The shakuhachi is the traditional bamboo flute of Japan. It has a history of connection to Zen Buddhism and was in fact once the devotional practice of a sect of Buddhists called Fuke-shu whose practitioners, the komuso, played shakuhachi as a means of mastering the mundane world and attaining perfection (buddha-hood) in a single note.

This is termed Ichi-on Jo-buttsu (With one sound become Buddha) and is still practiced widely in principle by many shakuhachi players although the shakuhachi is now largely secularized and is currently played in all genres of music.

Outside of Kurosawa Kinko there is perhaps no historical player as important and influential as the first Araki Kodo, also known honorifically as Chikuo. Besides being a key figure enabling the survival of shakuhachi into the modern age he refined and transmitted the style of notation used by the Kinko school that is still used, with only slight alterations, more than a hundred years later.

More about shakuhachi to come...

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