The Komusō's Curse

If in the Kyūshū region someone roughly told a Komusō to go away or somehow made him very angry, the Komusō would turn his Shakuhachi around and blow it upside down. When things in life are getting upside down (sakasa-goto 逆さごと) it causes people pain and trouble. Therefore the house where the Komusō had turned his Shakuhachi upside down would afterwards ask him, to play once more the normal way (for purification).

The superstition is, that within a family where a Komusō had blown the Shakuhachi upside down, within three years some calamity would occur. That may also mean that one should not make a Komusō angry, or something terrible will happen. Generally speaking, making someone angry is never a praiseworthy thing.

If a Komusō had been annoyed, he would come and reproach that house with his Shakuhachi. In that case normally three or four Komusō would stand in front of the gate and play yabukarashi (薮枯し "Withering the bush"). Because that piece was usually played at funerals and was well known among the Komusō of Hakata (an old place name, today part of Fukuoka City), so the people of Hakata would by that know what kind of house that is. First of all, it was very embarrassing in the neighborhood to have yabukarashi played in front of your house, and people would bring it up again and again, even when the incident was already about to be forgotten. I really feel sorry for such a house. But being surrounded by Shakuhachi and having played yabukarashi happened to you only after you had annoyed a Komusō in the first place. (p. 11)