Josen (Jon Kypros) Teaching people about shakuhachi, Spain, 2024
Teaching people about shakuhachi, Spain, 2024

madake bamboo shakuhachi
Playing shakuhachi in front of giant Madaké bamboo, 2010

madake bamboo shakuhachi
Playing shakuhachi by visible Madaké bamboo rhizomes, 2010

Practicing formal shakuhachi Takuhatsu Komuso alms begging in Asheville, NC, June 4, 2012 (photo by Steve Shanafelt)

Josen Komuso in self-woven Tengai hat, 2011
Me in my self woven Komuso Tengai hat, 2011

madake bamboo shakuhachi
Harvesting Madaké bamboo sub. var. 'Green stripe' for shakuhachi (note the giant Moso bamboo behind me), 2010

Josen harvesting Japanese Madake bamboo for shakuhachi, 2010
Precariously traversing a wild, unkempt Madaké bamboo grove in search for the perfect pieces for shakuhachi, 2010

Pounding Mochi for New Year's in Japan at Komyoji Temple. Right is Shibata Jr. and top is a person whom I didn't get an opportunity to formally meet, 2019

Digging Madaké bamboo in Nara, Japan (the gentleman to my left is the land owner), 2019

waterfall shakuhachi
Playing shakuhachi piece Taki Otoshi the waterfall Honkyoku under a giant waterfall, 2011

bamboo shakuhachi
My harvest of Japanese Madaké bamboo drying in the sun, 2010

tetsunori kawana shakuhachi
Performing shakuhachi with Buto dancers for Tetsunori Kawana's unveiling of Madaké bamboo installation, 2011

festival shakuhachi
Teaching people about shakuhachi at a bamboo festival, 2012

About Josen (Jon Kypros)

“How did you get into shakuhachi?”

I love bamboo and started making flutes from it at around the age of fifteen. I was also beginning to practice meditation around this time. Just about a year or so into it I found the shakuhachi which immediately became the center of my focus with bamboo flutes, and has remained so ever since.

One of my first bamboo flutes
One of my first bamboo flutes which would've been back in 2001 or 2002 when I was around sixteen years old (photo is from back then too, can you tell). I harvested the bamboo for this in Florida where I was living at the time.

In 2005 at age nineteen I moved to New York City with little to my name so that I could study the shakuhachi under Ron Nyogetsu and Kurahashi Yodo II, whom I also studied from in Kyoto, Japan. In 2010 I began studying under Justin Senryu, and over a decade of diligence later I was honored with the title of Dai Shihan or ‘Grandmaster’.

One of my shakuhachi from way back in 2007, NYC

I've also taken the Zen Buddhist Precepts as a lay practitioner of Soto Shu or "Dogen’s Zen". For me, both shakuhachi and Zen are about the effort, about caring, and making any small contributions that I can in my short lifetime.

As for my name, Josen means 'Eternal Spring' and the Kanji are 常泉. It's both a Chikumei and a Kaimyo or 'Bamboo [shakuhachi license] name' and 'Dharma name'. Both are given by ones teachers after many years of dedication.

You can see more photos of my past works in my journal post, A photo archive of shakuhachi I've made over the years.


The older, regional Honkyoku styles I teach

Below is a list of the older, regional styles of Honkyoku which were passed down to me by my teacher Justin Senryu. Much of these Honkyoku were preserved in the lineage of Yamaue Getsuzan 山上 月山 (b. 1908). Yamaue's student Sato Reido 佐藤鈴童 and their student Otsubo Shido both instructed my teacher. We help to preserve these pieces and others in Justin's Senryu-kai shakuhachi school, in which I hold my Dai Shihan 'Grandmaster' license. For the Seien Ryu of Fudaiji Temple, we have the late Iwata Seien VI to thank who also taught Justin directly.

While I've strived to perfect all of these styles over the years, I focus on the Fudaiji Honkyoku as passed down in both the original Seien Ryu form and the wonderfully more complexly ornamented versions from Myoan Taizan Ha.

Honkyoku styles from Masters

Exploration and Creation - Improvisation and Composition
We can preserve these classics and enjoy the freedom to explore and create. I would greatly enjoy empowering and encouraging you to explore via improvisation, and maybe even create your own humble compositions. Like learning how to write, eventually we can make poetry — even if that just means playing the notes our hearts want to hear in the moment…