Higuchi Taizan (Suzuki Kodo) – Founder of Myoan Taizan-ryu
Suzuki Kodo, AKA Higuchi Taizan (1856 – 1914), was from Nagoya where he studied his regions unique honkyoku style, the Seien ryu Fudaiji honkyoku (西園流 譜代寺). He studied these honkyoku under Kanetomo Seien I, the founder of the school, who received them from two Fudaiji komuso, Gyokudo and Baizan. He also studied in the Kinko ryu under Grandmaster Araki Kodo II (Chikuo) and in the Ikkan ryu which is a branch of the Kinko ryu, under Takigawa Chuka.
In Meiji 1885 he moved to Kyoto where he changed his name to Higuchi Taizan and created his own style of playing by making changes in the pitch, ornamentation, and structure of the Seien ryu Fudaiji honkyoku as well as some of the Kinko ryu honkyoku he had learned. His style became exceedingly popular and spread across Japan. Masters such as Jin Nyodo and Watazumi were heavily influenced by his style and received all of their “Fudaiji” Seien ryu honkyoku solely through his rearrangements, which includes such honkyoku as Kyorei, Takiochi, Mukaiji, and others.
Higuchi Taizan instigated the revival of honkyoku in Kyoto and founded a new Myoan temple (Myoanji) in a different location from the original Myoan temple which was destroyed during the Buddhist persecutions of the Meiji Restoration. The new Myoanji served as a base for honkyoku activities in the Kyoto area and as the school for Taizan’s style. For this reason, Taizan’s school is widely known as “Myoan”, although it contains none of the original Kyoto honkyoku from the first Myoanji.
Taizan’s style became very popular and spread across Japan often fusing with or eclipsing local styles. In places like Kyushu it is extremely difficult to impossible to ascertain what the original way of playing was like there before Taizan’s style reached the area.