SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.18 (2022)

Tradition of Enjoying Shino-ryu Kodo
by the Sanada Family
of the Matsushiro Domain in Shinano

TAKEI Masako

Visiting Researcher
Kokubungaku Kenkyu Shiryokan (National Institute of Japanese Literature)

Key words:

Archive of the Sanada family of Matsushiro Domain in Shinano, Shino-ryu Kodo Densho, Kodo Yaegaki, Kodo Monjincho of Shino-ryu Kodo, the Iemoto system

In the Edo period, the Sanada family, which ruled the Matsushiro Domain in Shinano, possessed written documents from the Shino-ryu Kodo Densho and packages of incense wood. The Shino-ryu Kodo is one of the schools of Kodo (the traditional art of appreciating incense).

These documents and packages are currently in the possession of the Kokubungaku Kenkyu Shiryokan (National Institute of Japanese Literature).

In this paper, I explore how the Shino-ryu Kodo was accepted and enjoyed by the Sanada family.

First, I examined the contents of eight Kodo books in the archive to investigate when the compilations were conducted, who were the authors, and who handed down the traditional art through each book. These details were discovered in four of the eight documents.

Of the eight-volume Kodo Yaegaki, which is believed to have been compiled around the Tenmei period for handing down the tradition, only Volumes 4–8 exist in the Sanada archive, and Volumes 1–3 are not available.

Each of nine incense packages in the archive corresponds to one of the kumiko assortments of incense variations listed in Volumes 1–3 of Kodo Yaegaki. Some of the incense packages contain residues of burned incense wood. From the above, it was found that the Sanada family in the Edo period accepted the Shino-ryu Kodo not only through the books but also through enjoying actual incense burning involving practical skills.

Moreover, by comparing Kodo Yaegaki and the eight Kodo books mentioned above with the copied manuscripts in the possession of the National Diet Library, some missing portions of the Diet library books were able to be supplemented.

This article reports that the Sanada family’s start of enjoying the Shino-ryu Kodo coincided with the establishment of the Shino-ryu’s Iemoto master system, based on the process described in Shino-ryu Kodo Monjincho (Teachers and disciples of the Shino-ryu Kodo) featured in Matsunosuke Nishiyama’s Study of Iemoto, indicating the possibility of coinciding with the propagation of Shino-ryu Kodo in the middle of the early modern period.

This article also mentions the possibility that Katsutsune Shinohara, who was involved in the writing and transcription of several books on the secrets of Shino-ryu Kodo in the Sanada family archive, may have played a role as a teacher for the Sanada family and liaison to the Iemoto of the Shino-ryu Kodo.