Komusō

A komusō (虚無僧, komusō?, Hiragana こむそう; also romanized komusou or komuso) was a Japanese mendicant monk of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism, during the Edo period of 1600-1868. Komusō were characterised by the straw basket (a sedge or reed hood named a tengai) worn on the head, manifesting the absence of specific ego. They are also known for playing solo pieces on the shakuhachi (a type of Japanese bamboo flute). These pieces, called honkyoku ("original pieces") were played during a meditative practice called suizen, for alms, as a method of attaining enlightenment, and as a healing modality. The Japanese government introduced reforms after the Edo period, abolishing the Fuke sect. Records of the musical repertoire survived, and are being revived in the 21st century.

Read more about Komusō:  Origins, Etymology, Flute, Disguise

Other related articles:

Komusō - Disguise
... The komusō was also used as a disguise by samurai, particularly rōnin, and possibly also ninja, who were seldom members of the samurai class ... Komusō wore a woven straw hat which covered their head completely looking like an overturned basket or a certain kind of woven beehive ... the beginning of the 17th Century, the komusō came under the government’s wary eyes ...