Shakuhachi & Music Societies
The International Shakuhachi Society (komuso.com) is a world forum for people interested in the Japanese bamboo flute. It enables players, teachers, composers, ethnomusicologists and hobbyists to share information with a wide and sympathetic audience. On average we have over one hundred full time members. The site contains special features and tools for members to track their collections, create Bio pages, and list events. We are working towards allowing members to contribute to many portions of the site. The society focuses on the following topics:
- The history of the Japanese musical instruments shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen.
- The history of the Komuso monks.
- The history of music compositions: Zen music, classical chamber music, modern music.
- The notation and playing techniques of the various schools.
- Information about musicians and recordings.
Are you looking to meet other players in your area, access additional content, or contribute to the site? Then consider becoming a member. Dues keep the site alive and growing.
The Association for International Exchange of Japanese Music
The Australian Shakuhachi Society
The Dutch Shakuhachi Society – KAITO was founded in 1997 by Kees Kort and is situated in Leiden, the Netherlands. Kaito has organised workshops with teachers such as Yoshikazu Iwamoto, Ichiro Seki, Alcvin Ramos, Akikazu Nakamura, Yodo Yoshio Kurahashi, Ray Jin, Justin Senryu and others. In 2009, the European Shakuhachi Summer School 2009 was organised by KAITO with teachers like Yodo Yoshio Kurahashi, Gunnar Linder, Vlastislav Matousek, Tilo Burdach and others.
KAITO has a 20-year connection with the Ethnological Museum in Leiden (http://volkenkunde.nl/en). This museum is known to have one of the biggest collections of historical Japanese art objects outside of Japan. Regular events at the museum include shakuhachi performances in the Buddha Room by Kees Kort and other performers such as Annelies Nederbragt. These are held on the 1st and 4th Sunday of every month from 12 till 1.
The Swiss Shakuhachi Society – chikuyusha.ch
Shakuhachi in the Czech Republic – Vlastislav Matoušek
The Prague Shakuhachi Festival
La Voie du Bambou – Daniel Lifermann
Rocky Shakuhachi Camp in Colorado, USA
Information about the shakuhachi
www.komuso.com – The International Shakuhachi Society. A comprehensive source of information on the shakuhachi and its music.
www.zen-shakuhachi.dk – 禅尺八 真理研究 ホームページ
The Zen Shakuhachi Truth Research Web Pages
Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study
of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi History & Ideology in Particular
Torsten Olafsson • 無穴笛• オーラフソン トーステン • デンマーク • Denmark
Playing advise & general information
Playing Tips by David Sawyer
Mujitsu and Tairaku’s Shakuhachi BBQ (www.shakuhachiforum.com) – USA based shakuhachi forum.
After almost three year hiatus, this shakuhachi forum sprung back into activity in January 2014.
A rich source of all aspects of the shakuhachi.
www.japanischemusik.com/shakuhachi Christian Grobmeier’s website about Japanese music
Old shakuhachi 78rpm recordings (site is mainly in japanese) now archived at komuso.com
Players include Araki Kodou III, Watazumidoso, Miyagawa Nyozan, Fukuda Randou…
Old recordings http://zeami.ci.sugiyama-u.ac.jp/~izuka/erito1/iwata1.html
Hogakuradio – radio station playing japanese music/shakuhachi music
(http://listen.radionomy.com/hogaku.m3u ) (Note: seems to be ‘off air’ as of January 2014)
Shakuhachi Maker’s Hanko Data Base by Jeff Cairns
Shakuhachi notation font by Darren Stone – type notation on the computer more easily
Shakuhachi notation font by Charles Koeppen
An online interactive shakuhachi fingering chart by Charles Koeppen
ShakuViewer is a Java program developed by Razvan Beuran that displays music scores in shakuhachi notation (Tozan)
Shakuhachi shops & sellers
Buying a shakuhachi is both a very exciting and often a bewildering experience. What kind of shakuhachi would be best for me and how much do I need to spend? Ultimately, your choice will depend of what kind of music you wish to play, what style you wish to study and what kind of sound you wish to make and it can take many years of playing and studying before you really know the answers to those questions. Consequently, beginners are normally recommended to start with plastic or wooden shakuhachi, rather than expensive bamboo ones. Although shakuhachi are available in different lengths, most players start with the standard 1.8 length (55cm) tuned to D.
There are two main types of plastic 1.8 shakuhachi. The cheapest is a very simple yet accurate flute made of a white plastic tube which costs as little as around 40-50 Euro. A more ‘authentic’ and resonant plastic flute is a Yuu shakuhachi which plays surprisingly well and is normally sufficient for the first few years of study and can be bought for around 100 Euro. Shakuhachi made of wood are slightly more expensive, but can also play well.
Bamboo shakuhachi range in price from just a few hundred Euro up to 10,000 Euro, depending on the age, tone quality, tuning, lineage and the maker but you should be able to find quite a good one for around 1,000 – 1,500 Euro. Many bamboo flutes which look very nice do not play well and vice versa and the only way you can know whether a flute plays well and is in tune is by trying it out yourself when your playing is sufficiently strong for you to be able to really test it. Alternatively, you could ask your teacher to try it out for you. Given the above, buying on E-bay is generally not recommended.
Purchasing information can be found on the following sites:
Taihei Shakuhachi (www.shakuhachi.com) – online shakuhachi shop from Monty Levenson, USA
ESS members will receive a 10% discount on all items purchased on www.shakuhachi.com! The offer includes jinuri, jinashi, restored vintage shakuhachi flutes, Shakulute headjoints, accessories, playing guides, books, CDs, DVDs, etc. (and any of the items for sale).
In order to receive this discount, you have to quote your ESS membership number and expiration date to Monty Levenson.
Mejiro Com Ltd. – Shop in Tokyo and on-line shopping
John Kaizan Neptune – Performer, Recording Artist and Shakuhachi Maker
Mujitsu/Taimu Shakuhachi – Ken LaCosse, Maker, USA
Yung Flutes – Perry Yung, Performer, Shakuhachi Maker & Teacher, USA
Japanshakuhachi.com – David Yūdo Sawyer, dealer of Shakuhachi from Makers Murato Hozan, Hara Suikyo & Ichijo Kobayashi
David Brown – Shakuhachi made from wood, Australia
Shakuhachi Yuu – Shakuhachi made from ABS resin
Shakuhachi Bamboo Clarinette – Jean-Luc Peilhon’s shakuhachi shop
Shakuhachi Atelier Thorsten Knaub – Jiari shakuhachi made from madake bamboo and PVC, France/UK
Making your own shakuhachi
A selection of links which may be useful when researching how to make your own shakuhachi.
Use the information at your own risk of course.
Notes on shakuhachi design
A shakuhachi making guide
A shakuhachi making guide by Gene Neill
Tools & software
Mejiro Com Ltd. – Shop in Tokyo selling many shakuhachi making tools
Where to place those holes? An online calculator by Jeremy Bornstein.
Sound color analyser and shakuhachi tuner software by Tatsuaki Kuroda
Golden Ears CDs – train your ears first?
Information about the koto
Koto on Wikipedia
Sawai Koto Academy New York – Masayo Ishigure
Information about the shamisen
Suggestions for additions and changes to these links are always welcomed.
Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org