SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.19 (2023)

A Study on the Manuscripts of Teikakyo-Hitsudo:
With a Book of Comparison


Department of Japanese Literature,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Key words:

Teika-style, Fujiwara Teika, Teikakyo-hitsudo, Teikakyo-hikkankuketsu, books on secrets of calligraphy, calligraphy, Kobori Enshu, tea ceremony, scholar of Japanese literature

The impressive and unique character writing style of Fujiwara Teika (1162–1241), known as Teika-style, was adopted by his descendants and some of his students during the medieval period, but the style was appreciated beyond its framework during the Momoyama and Edo periods. The only classical manuscripts that describe the Teika-style calligraphy are a series of manuscripts called Teikakyo-hitsudo and Teikakyo-hikkankuketsu (collectively referred to as “Teikakyo-hitsudo”). These manuscripts, however, have not been studied in detail due to the understanding that they are forgeries written under the pseudonym Fujiwara Teika. The manuscripts, while they were considered to be secret copies, were repeatedly copied during the Edo period. Therefore, they are important sources for understanding the process how the Teika-style was accepted during this period.

In this paper, the authors research the manuscripts of the Teikakyo-hitsudo, organize them and clarify the actual situation how they spread. First, we compare and contrast the differences between the manuscripts and clarify the lineage and nature of the Teikakyo-hitsudo and the background to the formation of each manuscript based on differences in composition.

The manuscripts can be broadly classified into three lines. First, is Lineage I, which is considered to be closest to the original text. Lineage I has a high degree of commonality with the original text in composition, and is accompanied by Iroha-uta at the end, which is considered a model for learning brush strokes. It is also characterized by the fact that it has a postscript by Kobori Enshu and is generally written in Teika-style. Teikakyo-hikkankuketsu is Lineage II, a secondary lineage, which is styled as a forgery entrusted to Teika and with an added fake postscript by Reizei Tamesuke. This manuscript was prepared as if Tamesuke had received the oral tradition from Teika. In place of the Iroha-uta included in Lineage I, text on character composition is added and the text is characterized by a more theoretical nature. The majority of the texts were copied by scholars of Japanese literature in the latter half of the Edo period. Lineage III differs from Lineages I and II in many aspects and is considered to be a group of manuscripts altered in later periods, and may be related to Shokado Shojo (1582–1639) or his disciples.

The survey results indicate that the Teikakyo-hitsudo does not appear to date any further back than Kobori Enshu (1579–1647). Both Lineages I and III contain descriptions in common: the manuscripts were handed down by persons involved with tea ceremony such as Kobori Enshu. It is, therefore, highly probable that the manuscripts were prepared in the community around Enshu and were passed down among those who had an understanding of Teika-style’s scribal method.

Lineage II indicates that manuscripts were frequently copied by scholars of Japanese literature in the late Edo period. The authors believe that the style which Teika-style scribers acquired was then passed on to the scholars of Japanese literature as a result of the growing interest in aristocratic traditions and the prevalence of research and examination of related materials in the late Edo period. During the period of the establishment of manuscripts, the Teikakyo-hikkankuketsu was a practical book for writing in Teika-style, but as it was passed on to people who did not actually scribe, its practical aspect faded and the manuscript became more recognized as a treatise. As a result, the Teikakyo-hitsudo was regarded as an incomprehensible book on the secrets of calligraphy.

The series of Teikakyo-hitsudo became less visible because of Zokugunsyoruijyu, which scholars of Japanese literature had introduced before the Teikakyo-hitsudo. The Teikakyo-hitsudo, as a matter of fact, was a practical book mainly for Enshu-style tea ceremony practitioners who used the Teika-style. The survey results of the manuscripts help elucidate the popularity of the Teika-style and its trend during the Edo period.