Monday, February 17, 2014

Masaharu Fujita: 1916 - May 14th 2002

Fujita Masaharu was an extraordinary shakuhachi player/teacher. As was often the case with shakuhachi players of his time, he studied multiple shakuhachi traditions: He began with Tozan and studied Jiuta and Nagauta, later he became interested in Myoan Shinpo-ryu. He visited many shakuhachi teachers across Japan and studied/collected many honkyoku pieces. Among those legendary teachers was Yamaue Getsuzan in Saga, Japan who was a student of Katsura Shozan and one of the very few successors of the Myoan Shinpo tradition. Fujita visited Yamaue over 100 times in a very rural part of Saga in the Yamaguchi prefecture where Yamaue lived and was very inspired by these visits. Fujita had become so close to the Yamaue family that he received a phone call from Yamaue's wife when Yamaue passed away. Fujita Masaharu was also a composer and prolific shakuhachi maker who composed about 60 pieces, made over 500 Jinashi flutes, and left 450 scores (collected and transcribed pieces) in 50 volumes. Fujita passed away on May 14th in 2002 at the age of 86.