Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Origin of Komuso is Masakatsu Kusunoki
Masakatsu, who is the grandson of Masanari Kusunoki succeeded ancestor’s will and raised a loyal army to fight again and again. However, he was not able to make the most of it and lost the battle. At last, he decided to escape from the world, then opened up Nyoshinji-temples and learned about Zen and Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) under Kofu at Sekizanzensikai. Masakatsu wandered from place to place for religious mendicancy with Shakuhachi with “nothing”mental condition. He is generally considered to have started Komuso (musician in traditional costume and mask).
At that time, Shakuhachi was one of the religious tool for the repose of Buddha. The faith of Masakatsu was that people in religious mendicancy must not to take off Tengai (weave hat) even if they met the nobility or acquaintance. In addition, however hard the rain was, they ware not allowed to put up another umbrella. That was also the faith of him.
That is said to have become a religious precepts of Komuso later. As time went on, the number of Komuso had increased remarkably by Samurai(warrior) in the sympathy for Masakatsu’s faith. The Shakuhachi Buddhist who didn’t renounce the world had been called “Komuso”, and it had become “Fukeshu”. In 1793, the middle of Tokugawa period, there were more than 120 Komusoji-temples all over the country. These temples kept the acme of its prosperity until the fall of Tokugawa shogunate. Komuso had prospered because of the hard practices of Samurai spirit and asceticisms, receiving the benefit from Tokugawa shogunate.
After the fall of Tokugawa shogunate, the regime had changed. On October 28th Meiji period, the low provided that Fukeshu and Komuso should be prohibited. Komuso should settle themselves.
Then, Shakuhachi had became not only sacred special tool but also ordinary instrument as well and come into wide use as a musical instrument all over the country.
With the time, Shakuhachi has slipped out of our mind gradually, though it used to be a sacred tool for Zen practice and have very precious history of 1300 years. Now, I put my heart as much as possible into our Shakuhachi to conserve and hand it down to the coming ages.