Saturday, March 26, 2011

Experiment In Tone Comparison For Shakuhachi Materials‏

Two Shin-Sei Shakuhachi crafted by Colyn Petersen in light eastern red cedar wood and dense heavy purpleheart wood with identical bore profiles. All wood surfaces equally coated with waxed shellac. Myoan Taizan-ha Honkyoku Choshi played by Sensei Morimasa Horiuchi to compare the tonal qualities of each wood. More details, sound and video file links here at:
Hear for yourself to determine the material issue.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ukiyo-e Shakuhachi

An okodate or chivalrous commoner brandishes his shakuhachi flute at the beginning of a brawl. He wears one sword, as distinguished from a samurai's two. Young men like this tried to protect commoners from the abuses of arrogant samurai and often became folk heroes. 


Kinoshita Hironobu c.1855

Upper right cartouche framed by a pair of sandals, a shakuhachi flute, a towel, a pipe case and tobacco case, and a sword.

Chivalrous Commoners

Five Chivalrous Commoners and Sake Casks

Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Okabe in Suruga The Monster of the Cat Temple

Otokodate in a Puppy Kimono

Rogue with Dragon Kimono

Samurai Visiting a Courtesan

Self-defense with shakuhachi

Toyokuni Kunisada Shakuhachi Flute Defense

After many indecisive skirmishes with the enemy, one night Zi Fang climbed to a mountain overlooking the enemy camp. He played melodies on the flute from the enemy's home province of Chu. He played so sweetly that the warriors were drawn to tears. Tired of fighting, 6000 of the 8000 man force gave up and left for home. The general of the opposing forces realized the futility of fighting on and surrendered.

Empty Spaces

Jin Nyodo 1891-1966


Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shakuhachi Distant Healing Work

Message from Kiku Day:
Tomorrow, Monday 14 March at 7 am Greenwich Mean Time, the Shakuhachi Distant Healing Group will play for the earthquake victims, their families and friends. You can join us by calculating what time to play - depending on where you are.
The Shakuhachi Distant Healing group plays together and sends out healing every Monday. If you want to join you can email Stephanie Hiller and she will add you to the group. She sends members a list of people to send healing to each week.

Stephanie's email: stephaniehiller9 [at - to be replaced by@]

The Shakuhachi Distant Healing Group founders have written guidelines on how to do the healing. I will paste it below.
I hope as many of you will join!

Message from Stephanie Hiller:
Thanks to those of you who have already contacted me about wishing to join the shakuhachi distant healing group, we welcome new members at any time. The group has been going now for c5 years and we blow every morning (not just on Mondays), with members joining in when they can. If 7am is not practical for you, you can choose to blow at another time.

Please do contact me if you require any further information, or to add names to the list (you do not need to be a healing group member to do this): stephanie hiller9 [at]
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Guidelines for Shakuhachi Distant Healing Work
Read the following in full before you begin, going through each step in your mind as you do. It is easier not to follow a list of instructions as you are actually performing the healing, so try to remember the steps as far as possible and don’t worry if you miss some out – getting the main jist is sufficient.

• Make the sure the room you are using is warm and that you are able to sit comfortably and undisturbed for the duration.

• Sit however is comfortable – on a chair, or the floor and have a clock in view.

• Have the list of those to receive healing in front of you where you can easily see it and have your shakuhachi ready on your lap or in front of you.

• Close your eyes and take 3 deep, slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. With each out breath, imagine all tension draining from your body
and sinking into the earth.

• Become aware of the room you are in. Imagine that the room is surrounded by a protective bubble of energy which keeps you safe and separate from the rest of the

• Be aware of yourself at the centre of this bubble, calm, still and focused.

• Reflect on the healing work you are about to do – the sounds you produce set up a vibration in the atmosphere. Your intention will fill these vibrations with healing energy which you will send out through a funnel in the top of your bubble to each of the people on the list.

• When you feel ready, pick up your shakuhachi and take another couple of deep slow breaths to prepare yourself.

• Fingering Ro, as you start to play, imagine you are bringing the sound up from the depths of the earth.

• Bring the sound gradually into being – starting with just the whisper/ suggestion of a note (perhaps breath only with no discernable note).

• Eventually, the note itself will appear and as you play the next note, visualise a funnel opening up the bubble above your head, through which you will send the healing vibrations.

• Now open your eyes gently, just enough to see the names on the healing list, and read each name in your mind as you continue to play.

• As you read each name, visualise the healing sound vibrations travelling through the atmosphere to that person, circling around them, mingling with their energy,

helping them to heal. If you know the reason for their healing request visualise their specific healing taking place.

• When you have worked your way to the bottom of the list, gradually fade the sound away to nothing again and imagine it returning to the earth.

• Place your shakuhachi back down in front of you and start to become gradually aware of your surroundings again.

• Imagine the bubble gradually dispersing into the air. Become aware of the chair or floor beneath you and, when you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

• Spend a few minutes thinking over your experiences and maybe write them up in a shakuhachi healing diary.

Earthquake Relief

The first thing on most peoples' minds after they heard the news of the horrific March 11th earthquake/tsunami/radiation disaster in Japan is, what can I do to help?

Even if you're thousands of miles away, there are several ways that you can offer your support to the relief effort. Here are a few ways to help:

The Red Cross: The Japanese Red Cross has already deployed 11 national disaster response teams to respond to the crisis but you can support their efforts by donating money. Similar to their efforts to help Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, Red Cross is accepting donations either online or via text message. Simply text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone (you'll be prompted to confirm with a second text reading YES).

Shelterbox: The UK-based organization has 18 international affiliates and it has launched an online fundraiser for the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. Shelterbox provides assistance to afflicted countries by delivering large utility boxes that contain a shelter and other emergency relief tools. To donate online, simply go to your country's site and click DONATE.

International Medical Corps: To donate to this global non-profit's Emergency Response Efforts fund, simply go to their site and select the amount you wish to donate (be sure to note if you want your donation to be a "recurring gift" for future relief efforts) and fill in your information. Working with other organizations such as the International Medical Corps, D.C.-based organization GlobalGiving has launched the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, which will give aid to on the ground organizations providing emergency services. They are accepting donations online with a funding goal of $90, 000.

Convoy of Hope: This non-profit focuses on disaster relief efforts and you can donate either online at their site or via text message by texting TSUNAMI to 50555 (you'll also be prompted to confirm with a follow up text of YES).

Salvation Army: The Japan branch of the Salvation Army has been working in Tokyo to offer shelter to stranded commuters and they are reportedly organizing a team to send to Sendai Friday night. They also have their Hawaii branch standing by, ready to help. You can help their relief efforts by texting JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back to Earth

        In early spring,
Walking around the garden,
       And not going out of the gate.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shin-Sei Shakuhachi

Beautiful wood shakuhachi crafted by Colyn Peterson of Shin-Sei Shakuhachi in Omaha.  The bore profile is modeled on one of Masayuki Koga's favorite 1.8s that he used for recordings beginning in the 1970's...

The light eastern red cedar at 198.8 grams and the heavy dense purpleheart at 369.6 grams.  These identical shaped bores will be contrasted as Morimasa Horiuchi plays each in an experiment to determine how a material's density may affect tonal quality.

Saturday, March 5, 2011