Shakuhachi (尺八) is a Japanese traditional music instument, blown bamboo flute that was originally handed down from China in the 8th century. The shape of Shakuhachi is hollow length that is mainly 54.5cm(一尺八寸) with five holes to create pentonic scale.
A lot of beautiful tones can be chimed by Shakuhachi such as a flute. Playing Shakuhachi needs exceptional skill of using lips and tongue same as relaxation of the throat muscles. The video below shows a person playing Shakuhachi who belongs to study group of KOMUSO Shakuhachi. The name of tune is MITSUYA(三谷).
The event was on New Year’s Eve 2017 at Hoshinji temple that the chief priest is a top of KOMUSO study group. Hoshinji temple of Rinzai school holds KOMUSO Shakuhachi small concert a few times in a year that visitors able to participate. The event hold on New Year’s Eve annually. Please see lower part for more detail about Hoshinji temple. Other than “MITSUYA” played in video above, there are many famous tune like a “KOKUU”(虚空) and TSURU-no-SUGOMORI”(鶴の巣龍). We will provide another video in the future!!
It is said that the present shape of Shakuhachi was made in Kamakura period(1185-1333) to Edo period(1603-1868). Shakuhachi was used as ritual implement in Edo period by KOMUSO that is Zen priest of Fuke sect. Although Fuke sect was abolished by govement in Meiji period(1869-1912), KOMUSO Shakuhachi has been loved by many fans even now.
There are several schools in Shakuhachi such as Tozan-ryu, Kinko-ryu, Ueda-ryu, Souetsu-ryu and Chikuho-ryu. Tozan-ryu and Kinko-ryu are famous Shakuhachi schools. Tozan-ryu was started since Meiji period and is biggest school curently, and Kinko-ryu was created in Edo period that established 36 tunes.
Honkyoku(本曲 Traditional tune) means original Shakuhachi tunes, and the tune which arranged existing music for the Shakuhachi is called Gaikyoku(外曲 Outside tune). Moreover, the Honkyoku used for the Zen Fuke Sect blowing is called Koten Honkyoku(古典本曲 Classic tune) which is original tune blowed by KOMUSO that include Meian-ryu.
Hoshinji temple, Rinzai sect of Zen is located one of bigest city Shinjuku area in Tokyo. The temple was founded in 1631 by priest who restored Kameari-Kenshoji temple, and founded priest of Fukagawa Kankouji temple and Kameari Shounji temple.
In Edo Period, it was Bodaiji(菩提寺) of Reohouji temple of Fuke sect. There are grave of Chukokaiki-Kohorike and Kokonteisho on the ground of Hoshinji temple.
If you are interested in Shakuhachi or Komuso, it would be nice to visit this temple especially for small concert of Shakuhachi!!
Ushigomeyanagicho Station on Toei Oedo line: 5 minutes by walk.
Waseda Station on Tozai line: 15 minutes by walk.