One breath, one sound
As a teacher and a craftsman of shakuhachi, I help people on their journey down this také no michi or “bamboo path” by providing lessons and instruments, in particular my Bell shakuhachi. I also help people who wish to add the shakuhachi to their meditation or mindfulness practice. I invite those on the path to try a lesson with me. Contact me and I’ll schedule one for you.
I teach older, regional styles of honkyoku, the Zen pieces from the Komuso monks. I also teach select honkyoku from the styles they inspired, such as Jin Nyodo, Watazumi and Yokoyama Katsuya, and Higuchi Taizan’s Myoan-ha. The older regional styles I teach include Seien Ryu, Kinpu Ryu, Oshu and Echigo (regions), Kyushu (region), and Kichiku Ryu/Shinpo Ryu (you can read more down below on this page or on the lessons page).
As for my journey, it began when I started crafting bamboo flutes in my teens as a complement to my meditation practice. The shakuhachi was the first instrument that I studied under a teacher, and I never looked back. You can read more about my shakuhachi journey on my bio page.
My YouTube video on how to play
In the above video I share some of the very basics of how to play the shakuhachi. Of course, more in-depth instruction is possible in live lessons. For example, I find that most people lack support in their lips/facial muscles which is why I advocate teaching the “smiling” embouchure at first. However, sometimes students might use too much tension, though this is rare. If this is the case, I will coach them in live one-on-one lessons on how to find the right amount of support. Every student is of course unique and requires specific, specialized instruction.
Jinashi shakuhachi are the ineffable sound of bamboo. Too much adjustment and the magic is lost, not enough and it often lays obscured. Balance is the key. Jinashi shakuhachi are mostly or completely natural bamboo on the inside while jiari shakuhachi are mostly plaster or glue on the inside which is used to literally sculpt the desired sound. Crafting jinashi to a high level is especially difficult because each piece of bamboo comes with its own unique set of challenges, but the end result can be without parallel. You can see some of my work on the shakuhachi for sale page.
Honkyoku Zen pieces
Honkyoku are the most venerated pieces for the shakuhachi and are considered to be a Zen art form. Many consider the playing of honkyoku to be a meditative practice which is also known by some as Suizen or “blowing Zen”. These pieces were mostly composed by the Komuso monks during the Edo period and many distinct regional styles developed, though few have survived to this day. Honkyoku (本曲) literally means “original/true/real music” and the word can refer to a single piece or to the genre as a whole (keep reading)