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#26 2009-10-29 04:03:42

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

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Thanks Ed for a more updated version of Deeg's writing. He has produced quite a lot, this guy!

Lanier flutes wrote:

He does make one statement that confuses me, on page 12, if anyone would care to comment - "The basic tone - all fingering holes covered - of the standard length (isshaku hassun) is the small re, the basic scale being a pentatonic one."  What is meant by "small" and is he referring to an earlier name for the base note or should "re" be "ro?"

I don't know why the re is small.... but I suppose he is talking about re in the solmisation system, e.g., do re mi fa sol la si do. That then corresponds to D in the terminology we usually use if the pitch is fixed (used in Latin countries and also Slavic countries) - although the solmi system often is used as a movable system and not fixed in pitch.

I just checked some books on solmisation systems and as far as I can see an old system made use of capital letters to indicate where in the scale they were.... (or rather which octave they were in).

He says it is a pentatonic scale yes... but he should have written anhemitonic pentatonic to be correct! smile (ok the nerdy ethnomusicologist is here!).

I find that since it is so clear that Deeg masters reading Japanese and even old Japanese, he could have looked at the abundant material available in that language on this topic and am a little puzzled he didn't do that. But yes, otherwise I agree, it is an excellent article.

Last edited by Kiku Day (2009-10-29 08:30:19)


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
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#27 2009-10-29 11:28:39

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Kiku Day wrote:

He says it is a pentatonic scale yes... but he should have written anhemitonic pentatonic to be correct! smile (ok the nerdy ethnomusicologist is here!).

[Some background of interest on pentatonic scales; anhemitonic and whatnot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentatonic_scale]


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#28 2009-10-29 13:31:35

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

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Lanier flutes wrote:

Another quote that is puzzling, on page 24, "the time of the first presence of organized komuso which did not develop in shakuhachi circles before the Meiji period and not until after the abolishment of the Fuke-shu."  That doesn't sound exactly correct does it, or am I just carping in my koi pond?

He might be talking about the organisation of shakuhachi players into the ryu-ha system here.... or at least that is the only way I can somewhat get to an understanding of what he means. So, in a way I suppose he thinks the organisation during the Edo period - apart from that early one he mentions - were too loose to be considered organised. However.... what really confuses me about this sentence is that he writes 'organized komuso'. One could argue that they were no longer komuso in the Meiji period as Fuke sect was abolished and begging prohibited for some years (although I am sure some were komuso both in spirit and body for a while after). Perhaps this a a mistake - unless someone else can reach an understanding of the sentence....??? To me it makes no real sense! roll

Last edited by Kiku Day (2009-10-29 13:40:38)


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listen to this music
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#29 2009-10-30 22:08:42

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Kiku Day wrote:

However.... what really confuses me about this sentence is that he writes 'organized komuso'. One could argue that they were no longer komuso in the Meiji period as Fuke sect was abolished and begging prohibited for some years (although I am sure some were komuso both in spirit and body for a while after).

Hi Kiku
There were komuso not only in spirit and body, but also in name. Many of my friends and people I have met had seen komuso in the streets when they were young. Most commonly I hear that they were to be seen up until the war (World War II), but rarely afterwards, so that was another 70 years of komuso activity at least. Of course as you say, there was no official Fuke sect by that time, so they would not have been komuso monks living in Fuke temples, although, from what I gather even during the Edo period many or most of the komuso were not full monks and not living in temples. Kind of half monk half lay-person. Perhaps the post-Edo period komuso wee a continuation of that. I would also see this as different from the contemporary phenomenon of people with regular jobs dressing as komuso on special occasions. These komuso up until the war at least seem to have been doing it as their profession rather than a hobby or cultural re-enactment.

Riley has some interesting things to say about this in his thesis:

The total prohibition against begging for alms was lifted by the government in 1881, after ten years of petitioning by a number of Buddhist sects. Soon after, permission was granted to komus˘ to beg for alms as one part of a large fundraising drive for the replacement of a building other than the My˘anji honzan in the To-fukuji complex destroyed by fire. The My˘an ky˘kai (明暗教会, My˘an Society) was founded, firstly to organize the fund-raising project, and ultimately to revive the komus˘ tradition as it was practiced at the old My˘anji.

He continues:

After the founding of the My˘an kyokai, members of other former Fuke temples soon followed suit. In 1888, the Fuke ky˘kai (普化教会) was founded at the temple, K˘kokuji. Shortly thereafter, the My˘on ky˘kai (妙音教会) was founded at Kokutaiji (国泰寺) located in Toyama Prefecture, and the Hott˘ ky˘kai (法燈教会) was founded at My˘k˘ji (妙光寺) in Ky˘to (Kamisang˘ 1974:20). In 1950, the Fuke Sh˘shű My˘anji (普化正宗明暗寺, 'The Temple of Light and Darkness of the True Fuke Sect') was founded as the corporate body of the My˘an ky˘kai, and a temple was rented within the T˘fukuji compounds. In 1969, the main hall of the new My˘anji was completed. The temple is today acknowledged as the main temple (本山, honzan) of the suizen tradition, regardless of lineage or ryű (Kamisang˘ 1974:20).

The komus˘ societies filled the institutional role of the former Fuke sect in a number of ways. They granted licenses and certificates similar to the old san'in or three seals. They also determined the dress of the komus˘ and the times and circumstances of begging for alms. There were at first even members of the societies whose only livelihood was alms received as komus˘. The new komus˘ societies did differ from the old Fuke sect in being less exclusive; anyone could join the societies once the fees were paid. According to Kamisang˘ (1974:20) the early ky˘kai movement as a whole did little to further either the artistic development or the transmission of the music. In this respect, the komus˘ societies may resemble the Fuke sect. The transmission of the bulk of the tradition was accomplished not by the institutions, but by individual shakuhachi players teaching other individuals. This becomes particularly evident after the Meiji period, when greater documentation allows transmission lineages of particular honkyoku to be partially traced over a number of generations of performers.

Whenever I meet people who saw komuso when they were young, I ask about the music they played. Some of these people are not shakuhachi players and so cannot remember, and others who are shakuhachi players were often too young at that time (and not studying shakuhachi a that age) to remember. So I have only one report of one of my teachers who does remember, that the komuso he heard (perhaps 60 years ago) played only minyou (folk music), and at that he thinks perhaps only Oiwake. That was in the Nagoya area.

There were "serious" shakuhachi honkyoku players in the 20th century who have also played the part of komuso, playing honkyoku while begging. I wonder how connected these people were to the minyou-playing komuso. The impression I have is that many if not most of these honkyoku players had jobs, and were not playing through need of money but playing as a kind of shugyo (spiritual discipline). This seems to have been the case at least for Takahashi Kuzan and has been suggested to have been the case for many others.

Does anyone else have more info on this?

Last edited by Justin (2009-10-30 23:16:07)

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#30 2009-10-31 02:59:46

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

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Indeed, my grandparents and even my mother are among the people who have heard komusō playing shakuhachi in the streets. The komusō story of the family is that as a little girl my mum was very afraid of the shakuhachi-playing komusō. So when a komusō approached the house playing, my grandmother would hide with her behind the furniture inside the house and hope he would go away. One komusō then went all the way into the garden and looked into the house through the glass doors to check whether there really were no-one at home. My grandmother used to say that was a pushy and naughty komusō that one! wink
Imagine, that was Harajuku! but yes in the 1930s or beginning of 1940s.

And indeed the prohibition against begging was lifted.
What confused me about Deeg's sentence is not that there were serious players after the Edo period. Of course there were - you can't stop that immediately by abolishing a sect. But as Lanier flutes pointed out Deeg writes: 

'... the 17th century; the time of the first presence of organized komusō which did not develop in shakuhachi circles before the Meiji period and not until after the abolishment of the Fuke-shū'.

So, in one way he says that the first organised komusō appeared in the 17th century - but that did not develop before Meiji.... Ahhhaaa... perhaps what he means is that becoming organised within Fuke sect happened in the 17th century - while in 'shakuhachi circles' (which perhaps here he means secular groups and non-Fuke) not before the Meiji period.
Ok, now in fact I think that is what he means.
What do you think Lanier flutes?

I might have been slow in understanding this slightly knotty sentence - sorry! Let me answer the question that was probably orginally asked:
Yes it is true that the shakuhachi players became organised within the Fuke sect as late as the 17th century. Before that they were individuals or loosely organised and slowly began to be organised into what became Fuke.
There are not that much writing in historical documents on shakuhachi in medieval times before the Edo period (1603-1868). But there are some descriptions of boroboro and komosō etc. There seem also to have been people using shakuhachi (probably miyogiri) and hitoyogiri in theater and circus at market places as well in medieval times.

Also, there is the question whether it is true there were no shakuhachi circles before the Meiji period or not. We know for sure that even though komusō of the Fuke sect were not supposed to play gaikyoku and teach lay people shakuhachi during the Edo period - they did. Or rather some did! Some even had a place for townspeople to come and take lessons. But you may say that they did not become organised in ryu-ha the same way as seen today.

So perhaps all this is what Deeg has thrown into the last part of a long sentence on page 24 in his article.

Last edited by Kiku Day (2009-10-31 04:03:39)


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

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#31 2009-10-31 05:17:12

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Tairaku wrote:

Looks like a great article but I haven't had time to read and digest it.

Where are all our verbose Ph.D's and Ph.D. wannabees and our other scholarly types when you need them? I would have thought this would provoke some discussion. winkwinkwinkwink

This seems to be a case of "be careful what you ask for you just might get it". smile


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#32 2009-10-31 06:27:42

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Kiku Day wrote:

Indeed, my grandparents and even my mother are among the people who have heard komusō playing shakuhachi in the streets. The komusō story of the family is that as a little girl my mum was very afraid of the shakuhachi-playing komusō.

Hi Kiku
I remember you saying about your grandmother. It's interesting, the impression I generally hear is not good concerning the komuso of that era. I'm not sure why exactly. I wonder perhaps the social position of begging was looked down upon, or, perhaps that they looked mysterious to the kids with their tengai.

That paragraph didn't make sense to me either when I read it as it did seem to be saying there were no organised komuso until after the Edo period. You might be right, he may meaning non-Fuke-shu shakuhachi circles but then it's still strange. If we change the punctuation a little we get this but I still don't get what the point is exactly:

The Denki, having constructed a narrative of the introduction of the ôoldö
tradition of Puhua / Fuke into Japan by the patriarch Kakushin, was also to
attempt to fill in the gaps between Kamakura-Japan of the 13th century; and the 17th
century, the time of the first presence of organized komuso (which did not develop
in shakuhachi circles before the Meiji period and not until after the abolishment of
the Fuke-shu.) There must have been Zen-adherents playing the shakuhachi, and
there was indeed one paradigmatic figure: Ikkyu Sojun 一休宗純 (1394-1481), an
eccentric Zen monk and ôprototypeö of a kyoso 狂僧, a ômad monk.ö54

Oh well...

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#33 2009-10-31 10:57:45

Jon Kypros
Flutemaker
From: Norfolk VA
Registered: 2008-06-28
Posts: 259
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Kiku Day wrote:

One komusō then went all the way into the garden and looked into the house through the glass doors to check whether there really were no-one at home. My grandmother used to say that was a pushy and naughty komusō that one! wink
Imagine, that was Harajuku! but yes in the 1930s or beginning of 1940s.

HA! What a great story! I'd like to meet that guy smile


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#34 2009-10-31 14:35:12

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Justin wrote:

I remember you saying about your grandmother. It's interesting, the impression I generally hear is not good concerning the komuso of that era. I'm not sure why exactly. .

Public always hates buskers.


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#35 2009-10-31 21:49:33

Justin
Shihan/Maker
From: Japan
Registered: 2006-08-12
Posts: 540
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Tairaku wrote:

Justin wrote:

I remember you saying about your grandmother. It's interesting, the impression I generally hear is not good concerning the komuso of that era. I'm not sure why exactly. .

Public always hates buskers.

Hi Brian
I didn't get that impression living in England, but, you may have a point. The boroboro for example I think I have seen depicted as playing while sitting, which could imply a "busking" style, and they had a pretty low reputation. Even today busking is rare in Japan.

One thing that seems to be more unpopular with the public than busking, is begging. And this varies from country to country. In some places it's common, such as India. In England it does occur, but not so often. However in Japan I have never seen anyone begging, even though I have seen countless homeless people who obviously have real trouble getting money. I find it interesting that they still will not beg, so it must be something quite strong in Japanese culture.

The thing I find strange about the komuso style of collecting money is that when the person comes out of their house, you stop playing and take their money (so everyone tells me). To me that seems not very musical, to just stop like that. I much prefer the idea of busking, where you play the music as music, and at any time they can put money into your box or whatever. Note that in the komuso style, your collection box is hanging from your neck and so you really do have to stop playing to receive the money.

Has anyone heard accounts (i.e. from 60+ years ago) of where there would actually be a good chance to listen to the music the komuso plays? Rather than just have him stop when you open the door to give money? Or, perhaps there was at least a good chance to hear the "thank you" piece after you payed, such as Hachigaeshi (or even Oiwake!)?

I also wonder whether the Meiji persecution of Buddhism still had lasting effects on the public's opinion of religious monks/half-monks begging for alms. This is a very respected activity in countries such as Thailand, and people will wake up early and buy special things in order to give them to begging monks. I wonder whether the Meiji media propaganda's effect went as far as turning the people against such alms seekers?

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#36 2009-11-01 18:53:02

John Singer
Shihan/Kinko Ryu-Chikumeisha
Registered: 2007-03-10
Posts: 42

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Excellent article. Very fine contribution to the forum.
Thanks

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#37 2009-11-01 21:48:42

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

John Singer wrote:

Excellent article. Very fine contribution to the forum.
Thanks

What do you think about his conclusions?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

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#38 2009-11-02 07:13:26

Tono
Member
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 43

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

There ia a reality that justifies the myth...

500 years ago ikkyu wrote about the bell ringer story.

Do you need an ark to believe in the message of love?

Tombs of legend may spark the imagination; through flute practice you can help people irregardless!

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#39 2009-11-02 09:05:40

-Prem
Member
From: The Big Apple
Registered: 2007-03-27
Posts: 73

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Tono wrote:

There ia a reality that justifies the myth...

500 years ago ikkyu wrote about the bell ringer story.

Do you need an ark to believe in the message of love?

Tombs of legend may spark the imagination; through flute practice you can help people irregardless!

I am curious about your post. I am not exactly sure of the meaning of any of these statements and how they relate to the discussion. Would you care to elaborate?

What reality justifies what myth?

In what way does flute practice help people? What has been your experience? How has your playing helped someone?

Message of Love? Is this a reference to Christianity?

This was exactly my intention of starting this post. To inquire about some of these shakuhachi lore/myths more deeply and seriously. Perhaps shakuhachi is a spiritual practice for you. But I would like to know how and in what way. What has been your experience regarding shakuhachi practice? What are you basing your views on? How does it affect your life and others? What are you striving for? What is your goal?

I am not trying to be confrontational in ANY way. I would sincerely like to hear more from you regarding your post.

Sincerely,
Prem

Last edited by -Prem (2009-11-02 09:09:01)

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#40 2009-11-02 12:05:47

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

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Tono wrote:

There ia a reality that justifies the myth...
500 years ago ikkyu wrote about the bell ringer story.
Do you need an ark to believe in the message of love?
Tombs of legend may spark the imagination; through flute practice you can help people irregardless!

Yes, perhaps Ikkyu wrote about the Fuke bells. But the bells of Fuke is also quoted other places. Fuke is a historical person and his wild form of Zen is known from several sources. However, did Ikkyu write about the fuke bells AND the shakuhachi together? I think there is no-one who is saying Fuke and his bells and teachings are fake. The fake story as Deeg writes about is the connection of the shakuhachi played by the komuso in the 17th century and the Tang dynasty Zen master.

I agree that through the flute practice you can help people and that does not depend on whether the story behind it is actually truth or not! The Kyotaku Denki Kokujikai and the legend from this book has been extremely important to shakuhachi, which probably would not be where it is today without that story. So, respect for that! And for me the spiritual aspect of shakuhachi playing remains deeply personal - also if I think about the connection to Fuke/Pu Hua in the Tang Dynasty is not true. The music has been created in a religious/spiritual context and continues to touch us deeply. And I think that is far more important in the now and here.
However, a few nerds like me like to discuss the history and scrutinise it. smile

Some personal observation on spiritual approach to shakhachi playing.
Ľ When I began to play shakuhachi and realised the spiritual aspect of the playing and the fact that the aim was not performance (as int he Western classical music training I came from) - it was extremely liberating. Playing shakuhachi became a daily meditation practice.
Ľ Then I began to perform, teach and engage in creative processes creating new repertoire - and I felt a bit out of touch with the spiritual aspect of my own playing. I was too busy producing, getting 'better' etc.
Ľ Then I became aware of this return to performance as aim.
Now I feel I am able to be observing this performance aspect from somewhere else. There is a distance to it and I am not totally identified with the aim of performance. That makes a difference.
Ľ The past few years I have been living at a meditation center and I have played a few times for meditation sessions. From the first second - I have found it really challenging to play in front of meditating people. I haven't worked out a clear answer why that is - but I begin to feel that when people meditated I wanted to be meditating too and I made myself equal to the others. But... I am playing - I am not really equal and perhaps I have to find a fine balance between meditation and performance. That would take me a while still.

Does anyone else have that kind of experience/observation?

Last edited by Kiku Day (2009-11-02 12:06:36)


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

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#41 2009-11-02 16:55:32

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
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Posts: 1524
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

http://www.chrismoran.com/komuso_doubter.jpg


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." ŚRowdy Piper, They Live!

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#42 2009-11-02 18:00:56

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Good one X!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

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#43 2009-11-02 19:16:14

ABRAXAS
Member
Registered: 2009-01-17
Posts: 353

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Looks like Jesus is slinging a Taimu!


"Shakuhachi music stirs up both gods and demons." -- Ikkyu.

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#44 2009-11-02 19:34:13

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

ABRAXAS wrote:

Looks like Jesus is slinging a Taimu!

Have you heard the joke "What's the difference between God and Arnold Palmer?" Answer "God doesn't think he can hit a one-iron."

Maybe this is the case of "What's the difference between Jesus and a komuso?" Answer "Jesus doesn't think he can blow jinashi!". wink


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

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#45 2009-11-02 20:09:09

ABRAXAS
Member
Registered: 2009-01-17
Posts: 353

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

At least not with some guy's finger sticking into his lung!


"Shakuhachi music stirs up both gods and demons." -- Ikkyu.

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#46 2009-11-02 20:22:29

Josh
PhD
From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305
Website

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Great post guys. Kiku just pretty much put it spot on.
I think Deeg did an excellent job, but like Gishin said a lot of what he was writing about has been around. Torsten Olaffsen did a great job uncovering too, but Deeg takes his work a bit further with more detailed references to back up the paper. His conclusions are good, although I would have liked to see more talk about his Weberian theory of the the different classes affecting the shakuhachi players, since he does mention it in the conclusion (although that is the stuff that editors tend to chop do to a lack of interest among the general population and page limit). Indeed it is difficult uncovering a past in which the Fuke sect has gone to great lengths to recreate, so with my own research as well I think it is important to look at other sources and genres, such as the general historical and religious situation of a specific shakuhachi "fact". A lot of the stories I have gathered lead me to believe that originally the shakuhachi had a lot more to do with esoteric Buddhism and Daoism etc, as opposed to Zen Buddhism. But all-in-all because the Fuke sect and the Myoankai have preserved at least their version of the history it has lead to others to be able to explore it as well. It may have fallen apart altogether without their efforts. 

I see performing as a link to spirituality or meditation in that it requires a heightened state of concentration. If I am able to get into my zone (which doesn't mean zone out) and experience a state of flow, this is a magical place where time stands still. Last week Shimura Zenpo, Izukawa Hidefumi and I performed a ji-nashi concert at the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) conference, which is for basically computer music people. Shimura performed the modern honkyoku piece written by Takahashi Yuji for ji-nashi called "Shinubi" (he premiered it in Japan and Kiku premiered it abroad, and apparently yes it specifically says it is only for ji-nashi- it is forbidden to be played on ji-nuri wink ). Anyway, he said for him that of course he goes about it with the same intention as a honkyoku but spiritually he is much more connected to a piece like Ajikan, which he also performed. In that sense he felt it was much more a performance than an act of meditation. After the concert I was answering and translation questions from the audience and they asked if this music was to be as an aid to help others meditate or just yourself. He explained that recently it has come to be scene and used that way, as in spiritual or healing music, for yourself or for others. But in the past it was not for yourself as in a form of reaching enlightenment (satori) but these were prayers in which you offered to the Buddha, God whatever you call it, or they were for a loved one or someone who had recently passed away. I found this interesting because there is so much talk of "one sound, one buddha" (a zen expression I personally believe doesn't fit the shakuhachi, but anyway) and reaching enlightenment through practice. There are pieces that we tend to coin as spiritual training pieces, such as Yamagoe, but maybe the original piece in which it stemmed from (Sashi, Saji) was more truer to the concept of the intended song as a prayer. The original players may have experienced it as a meditation but the goal was more of an offering or prayer for someone else, as opposed to a "now let's sit down and clean myself with some Suizen" type of attitude.
Now it's time to get back to the Phd.. 1 month left...

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#47 2009-11-02 20:39:47

ABRAXAS
Member
Registered: 2009-01-17
Posts: 353

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

This is an interesting discussion to eavesdrop on.

The digression into personal perspectives on the connection between spirituality and shakuhachi playing probably deserves another thread.

My personal take on it is this: I'm basically a philosophical materialist. That does not deny "spiritual" experience, but only places it in the realm of subjective perceptions of the individual's own neural processes. It only possibly denies the existence of "spiritual" anything beyond the central nervous system of the person having the experience - or persons in the case of collective experiences.

Based on this I have been assembling texts dealing with neuroscientific studies of a) Meditation and the brain; b) breathing and the brain; and c) music and the brain.

Shakuhachi "meditation" being a conjunction of all three: Playing requires  a kind of relaxed mindfulness found in many forms of meditation, along with the deep breathing (particularly the extension of the out-breath) that brings about an oxygenated brain state, thus an enhanced state of consciousness, along with the soothing emotional/neural effects of the music being played. A very special package regardless of what philosophical position it is approached from.

....today's pretentious two cents from someone who never finished high school and has only played shakuhachi for about a year! wink

Maybe some of our institutionally-connected scholars can gain access to a neuroscience dept. to hook some wires into the brains of shakuhachi players (like they did with Zen Monks) and see what the results look like?

Last edited by ABRAXAS (2009-11-02 20:43:03)


"Shakuhachi music stirs up both gods and demons." -- Ikkyu.

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#48 2009-11-02 21:15:46

The JiNazi
Member
From: Waldenfeldenschmeissen
Registered: 2006-11-15
Posts: 4

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Josh wrote:

Shimura performed the modern honkyoku piece written by Takahashi Yuji for ji-nashi called "Shinubi" (he premiered it in Japan and Kiku premiered it abroad, and apparently yes it specifically says it is only for ji-nashi- it is forbidden to be played on ji-nuri wink )..

VERBOTEN!

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#49 2009-11-02 21:58:16

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

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Josh wrote:

A lot of the stories I have gathered lead me to believe that originally the shakuhachi had a lot more to do with esoteric Buddhism and Daoism etc, as opposed to Zen Buddhism.

Hi Josh
Would love to hear more about this.

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#50 2009-11-02 22:09:00

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
Website

Re: Interesting article on Shakuhachi and the History of Komuso

Justin wrote:

Josh wrote:

A lot of the stories I have gathered lead me to believe that originally the shakuhachi had a lot more to do with esoteric Buddhism and Daoism etc, as opposed to Zen Buddhism.

Hi Josh
Would love to hear more about this.

That was the gist of Thorsten's paper. Maybe Josh has other, different stories.

I don't know why shakuhachi has to always be linked with other philosophies and practices as if to legitimize it. Blowing the bamboo in and of itself without any connotations is good enough.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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