Higuchi Taizan (Suzuki Kodo) – Founder of Myoan Taizan-ha
Higuchi Taizan aka Suzuki Kodo (1856 – 1914) was born in Nagoya where he studied sankyoku and his region’s honkyoku in the Seien Ryu. He studied under Kanetomo Seien I who received the honkyoku of Fudaiji temple from two Komuso named Gyokudo and Baizan. He also studied in the Kinko Ryu under Grandmaster Araki Kodo II (Chikuo) and in the Ikkan Ryu under Takigawa Chuka (Ikkan Ryu was a branch of the Kinko Ryu).
In Meiji 1885 he moved to Kyoto to teach shakuhachi. He was adopted, so to speak, by the established Higuchi family which is why he changed his name to Higuchi Taizan (Taizan being his professional title). He eventually began teaching the Seien, Kinko, and Ikkan Ryu’s honkyoku in Kyoto.
Higuchi Taizan instigated the revival of honkyoku in Kyoto by founding a new Myoanji temple, the first having been destroyed during the Buddhist persecutions of the Meiji Restoration. Thus, Myoan Taizan ha (明暗対山派) was formed. Taizan’s Myoanji stands to this day as hub of activity for shakuhachi events and pilgrimages.
The honkyoku he collected and taught went on to evolve in the hands of his students becoming their own unique style. Myoan Taizan ha honkyoku also replaced the native Shinpo Ryu thus becoming the main style of Kyoto. Masters such as Jin Nyodo, Watazumi, and Nishimura Koku were heavily influenced by Myoan. Naturally, Higuchi Taizan’s legacy is one of the most significant and enduring in Japan.