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#51 2009-06-11 21:57:34

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

In Tozan they have to sit exams don't they? And I heard for their Dai Shihan they have to have a certain number of students. Like a pyramid scheme! Maybe that's why their school is so big!

Does seem dumb that people with no skills can get Shihan. But if the schools giving out them are so phoney in the first place, I doubt they would ever accept being judged by a panel, since they obviously don't care about standards. Among the shakuhachi world I guess it damages the school's reputation since it will be known shihan from their school doesn't mean anything. And anyway any shakuhachi player of worth could hear how bad the person is. The problem I guess lies outside the shakuhachi world, like Michael said with universities and museums and all that. So I guess what you are proposing is an overall licensing organisation. Not sure exactly how that would work, in combination with individual sect-specific judgement.

The way I think of the licenses is that they certify that you are a lineage holder of a certain tradition. This goes beyond just pleasing music. The tradition cannot (in the Japanese view) be self taught, or simply learned from records. Even if someone is self taught and becomes a pleasing player, they are generally not accepted as a traditional player or holder of the tradition. It must be transmitted orally, from teacher to students. Learning by oneself there are many many points one would miss. Even if you have great ears, the feedback and relationship with the teacher, i.e. the connection to the lineage of masters, is essential.

The license certifies that you have received that transmission. This can be personally reassuring or rewarding, and also can be important for your students, or their students and so on. They can be confident that you didn't merely judge yourself to be a worthy teacher, but were accepted by the lineage as a genuine master of that lineage. And in some cases the license system goes back hundreds of years, for example the Kinko-ryu licenses which were issued to students (before the group became named Kinko-ryu) in the Kanto Fuke-shu temples. I find this similar to religious transmission. Perhaps partly because this originally was part of a religious transmission. But also in terms of different religious sects. For example the different sects of Buddhism, both within countries and also across the world. They have different emphasis, different strictness, and different levels of accomplishment. Within some schools the lineage holders are "awakened", and have to be to become lineage holders. In fact they not only have to have a solid foundation in realisation of the nature of mind, but also have to be accomplished scholars and ritual masters. So they have to have these multiple qualifications before receiving the title and role. However in some other schools, the lineage holders have little or no realisation. Some schools the teachers actually have no realisation of the nature of mind at all. Those schools could be seen to be dead, or like an empty shell. But, they continue. The titles get passed down, and externals continue. If they were accused of being unqualified, they would perhaps deny it, or say it is a subjective judgement or something. The real qualified masters would know exactly what was going on, and even some high students would know too. Unfortunately many people might not know, in particular perhaps the students/followers of the not-genuinely-qualified masters. It's unfortunate. But hopefully the genuine seakers would find their way to the living schools, to the masters who can take them to where they want to go. As for the not-genuinely-qualified masters, it would take great humility for them to come to study with a genuine master. Though, this does happen from time to time.

I'm not sure how relevant that is to this conversation, but I often think of the shakuhachi schools similarly to religious groups, and even the Japanese teacher-student relationship as very much like the guru-disciple relationship (not only for shakuhachi but other arts here too), and the way of transmitting the knowledge.

Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

Last edited by Justin (2009-06-11 22:06:59)

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#52 2009-06-11 22:42:00

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

The granting of licenses for shakuhachi is a practice that obviously originated in Japan and follows suit with many of the traditional art forms here in that granters of these licenses are generally in Ďthe businessí of all things attributed to that craft/art form.  It is a traditional model and has a threefold purpose.
1)    to indicate through what is perceived as an official source that the recipient of the license has successfully completed a set of required tasks as judged by the head of the guild or chapter and who either performs on a fairly regular basis, and/or has recorded commercially (recent), and/or acts to promote the shakuhachi publicly .
2)    as an honorarium for years of participation in a guild.
3)    to perpetuate the lineage
As this was a respected profession in the past and largely continues that way today, it involved the transfer of money as a means of recognition and to maintain the life of the teacher and the group.
Within my own chapter (Wakanakai) of the Chikuyusha guild, of the 50 or more members, there are 5 people with a Shihan license of which I am one.  Of those 5, only the head of the chapter (Tsurugi Kodo) and I teach, publicly perform, record and promote making us the only group 1) members in our chapter.
  The other Shihan recipients basically fall into the 2) category and have the respect of all members because of their years of participation (whether they are Ďgoodí or not.)  This is an important aspect because to make a living in this field relies on such people who are in it for personal enjoyment/gratification but supportive of their teacherís efforts.
The rest of the chapterís members hold a chapter/guild memberís license and name that basically recognizes that they have succeeded in accomplishing a set of tasks set out by that chapter or guild head that suggests the recipient holds a certain level of ability and is officially recognized as a full-fledged member of the chapter and when publicly performing, may display their given, performers name in the media.  It also suggests that they have the right to pursue a Shihan license if they wish.
In other traditional art forms in Japan, the needs of the  system are generally much more than that required by the system in my guild (Iím not aware of the practices in other shakuhachi guilds.)  Obviously, one doesnít have to participate in that system and can continue lessons with a teacher who does.  That being said, all members within my chapter go the license route and are very happy and honored when they receive their licenses.
My chapter has never issued a dai-shihan license and likely wonít if traditions are maintained.
As for Brianís idea of having a cross-guild panel of judges to review a playerís general ability, it could be a useful thing outside of Japan where students donít identify as a group, but I think it would be viewed with a certain sense of disdain here (as per Justinís observations.)  Aside from that, who would qualify to choose the panel and how much would the panel judges expect to be compensated for their efforts?


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#53 2009-06-11 22:58:13

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3226
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Jeff Cairns wrote:

As for Brianís idea of having a cross-guild panel of judges to review a playerís general ability, it could be a useful thing outside of Japan where students donít identify as a group, but I think it would be viewed with a certain sense of disdain here (as per Justinís observations.)  Aside from that, who would qualify to choose the panel and how much would the panel judges expect to be compensated for their efforts?

Sure I can see that.

So we're basically saying that it's OK that many Shihan are not good players or in some cases may play OK but are bad representatives of shakuhachi? Because that's acceptable in Japan. We're back to that. Whatever goes in Japan is OK.

#2 on your list happens a lot in the West, but it's confusing here as there I suppose because then it is assumed that a license from Sensei X is worthless based on the sounds emitted by some of their licensees. But if this is the norm that's just the way it is.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#54 2009-06-12 02:11:55

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Tairaku wrote:

Jeff Cairns wrote:

As for Brianís idea of having a cross-guild panel of judges to review a playerís general ability, it could be a useful thing outside of Japan where students donít identify as a group, but I think it would be viewed with a certain sense of disdain here (as per Justinís observations.)  Aside from that, who would qualify to choose the panel and how much would the panel judges expect to be compensated for their efforts?

Sure I can see that.

So we're basically saying that it's OK that many Shihan are not good players or in some cases may play OK but are bad representatives of shakuhachi? Because that's acceptable in Japan. We're back to that. Whatever goes in Japan is OK.

I would like to rephrase that:

So we're basically saying that it's OK that many Shihan are not good players or in some cases may play OK but are bad representatives of shakuhachi. Because that's acceptable in School X. We're back to that. Whatever goes in School X is OK for School X.

It's up to each individual school, and, in the end each teacher. And, this is about tradition. It would seem odd to me to mess with someone else's tradition. Here I do not mean a non-Japanese messing with Japanese tradition. I mean a member of one school messing with another school's tradition. Like a wu style Tai Chi teacher saying a Yang style teacher was rubbish and shouldn't be a teacher. Could be very true, but, what to do? You could challenge them to a fight and ridicule them like that, which has been known to happen actually. Not sure how the same could work with shakuhachi though. Hopefully it wouldn't get as extreme as for example the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism waging war on other sects it felt was inferior or threatening, taking over their monasteries by force, even forcefully banning certain traditions such as the shentong teachings which, viewed from their rantong perspective are "incorrect" (but which are preferred by many yogis even today). I know you're not talking if this kind of situation, but I still think things can get messy when the authority of schools, i.e. the head of a school's capacity to appoint shihan, is interfered with.

I'm not saying your point is invalid though. I'm just trying to look at it seriously. As for any solution, I can think of 1 within tradition, and one outside. The outside one would be to establish an independant organisation for the sake of certifying teachers. I guess it would have to be non-school specific to have any meaningful existence. Could be based upon any kind of criteria, for example sight reading, ability to notate music upon listening to it for the first time, etc. I think Tozan-ryu employs such criteria in their exams. Again, there would be difficulty on choosing the music, since music neaest one's own school is the easiest type to be able to sight read and also transcribe.

I suppose the popularity of being examined by it would depend on how useful the certificate would be. I have no idea about that. I suppose it may be useful for training people to play non-traditional music, such as having to play new music quickly, sight read etc. For those interested in being qualified as a master of a traditional lineage it would not be of value I suppose as it would not be connected to tradition or lineage, though might be of use in other contexts. It might have value for interacting with Universities and the like, perhaps. Or if you wanted to set up shakuhachi exams for kids, like they have with other instruments, with grades. At least in England, I remember taking such exams. I guess it's that kind of Western music exam system from which Tozan-ryu adopted their system. But, then again how do you get around the fact that you have to learn a repertoire to actually play the instrument? And you have to know the repertoire to be able to judge it? Anyway, something like that might be possible.

Then as far as within tradition, if you are not satisfied with the qualification system of your own teacher, but are satisfied with your school itself, you could work to get certified by your teacher's teacher, or the head of the school. Or, if that would be rude, you could get the name of both your teacher and the head of the school on the certificate. That is sometimes done in Japan. That can have the benefit, at times, that you have to have passed the strictness of both teachers, so it brings it to the highest level of the 2, for example your teacher might be more strict in giving certificates than the head teacher, and that may be known, so having your own teacher's name on it as well as the head teacher's, makes it a higher standard of certification. This has also be known to occur.

Or, if you are not satisfied with your school's certification at any level, but are still satisfied with the music of your lineage, I guess you could do your bit by working to a high level (or even specifically ask the teacher to only give you shihan when you are truly a master), and then, from you onwards, you can establish higher standards for your school. Once you are a teacher, it's up to you how to continue your school.

Finally if you are just not satisfied with the standard of your school, you should be looking elsewhere. That can be difficult particularly in Japan, where many students feel unable to leave or study with another teacher even if they really want to. But I think it can be worthwhile. Being stuck with the wrong teacher can kill your spirit and enthusiasm for learning.

Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

Last edited by Justin (2009-06-12 10:46:23)

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#55 2009-06-12 04:11:32

Karmajampa
Member
From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
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Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

geni wrote:

where should I mail my check for dai-shihan cool

You acan post it to me.........

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#56 2009-06-12 12:18:54

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & NÝrre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 922
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Interesting discussion and interesting topic!
I, as most people know, come from a school that does not give licenses. So, I am outside that game - although once a Myoan teacher said to me 'If you study with me for 2 years, I'll give you a license That is the minimum required amount of years!' But that was anyway after I had left Japan - so it was not really an option for me, and I am fine without a license.
The current discussion made me think. smile
We know what licenses mean and how it is done in Japan - although as usual there are always differences with each ryu-ha and with some teachers within a ryu. Thanks for the contributers who came with their school's take on what a license means. That was great readings!
But now a days there are so many players outside Japan. What about them? Should they just be content as they are - even though many would never have an opportunity to receive a license because they live outside Japan and have lives that cannot just be moved to Japan?
The Japanese do grades on 'Western' instruments in Japan as well. Yes, based on Western principles but then some are different systems....
So...
I am not suggesting we should have a licensing body outside Japan. I don't think time is ready for it yet. But - on the other hand, it is food for thought that it could be done - perhaps far out in the future. Many shakuhachi players play brililantly, do a great job in spreading the word and the culture surrounding shakuhachi and have a deep knowledge about it. Is there a way to acknowledge those - instead of just the people who have either been to Japan or live in the few places outside Japan where there are licensing going on?
I am not coming with suggestions of how to (I don't have space in my head to think so deeply about it) but it is interesting to think about acknowledging 'mastery' outside a strict lineage context.

PS. Geni, you are more than welcome to send that cheque to me as well! I will give you a female shakuhachi player kiss!  big_smile

Last edited by Kiku Day (2009-06-12 12:21:28)


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#57 2009-06-12 18:13:24

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Hi Kiku
I don't think there is any need to come to live in Japan, so long as you have a qualified teacher in your home country. For example Chikuzen, Nyokai, Ronnie in the US, maybe others to? In England perhaps Michael can issue shihan? I'm not sure how it works in Chikumeisha but in Yokoyama's school shihan is the highest rank, so once you are a shihan you can I think give other people shihan (though no doubt you would have to discuss that issue personally with the head of the school, Yokoyama). Or, if your were a shihan and student really qualified as a shihan but it had to come from the head of the school, perhaps he would give it, or you might have to just visit so the head teacher could really check. That has happened I think with long term students of Yokoyama's school who have qualified, then come to be finally checked by Yokoyama.

I wonder if it is similar with other schools? I think generally in Kinko-ryu shihan is the highest rank too. And the head of schools can usually issue shihan, though I don't know the details and there is I think connection to the head of the branch your school is under. Jeff, perhaps you can enlighten us on that for Chikuyuusha? Does your teacher issues shihan himself? Or is it issued by Kawase Junsuke, or, have his name on it? How about the Myoan Taizan-ha licences, are they individual by teacher, or connected to the head of Taizan-ha?

Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

Last edited by Justin (2009-06-12 18:30:51)

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#58 2009-06-12 20:23:55

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Hi Justin,
Yes, my teacher issues the license himself.  That is, his father's name (still the head of the chapter) is on the license.  Kawase Junsuke's name isn't on the license.


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#59 2009-06-13 17:00:08

Larry Tyrrell
Moderator
From: Pacific Northwest
Registered: 2005-11-09
Posts: 73
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Hello Poobahs Great and Small,

My favorite license story is one Kohachiro Miyata told me when I was studying with him.  He had told me in no uncertain terms he would not issue a license to any of his students. His attitude was "You study with me and you become a good player-that's it." However he did tell me of one of his former students, a Japanese man, who had emigrated to the U.S. and was proficient enough to be making his living as a session musician in L.A. The name alludes me just now but this student was back visiting with Miyata and bemoaning the fact he was having trouble finding students who would study with him because he was not "Shihan" and complaining that "Americans are license crazy!" Whereupon Miyata simply got out his paper, inks and inkans, created a license and said "There, now you're shihan!"

Larry

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#60 2009-06-13 19:59:31

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3226
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Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Excellent story Larry! lol That student sounds like Masakazu Yoshizawa. And wasn't Kohachiro Miyata one of the very few good auto-didact players? If he taught himself that would explain why he wouldn't be in a position to give out licenses.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#61 2009-06-13 20:13:29

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3226
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Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Jeff Cairns wrote:

1)    to indicate through what is perceived as an official source that the recipient of the license has successfully completed a set of required tasks as judged by the head of the guild or chapter and who either performs on a fairly regular basis, and/or has recorded commercially (recent), and/or acts to promote the shakuhachi publicly .
2)    as an honorarium for years of participation in a guild.
3)    to perpetuate the lineage

This has been an interesting discussion and I am modifying my position on the idea of licensing. If these are the criterion for getting a license then it's within the interests of perpetuating shakuhachi to give the licenses regardless of quality of play or inconsistency of performance from one graduated student to another.

Of course that doesn't stop us from being able to say, 'Geez that person is holding the shakuhachi upside down and they're a Dai Shihan" or "Wonder how much that weeniehead paid for his Shihan from the exalted Iemoto?"

In the end if you care about the music you'll still listen to them and see what they sound like. And of course if you yourself are a good musician you'll be much more concerned about the sounds you're making than what other people think about your credentials.

madoherty wrote:

If WE were to decide what it would take in order for a Dai Shihan credential/honor to be bestowed on someone, outside of the Japanese system, what qualities and/or achievements would be important?  Pretend that we are setting a new system up outside of Japan.  What would be important?

This is still a very interesting topic. Maybe there should be some sort of recognition system that doesn't refer back to Japan. It could cross ryu boundaries and reflect the shakuhachi diaspora.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#62 2009-06-13 21:48:27

Larry Tyrrell
Moderator
From: Pacific Northwest
Registered: 2005-11-09
Posts: 73
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Tairaku wrote:

Excellent story Larry! lol That student sounds like Masakazu Yoshizawa. And wasn't Kohachiro Miyata one of the very few good auto-didact players? If he taught himself that would explain why he wouldn't be in a position to give out licenses.

I think you're right, Brian. The sweet irony is Miyata bestowing on Yoshizawa what he had already attained. That's really what it is about: attainment.  In Miyata's case he never needed any third party validation for the remarkable things he had attained by his own talent and hard work. All in all it's about hard work...

Larry

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#63 2009-06-13 22:54:18

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

In Chikudosha, my branch of Kinko, shihan is also the highest rank.  All licenses are issued by and have the name of the iemoto (Fuji Jido) on them.  In the case of my own license, it was signed by my teacher here in Shikoku, his teacher in Yokohama, and the Yokohama shihan's teacher, who is the head of Chikudosha.  If I ever end up giving a student a license it will need three other signatures on it.  One has to go through three ranks of gaikyoku and three ranks of honkyoku pieces as well as perform in yearly recitals to pass levels.  It has generally taken at least six years for any player in my teacher's group in Shikoku to be eligible for junshihan.  We've never had anybody who has practiced five or six hours every day, however; in that case perhaps he or she would have a chance at obtaining the first license in a shorter period of time.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2009-06-13 22:58:14)

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#64 2009-06-13 23:01:27

Larry Tyrrell
Moderator
From: Pacific Northwest
Registered: 2005-11-09
Posts: 73
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Daniel Ryudo wrote:

In the case of my own license, it was signed by my teacher here in Shikoku, his teacher in Yokohama, and the Yokohama shihan's teacher, who is the head of Chikudosha.

Hi Daniel,

Would the head of the school still be Notomi Judo (II) ? I had a pleasant conversation with him on the phone years ago when I called to order a set of 27 Kinko honkyoku scores from him.  Have you ever had any opportunity to meet him?   Just curious.

Larry

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#65 2009-06-13 23:20:50

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Hi Larry,

No, the head of the school is named Fuji Jido.  He was initially a student of Notomi Haruhiko (Notomi Judo's son), and after Haruhiko died he became a student of Notomi Judo.  After Notomi Judo passed on Fuji Jido had a falling out with the other son (would that have been the Notomi Judo that you talked to?) and he took half of the Domon Kai with him and formed a new branch of Kinko.  We continue to use the same gaikyoku notation, the shiro-fu, as the Domon Kai, though Fuji sensei rewrote all the honkyoku pieces.  So I've never met Notomi Judo II but have met Fuji Jido, joined his Tokyo group twice here in Kochi when our local group performed with them, twice more in Tokyo, playing concerts there and in Yokohama, and he invited several of us country folk to join his Tokyo group on a trip to Shanghai to perform with the Chinese traditional music orchestra there about a decade ago.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2009-06-13 23:22:15)

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#66 2009-06-13 23:37:40

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

I think that if we can glean anything from these discussions, it would be that the meaning of 'Shihan' is fluid and pertains to a certain level of achievement that is generally accepted to be relatively advanced, though doesn't necessarily pertain to 1) musicianship  2) musical sensitivity 3) general historic knowledge 4) ability to transmit the lineage well  5) ability to represent the lineage well, and 6) ability to hold the instrument correctly.  However, that isn't to say that any or all of the above aren't factored into the equation for consideration by some teachers.
Brian, I feel that you nailed it here though:
Of course that doesn't stop us from being able to say, 'Geez that person is holding the shakuhachi upside down and they're a Dai Shihan" or "Wonder how much that weeniehead paid for his Shihan from the exalted Iemoto?"

In the end if you care about the music you'll still listen to them and see what they sound like. And of course if you yourself are a good musician you'll be much more concerned about the sounds you're making than what other people think about your credentials.


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#67 2009-06-14 00:12:53

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3226
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Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Daniel Ryudo wrote:

Hi Larry,

No, the head of the school is named Fuji Jido.

Does he make flutes? I think Ronnie has a flute of his that looks beautiful with a hairy rootend and a lot of smoked action.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#68 2009-06-14 00:25:38

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Yes, Tairaku, he does make flutes; I know several players who have one or two of his in their collections.  Though one member of our local group plays a Fuji Jido flute, our teacher here plays flutes made a Yokohama player named Suzuki Shodo, who split off from Domon Kai with a small group before Jido sensei did, and then joined Fuji sensei's larger band of shakuhachi players.

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#69 2009-06-14 00:40:27

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3226
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

I think he also made a dramatically curved one which John Neptune reworked and is now in the collection of Tony Clark in Germany.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#70 2009-06-14 00:53:10

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Interesting...  He might be surprised to hear where some of his shakuhachi have ended up.  He had a Canadian student (Jacques?) some years back, an astronomer who formerly worked at that big observatory on Hawaii island, who decided to change careers and go to medical school; maybe back in Quebec now; I think he has one of Fuji sensei's flutes.

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2009-06-14 00:58:15)

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#71 2009-06-14 02:38:06

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Daniel Ryudo wrote:

In Chikudosha, my branch of Kinko, shihan is also the highest rank.
[...]

  One has to go through three ranks of gaikyoku and three ranks of honkyoku pieces as well as perform in yearly recitals to pass levels.  It has generally taken at least six years for any player in my teacher's group in Shikoku to be eligible for junshihan.  We've never had anybody who has practiced five or six hours every day, however; in that case perhaps he or she would have a chance at obtaining the first license in a shorter period of time.

Sounds similar to Chikumeisha too. It's a huge repertoire to have to master. I suppose it is up to each teacher on how strictly they judge it, either way it's no small feat to be able to play all the pieces in the repertoire. The higher level sankyoku pieces are very technically demanding, so if the teacher really waits until you can play them all well, you really will end up being a "master".

In Yokoyama's school there is less focus on sankyoku. The students are not put through the entire sankyoku repertoire, but instead we have to study Fukuda Rando pieces. Also another difference is that we can learn honkyoku from the beginning, which is quite appealing to a lot of people. Yokoyama himself has composed a number of pieces which are also in our repertoire.

From a historical perspective, does anyone know the history or details of shihan being issued in non-Kinko koten honkyoku schools?

The giving of shakuhachi names (chikumei) is a tradition with a long history. I don't know how long (anyone know?) Perhaps as old as the history of shakuhachi itself? Indeed it is common in many arts in Japan, to receive an artist's name when sufficiently qualified.

At least as early as the 18th century for example, certain komuso  who were particularly skilled at playing shakuhachi were assigned the role of being the shakuhachi teachers for the temples - some teachers also set up teaching studios in the towns, to teach the lay people (for example in 1768 Kurosawa Kinko I, shakuhachi teacher for Ichigetsu-ji and Reiho-ji (the head temples of the Fuke sect) also had 5 teaching studios in Edo city). These laypeople, if they became particularly skilled at shakuhachi playing, could be awarded shakuhachi names, as a sign of their accomplishment. I'm not sure of any documents which accompanied that, or whether or not they were also licensed to teach (anyone know?), but I would assume that this is the system from which our current shihan system has evolved. I suppose that after the abolishment of the Fuke sect, the role of teaching was gradually no longer held exclusively by komuso, but was passed on to the laity. I might guess that if during that time of transmission, there evolved the combining of the giving of the shakuhachi name, with the license to teach, and now for some schools even, merely the license to teach without any shakuhachi name.

On the other hand, is it possible that some of those lay people actually became shakuhachi teachers themselves during the Edo period? (I know this did occur in Tsugaru, but in particular I am wondering whether there were any lay people teaching shakuhachi in towns where komuso already had teaching studios.) Or were even perhaps given licenses to teach by their komuso teachers? Anyone have any info on this? Also does anyone have any info on what documentation, if any, accompanied the giving of shakuhachi names during the Edo period?

Anyway, I know some people diss the shihan system, and I guess a good reason for that is that some teachers give out shihan to people who are not good players. That obviously devalues the qualification. I can understand it in some way. Some students have been studying for decades, and end up having studied the entire repertoire, every piece, but, perhaps play every piece "badly", from a musical perspective. I can understand a teacher feeling sorry for such a student who may really want their shihan. And I can understand them giving the shihan in such a case. But I would hope they would only do that if that student has no intention of teaching. In that case I guess it wouldn't do much harm, and would make an old man very happy. However, for those students who do want to teach, I hope that their teachers would judge them far more critically, only giving any qualification when it is truly deserved.

I believe that when the shihan system is applied wisely, it has a can be used to secure the tradition, to maintain high standards, make sure that only people who have really learned the music to the teacher's satisfaction are certified to represent that tradition and help pass it on to the next generations. And in Japan people are often very much concerned with and passionate about maintaining tradition, maintaining lineages, streams of knowledge and so on. Some people may complain that that is not creative, perhaps too conservative. I think it can be sometimes. But I think things work best when there are both healthy conservative forces, such as maintenance of tradition, and also fresh creative forces on the other hand, working in good balance.

Giving out shihan to people who enter the public eye, or become teachers, and yet have not mastered the repertoire, I think only has a negative effect on the tradition and detracts from it. I totally agree with you Brian about that. Hopefully the actions of those teachers who do that will not be enough to totally dismiss the whole qualification system, which is quite healthy in many other shakuhachi schools. With all these complaints surfacing, perhaps some teachers out there will see sense in raising their standards! smile

Justin
http://senryushakuhachi.com/

Last edited by Justin (2009-06-14 03:20:06)

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#72 2009-06-14 08:18:05

STUPID HIPPY
Member
Registered: 2009-04-04
Posts: 20

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

Man it would be so far out if we could all just blow the shakuhachi and not think about labels and shit. Like suppose if everybody in the world had a shakuhachi and just blowed one of the notes like ro or whatever the low note is called and shit. So everyone blows. Maybe Obama is not a real brother and shit like Huey or the other Panther brothers. But could you imagine if instead of the "State of the Union" address he just picked up a shakuhachi and did a "Blow of the Nation" address?  And everybody else joined in? I mean everybody like even Cheney and the Unabomber and the KKK and Oprah, and Osama bin Laden, Bob Dylan, Seinfeld and Leonard Nimoy? The world would be at peace, at least while everybody was blowing. I know I'm a dreamer but that would be really beautiful.

Last edited by STUPID HIPPY (2009-06-14 08:26:29)


Zen and Bamboo are one. Or is it two? Far out.

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#73 2009-06-14 08:44:26

baian
Member
Registered: 2006-03-28
Posts: 83

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

dude

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#74 2009-06-14 09:44:21

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

STUPID HIPPY wrote:

Maybe Obama is not a real brother and shit like Huey or the other Panther brothers. But could you imagine if instead of the "State of the Union" address he just picked up a shakuhachi and did a "Blow of the Nation" address?

I think that anybody who is going to lead the world in Ro Buki should be licensed to assure that the Ro has the right quality.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#75 2009-06-14 13:23:28

axolotl
Member
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 2007-11-16
Posts: 215
Website

Re: Licenses "R" Bogus!

I look forward to the day that Jim Thompson scribbles something on a piece of paper and throws it at me! 

What would happen if, say, in 4 years I show up in Japan knowing all of the required Kinko repertoire and try to find a teacher and proceed to a licensing exam?  It sounds like I'd be operating under a number of disadvantages; invariably I wouldn't be prepared in the right way and would probably face some opposition for appearing out of nowhere.  I have no idea if this is the right path for me; for now, I just want to learn how to play well and see where that leads.

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