Thursday, October 29, 2009

In memory of Fujita Masaharu

Recently, I found this website dedicated to the memory of Fujita Masaharu. Fujita was an extraordinary shakuhachi player/teacher. As was often the case with shakuhachi players of his time, he studied multiple shakuhachi traditions: He began with tozan and studied jiuta and nagauta. Later, he became interested in myoan shinpo. He visited many shakuhachi teachers across Japan and studied/collected many honkyoku pieces. Among those legendary teachers was Yamaue Getsuzan in Saga (my home town!) who was a student of Katsura Shozan and one of very few successors of myoan shinpo tradition. Fujita visited Yamaue in a very rural part of Saga from Yamaguchi prefecture where he lived over 100 times.

I was fortunate to have met one of Fujita’s students in Tokyo. He played some shinpo-ryu pieces for me. Shinkyorei was particularly memorable -- the purest shakuhachi sound that I’d heard.

His students attest in this website that Fujita played long flutes (as long as 3.6 with straight finger holes) with much breath strength. He used to be an athlete. Fujita’s students also make their own flutes (of course, jinashi).

The entire chapters of Fujita’s book are available on the website. They are all in Japanese. You may still enjoy some parts just by browsing, especially Chapter 9 on jinashi making. There is not much information about jinashi making. But there are many pictures of his self-made jinashi.

He composed about 60 pieces, made over 500 jinashi flutes, left 450 scores (collected and transcribed pieces) in 50 volumes, and left recordings.
In this website, you can download some of his recordings and scores (including his own compositions). You may need a PDF software that allows for Japanese fonts to appear.

Fujita passed away on May 14 in 2002 at the age of 86.

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