The Costume Museum Kyoto Japan Costume History in Japan
The Edo Period  
136 - Komusoh or a Zen priest of Fuke sect with a sedge hood and a shakuhachi (=bamboo flute)
The Costume Museum Kyoto JapanThe Costume Museum Kyoto Japan

1 Tengai (=igasa)
2 Kosode
3 Ohkuwara (=rakusu)
4 Obi
5 Kabue in the case
6 Inroh
7 Kyahan
8 Tabi
9 Waraji
10 Hachimaki
11 Shakuhachi
12 Tekoh
13 Gebako
14 Kaebue-no-fukuro-no-kukurio-no-fusa
A "komusoh (=nothingness monk)" , is the priest of the Fuke sect which is a sect of the Zen Budism. The founder of Fuke sect is Zen-master Fuke of Tang (=China). Around the years of Kencho in Kamakura era, a Chinese Zen priest named Hohfuse Koji came to Japan and stayed at "Kyuko-an" temple and evangelized zen for the first time in history. The figure in the photo is a "han-soh or han-zoku-nosoh", a half-priest or the priest of a half-way of the world, who is playing the "shakuhachi" bamboo flute to ask for charity. The "komusoh" monks, who were described in the book titled "the 71-turn Poetry Meet" published in Ashikaga period, were called "boro", a kind of the beggar priest of owner hair. In the "Tsurezuregusa", Essays of Idleness, Yoshida Kenkoh (1283-1352) wrote as follows; ""The komusoh's avarice is strong in spite of being a hermit. In spite of seeking the Buddhism, he fights frequently. " In the essay, the "komusoh" monk wore a balck kimono over a white one, a white "hachimaki" headband, a "shakuhachi" flute on the waist, a "karakasa" hat, and a pair of "geta" wooden sandals; he wore neither a "koromo" priest's robe nor a "kesa" surplice. In the Edo era, a samurai who left the main house became a "rohnin", a samurai who is out of employment; he kept his status secret, obtained priesthood, and then wandered about countries. On October 28th in the fourth year of Meiji, the Fuke sect was abolished and was made to belong to the Rinzai sect, another Zen sect. It belongs to the Myoanji Buddhist temple in the Tohfukuji group of Rinzai sect now. The figure in the photo wears the costume which was reproduced on the basis of the current "komusoh" style; the style is cosidered to be almost same as the one in Edo era. He wears a "tengai" hat, a "kosode (=shor sleeve)" kimono in black or white color, and a "obi" band. [There is no rules for the "obi" band.] He also wears "oh-kuwara" or "rakusu" surplice over the shopulder and a "ge-bako" box on the chest. The "ge" as in the "ge-bako" box means the musical notes for the "shakuhachi" bamboo flute; the "komusoh" priest keeps several things, such as the "ge" notes and the "fuse" charity. etc. Furthermore, he wears a pair of white "tekoh" glove, a pair of "kyahan" socks and "zohri" straw sandals. [Otherwise, a pair of "zohri" sandals or "geta" wodden sandals.] He holds a "shakuhachi" flute in hands, a "juzu" rosary in the left hand and keeps an extra flute for replacement.