Root Blog

Japanese Masterpieces for the Shakuhachi

Japanese Masterpieces for the Shakuhachi


01. Kokh (Kyochiku)
This long piece is played by two shakuhachis and a gong at Meianji, Kyoto, originally the headquarters of the Fuke sect. It was composed by a priest named Kyochiku in the 12th Century while meditating at a temple in Nara. In a dream he found himself floating in a boat. Suddenly thick mist rolled down the sky and blocked his view of the moon. On hearing the moving melody of a flute, he reached out for his favorite bamboo flute to accompany the ethereal melody. The music is long and simple, and the listener is expected to forget everything and “sleep in nothingness”.

02. Sekihiki No Fu (Shibata)
The name of a Chinese poem (The Feeling of The Red Wall) which is sung at the beginning of music. Composed by Seizan Shibata for 3 sizes of shakuhachi, – the longest being 2 ft. 4 in., the bell is played by the same performer with a 3-hole shakuhachi.

03. Matsukaze
The Wind on the Pine Tree
The pine tree represents man, cherry and the plum trees, woman. This piece is famous for its panting technique (komibuki), the symbol of the wold breath of the samurai. It was composed by a member of the Tsugaru family in northern Japan about 300 years ago.

04. Ajikan (Miyagawa)
The realization of Buddhism or the state of enlightenment. The first letter is an “A”, the beginning of both Eastern and Western alphabets, derived from the Sanskrit “nothing”. In Buddhism there is a code of “nothingness”, and this music conveys that “all is nothing and nothing is all”. Composed by Nyozan Miyagawa, one of the most beautiful Buddhist pieces.

05. Oshusanaya
Stylistically quite different from the others, it describes valleys in the Oshu (northern Japan), and is indicative of the folk music of that area. Played in the Kikusui style with a 3 ft. 3 in. shakuhachi.

06. Sagariha

07. Kyushi Reibo


  1. Kellython Alves de Oliveira on May 27th, 2012

    This version of ‘Oshusanaya’ is music from the higher… great song.

  2. djm on April 9th, 2013