- The Society for Research in Asiatic Music (Toyo Ongaku Gakkai, TOG)
- 東洋音楽研究 (ISSN:00393851)
- vol.1983, no.48, pp.5-41,L1, 1983-09-30 (Released:2010-02-25)
This article has two aims: firstly, to investigate the procedures used in the transmission of secret pieces in the biwa (lute) tradition of the early medieval period, based on the examination of a number of written works describing the details of the ceremony performed for such transmission; and secondly, from the writer's standpoint as a researcher on Bunki-dan (a collection of tales concerning music history and focussing on the biwa, compiled around 1270 by Bunkibo Ryuen, a student of Fujiwara no Takamichi), to undertake a detailed description of the Nishi (lit, west) school of the biwa tradition which was founded by Fujiwara no Takamichi, student of the Myoon'in, Fujiwara no Moronaga (1138-1192), from its initial establishment until its eventual decay.The three manuscripts concerning the ceremony for transmission of secret pieces used as material in this study are as follows:1. Gakka dengyo shiki, myo (a manuscript in the Fushiminomiya collection of the Archives and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household; also, included in Gunsho ruiju, 2)2. Biwa dengyo shidai (a manuscript in the Fushiminomiya collection of the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo; also in Fushiminomiya gokiroku, 7)3. Biwa dengyo shidai (a manuscript in the collection of the Research Archives for Japanese Music, Ueno Gakuen College)The first manuscript is an Edo-period copy of a copy made by Saionji no Sanekane of the original proceedings of the ceremony written by the Myoon'in (Moronaga); the second is described in its colophon as the procedure handed down by Sanekane to his son Kanesue; and the third is described on its outside cover as being in the hand of Emperor Komyo (emperor of the Northern Dynasty, reigned 1336-1348, died 1380). Aside from the one important distinction concerning the site of the ceremony (i. e. whether it was held at the Myoondo, a temple dedicated to Myoonten [a variant name for Benzaiten, the goddess Sarasvati], or the house of the person receiving instruction into the secret tradition), there is no great difference between the proceedings written in each manuscript. It seems clear that the procedure defined by Moronaga continued to be employed in later centuries.The oldest record in extant historical sources concerning the proceedings of the ceremony is that of Shoji 2nd year (1200), 18th March, when Nijo no Sadasuke transmitted secret pieces to Morisada Shinno. Sadasuke himself was a student of Morinaga's, and it seems likely that the proceedings for the ceremony that he used were based on a precedent set by Moronaga, and that the ceremony itself was probably already an established practice at this time. Inferring from the evidence provided by the three manuscripts above, it is possible to say that the ceremonies practiced in the middle ages were all based on an original formula for the proceedings established at the end of the Heian period by Moronaga. Further inquiries into the later history of the secret piece tradition has shown that its central school was that of the Saionji family, and that two other schools, the Nijo school founded by Sadasuke and the Nishi school founded by Takamichi, existed as side branches.