For me, jinashi shakuhachi crafting is all about the bamboo. I’ve harvested hundreds of pieces of madaké bamboo, grown my own, and formed a close connection with it. Bamboo provides an amazing variety for shakuhachi which I embrace.
No lacquer or inlays
I forgo the most ubiquitous practices of lacquering the bore and inlaying the utaguchi edge, both because of my philosophy and because these practices are, at best, not necessary. At worst, they’re ultimately damaging to the bamboo and sometimes to us as well. For example, urushi lacquer can cause horrible rashes and both it and inlays can deteriorate or become damaged requiring costly repairs. A natural bamboo utaguchi edge can always be repaired, if damaged, and much more easily and holistically than an inlay.
Crack psychology – embracing impermanence
As for cracks, they may seem devastating to a shakuhachi but they can be bound with mere string and returned to perfect playing order. Bindings are so effective that some people who live in harsh environments opt to have them applied before cracks ever appear. No matter the environment, shakuhachi can crack at any time, but once bound, cracks and bindings are marks of merit. Inlaid bindings topped with rattan are also quite attractive and wabi-sabi for many.
What I wrote on my shakuhachi for sale page sums it up well, that is, 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.
Tuning can refer to the pitch but also to the tonal range. Tuning for tonal range allows players to “speak” through a shakuhachi, making a variety of sounds. While some seek to totally remodel the sound, I prefer to help the bamboo’s voice to sing out. This is done through careful work, mostly in the bore, via precise subtractions and/or additions.
I wish to share my craft in a mindful and productive way. For me, this means making sure the right shakuhachi reach the right players. In order to do this, I like to know a bit about someone and their shakuhachi practice before offering them a particular shakuhachi. In short, I wish to provide people with jinashi shakuhachi that will best fit them, and, since we all grow and change, I offer lifetime trades.