Sunday, August 28, 2011

Yamato Homei

There seems to be a person in Europe interested in this information.

Mr. Yamato Homei is a Kinko player and maker. He studied with Master Yamaguchi Goro. He joined several of Yamaguchi's recordings. His shakuhachi is similar to that of Yamaguchi Shiro (with rough surface of the bore).

He graduated from the University of Tokyo and became a teacher at a university-prep school.

His website is:

It's probably best to see an excerpt from his upcoming DVD on Youtube.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blowing angle

This topic again.

This person explains that it is very important to maintain the blowing angle. According to him, the air needs to go downward. Put the second join of your finger as high as your nose and blow toward the palm. In theory, this leads to the uchibuki. He says that maintaining this blowing angle is very important.

He is also a great shakuhachi player. As far as I know, the dongxiao are jinashi (no ji in it).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


In continuation to the previous post...

I didn’t have a chance to take a lesson with Watazumi. But I have taken lessons with teachers whose lineage is “watazumi do.” They didn’t use such terms as “jiki, ai, kiri, chu, kai, koku, and mataiki.” Did Watazumi use these terms when teaching his students? Was it Yokoyama-sensei who used more generic terms for these expressions (ai for komibuki, kai for tamane, etc.) as a kinko player? These expressive characteristics seem to be essential elements of Watazumi’s art of shakuhachi playing. If there is anyone who teaches those as a basis for watazumi-do I would love to take a lesson.

Note: You don't have to preach me that those are Watazumi's jargons. He reconstructed many things including honkyoku pieces, shakuhachi terminology and concepts.

Watazumi Live CD Translation Track 1-3

Track 1

If I explain before playing, I (or you?) would be distracted. So that is not good. Today, because no one could tell what I would be playing, the stagehands were really in trouble. But there is no way because I cannot tell until I go on the stage. So I will explain by myself and perform. Before a performance I normally do seikan. For Soen Roshi that can be zazen shitting. But in my case it's seikan. I twirled a bow a moment ago. I normally do seikan while twirling in a standing position. But today, I didn't do because there is not time for it.

[00:42] 最初、今、静観の末、考えつきましたのは、やはり本調というものを吹定します。これは最初に修行する道曲でございます。
After some seikan the first piece that came to my mind is after all honshirabe. This is the first dokyoku piece to study.

[03:30] 曲は、同じ曲は心境によって変化をさせることができるのですが、それはなぜかというとやはり呼吸の使い方にありますが、普通の呼吸の使い方のことをジキと申します。それからキリ、
The same piece can be performed differently, depending on one's feeling, through breathing control. The normal breathing is the "jiki." Then, the "kiri."


[03:56] こういう音を今度変化させます。
And adding changes to these notes.


[04:00} また、こういうのはまぁジキというのですが、こういう使い方を。それからアイというのはですね.
This is the jiki. This way of using. And the "ai."


[04:16] こういうのはアイ。それからキリ。
This is the ai. THen, the "kiri."


[04:27] こいうのはアイ。このきり方。それからチュウ。
This is the ai (sic). This way of cutting. Then, the "chu."


[04:43] こういうのをチュウというわけです。それからカイ。カイ。
This is the chu. THen, the "kai."


[05:03] これはカイ。それからコクといいまして、息が切れた瞬間にいれる呼吸の微妙な音をコクというわけで、
This is the kai. Then, this the the "koku." It is a subtle tone of your breath that emerges when you blow just after the previous tone ended.


[05:34] こういうのをコクですね。それからカイとアイを組み合わせた音をマタイキをいうんですが。つまりこの音とこの音を組み合わせると。
This is the koku. Then, the combination of the kai and the ai is the "mataiki." That is, if you combine this [demonstration] and this [demonstration] it becomes,


[05:56] つまりこういう組み合わせによって同一の曲をつねに変化させることができるわけで、また後で吹定してみますが。
With these combinations you can add a variety to the same piece. I will demonstrate them later.

Track 2

Now, I am going to play shingetsu and demonstrate the way it changes to my feeling.

Track 3

The next piece is a bit lively. It's tamuke. There is nothing particular to talk about this piece.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Japanaese music 101

Fuji TV program on music called "ongaku no shotai" featuring modern Japanese music (more on scale).

National Congress Library Digital Archives

Old recordings with no copyright involved are available here:

Shakuhachi recordings:

"Haru no umi" by Miyagi Michio (koto) and Yoshida Seifu (shakuhachi):

Beef, onion, sprite, ramen good for shakuhachi

What would you eat (or avoid eating) before an important performance?

Japanese people often eat pork, especially deep fried pork called “katsu” before life-changing events, such as university entrance exams, because pork is believed to energize one’s body. My senpai musicians often took me to a tonkatsu restaurant before a performance exam. Why pork? Well, that’s because katsu in Japanese also means “win.” To me, this tradition is in part a superstition.

However, some people seem to eat certain food before a concert. For example, Yokoyama Katsuya was known for eating yakiniku (meat) to energize himself. Aoki Reibo seems to eat raw onion before a concert. Yamaguchi Goro preferred to drink “mitsuya cider” (it’s soda like Sprite). Another living national treasure seems to have said that ramen noodle is the best. Oily food generally keeps the moist in the mouth and prevents the mouth from drying up.

This person thinks that sushi is bad because vinegar takes water out. No sushi should be served for shakuhachi players before a concert (shamisen and koto players would be happy with sushi). Wadatsumi Fumon did not drink tea before a public performance. He thought strong tea would desiccate his mouth.

In my experience, honey water works well. Sugar water, hot chocolate didn’t work.

Share your experiences here!