primarily as a retaliatory offensive against the Koreans.

1598: Hideyoshi dies. The remaining Japanese troops of the second Korea invasion are withdrawn.

1600: Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hideyoshi's trusted ally, having first put down a renewed rebellion of the daimyō clans, defeats the Ishida Clan and its "Western allies" in the battle at Sekigahara, thus gaining control of the entire country.

1600: English pilot Will Adams lands in Japan.

1603: Ieyasu receives the title of Shōgun, Superior General, from Emperor Go-Yōzei and establishes his headquarters, the Tokugawa Bakufu, in a new capital named Edo - present-day Tōkyō.
By this time an estimate of 87 daimyō families have been completely eradicated.

1607: The Neo-Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan, 1583-1657, is appointed political advisor to the second shōgun Tokugawa Hidetada (in office 1605–1623). Neo-Confucianism is now the official "state ideology" in Japan.


1608 - "Secretly Transmitted Notations for the Short Flute"

The Tanteki hiden-fu, written by Ōmori Sōkun in 1608, features notations for a total of 74 pieces for the "short flute", the tanteki.
This is the oldest surviving example of the socalled fu - ho - u katakana notation system which was later adopted by players of the Fuke Shakuhachi tradition.

'Hitoyogiri' allegedly once owned by Ōmori Sōkun, 1570-1625

'Hitoyogiri' allegedly once owned by Ōmori Sōkun, 1570-1625
In: Kikan Hōgaku 5, 1975

1612: Ieyasu outlaws the Christian faith in all territories under direct control of the Bakufu.

1613: All Christian churches in Kyōto and Nagasaki are destroyed and the clergy arrested.

1614, January 27: Tokugawa Ieyasu issues an edict completely prohibiting Christianity in Japan. Attached to the edict are 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.

Acc. to, "Between 1553 and 1620, eighty-six Daimyōs were officially baptized, and many more were sympathetic to the Christians."
Read more here: Kirishitan

Link to the next page: Japan 5 • 1614-1664
Link to the previous page: Japan 3 • 1477-1560

List of references:

Sonja Arntzen, translator: Ikkyū and the Crazy cloud anthology,
     a Zen poet of Medieval Japan. Foreword by Shūichi Katō.
     University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, 1986.
Baroni, Helen Josephine: The illustrated encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism.
     The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., New York, 2002.
Christopher Blasdel & Kamisangō Yūkō:
     The Shakuhachi. A Manual for Learning.
     Printed Matter Press, Tokyo, 2008.
     Available at
C.R. Boxer: The Christian Century in Japan, 1549-1650.
     Carcarnet Press Limited, Manchester, 1993.
     First published in 1951 by The University of
     California Press & the Cambridge University Press.
Steven D. Carter: 'Chats with the Master:
     Selections from "Kenzai Zōdan".'
     In: Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001),
     pp. 295-347.
Max Deeg: 'Komusō and "Shakuhachi Zen". From Historical Legitimation
      to the Spiritualisation of a Buddhist denomination in the Edo Period.'
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Heinrich Dumoulin: Zen Buddhism. A History. Volume 2: Japan.
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Victor Sōgen Hori: Zen Sand. The Book of Capping Phrases for Kōan Practice.
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     Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 2002.
Ide Yukio: 'Chūse shakuhachi tsuikō'.
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     Vol. 41, 1-10, Kōchi, 1992-12-27.
     The article may be downloaded from this location: Kōchi University
Ikkyū Sōjun: Kyōunshū.
     Facsimile of a late 15th century manuscript.
     Ed. & publ. by Okumura Jūbei, Kyoto, 1966.
Ikkyū Sōjun: Kyōunshū, Kyōunshishū, Jikaishū.
     Rev. & annotated by Nakamura Tamaki.
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     ("Setsuyōshū in five versions rearranged and compared").
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     Vols. 32 & 35: Sections on Music.
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Nishiyama Matsunosuke: Iemoto no kenkyū.
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     Includes a CD-ROM with the author's complete M.A. thesis on
     the same subject, University of Copenhagen, 1987.
     Purchasable at
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     Shakuhachi Tradition from Fuke-shū to Secularism.
     Unpublished Doctor of Philosophy thesis.
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     Nihon Koten Zenshu Kankokai, Tokyo, 1933
     The entire 1933 edition may be downloaded
     from this location:
     - Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, University of Toronto

Tsuge Gen'ichi: 'The History of the Kyotaku.'
     In: Asian Music, Vol. VIII, 2. New York, 1977.
     Available online at:
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Ueno Katami: Shakuhachi no rekishi. Revised and expanded edition.
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Zengaku Jiten, ed. by Jimbo Nyoten & Andō Bun'ei,
     Shōbō Genzō Chūkai Zensho Kankōkai,
     Tokyo, 1962.

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