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#26 2010-04-19 07:36:43

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

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Dun Romin wrote:

it would be a good thing to do some research. But please let it be done by an undependent third.

For the record, perhaps I should explain the sources of my information.
First I asked Okuda's most senior student, Kodama, who Okuda's teacher was. This was while I was studying with Kodama for a brief time, and I was naturally curious about what I was learning and where it had come from. Kodama said that he didn't know who Okuda's teacher was. I found this to be a very strange answer. Not long after I found out from one of Yokoyama's students that Okuda's teacher was Yokoyama. So that was quite simple. Later I mentioned this in passing during a discussion on either euroshak yahoo group or perhaps it was the previous email list, not sure. Kiku then firmly refuted this saying it was not true. Naturally this made me quite curious, so I researched it some more, and sure enough I found other students of Yokoyama who were there when Okuda first started shakuhachi. If their memory serves them correctly, Okuda started shakuhachi in the 80s, and studied for approximately 2~3 years. He then set up his tea shop Zensabo and started playing there, and now has his shakuhachi school/ryu by the same name.
My reports of what he has said directly to shakuhachi students in the US comes from a reliable and unbiased 1st hand witness (whose 1st language is Japanese so there was clearly no language barrier) who is a personal friend of mine. Understandably I am choosing to not give names. Various other background information comes from longstanding members of the shakuhachi community in Japan.

Last edited by Justin (2010-04-19 12:24:47)

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#27 2010-04-19 11:56:24

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Justin wrote:

Tairaku wrote:

Justin it is usually stated that Kinko used previous honkyoku as basis for new compositions and adaptations which were not the same as the source material.

Hi Brian
Where or by whom is this stated? I had heard the same from one source but never seen it written. When I told that to a Kinko-ryu teacher he said this was untrue.

I don't have the time to find citations right now but actually I've never heard otherwise. I can't remember if it's all verbally or if I've seen written sources as well. I agree with you that there is a homogeneous nature to the Kinko repertoire and I've always thought that indicated that Kinko wrote everything. The other repertoires gathered from various sources (such as Jin Nyodo's or Watazumi) have much more variety as one would expect. Perhaps the florid playing style which has developed has evened out what was once a more diverse group of pieces.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#28 2010-04-19 12:11:48

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Justin and Kiku,

Let's adopt a more collegial tone here, no need to get personal.

Justin, as you know I am a musician with a public profile. There have been thousands of articles written about me and fans have written zillions of words on the net praising and reviling me. It would be horrible if historians or scholars took all that stuff as gospel because there is a lot of nonsense there and factual errors. What I'm saying here is that there's little purpose in regurgitating a bunch of "he said, she said" stuff. If it's not on Okuda's website which might have been approved by Okuda we have to take it with a grain of salt. Whatever he may or may not have said to Americans has to be cited by the people in question, not hearsay. And may have been colored by some kind of language gap in the first place.

Kiku's explanation is pretty simple. Okuda considers himself self taught. He had some interactions with Yokoyama but doesn't consider that to be a full transmission. Little point in belaboring how many lessons because you and I and a lot of other people have taken numerous lessons with multiple teachers. Okuda's repertoire was formed by his own versions of songs he learned from recordings and from watching performances. Plus whatever he picked up in lessons from whomever.

So he's a guy who has gone off on his own and doesn't really belong to a previous ryu although he has been influenced by much previous honkyoku.

That's it. If people like his sound they can listen to it or study it and if they don't they can disregard it. If they disregard it they can do so on grounds of general musicianship or because they think he's not firmly enough grounded in the tradition. If they like it they can do so on basis of the musicianship alone or they can rationalize that he did a good job of absorbing traditional elements through unconventional means.

"End of History."

Let's stop having a circular argument.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#29 2010-04-19 12:51:17

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

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Hi Brian
Regarding the question of language gap, I have updated my above post which details the sources of my information. Not everyone is as outspoken as me and so I am not saying who the information comes from as I doubt they would like to be involved. Take it with a grain of salt if you wish but in my opinion the way a teacher/performer presents themselves verbally to groups of students is just as important, if not more so, than their website. Websites are indeed rare among teachers here and Okuda's has only one paragraph of info on it.

OK, enough about that.

Tairaku wrote:

Justin wrote:

Tairaku wrote:

Justin it is usually stated that Kinko used previous honkyoku as basis for new compositions and adaptations which were not the same as the source material.

Hi Brian
Where or by whom is this stated? I had heard the same from one source but never seen it written. When I told that to a Kinko-ryu teacher he said this was untrue.

I don't have the time to find citations right now but actually I've never heard otherwise. I can't remember if it's all verbally or if I've seen written sources as well. I agree with you that there is a homogeneous nature to the Kinko repertoire and I've always thought that indicated that Kinko wrote everything. The other repertoires gathered from various sources (such as Jin Nyodo's or Watazumi) have much more variety as one would expect. Perhaps the florid playing style which has developed has evened out what was once a more diverse group of pieces.

If you do find any sources do let me know. I'll continue researching on this end too.
Regarding what you say about Jin Nyodo and Watazumi's repertoires being more varied, that would be expected since they learned the pieces from different teachers. So they are the 1st generation of their repertoire. The Kinko-ryu players we hear today are around 8th~10th or so generation in the lineage since the repertoire was put together. Naturally far more homogeneity should be expected. Even in the 1st generation the process starts, as I mentioned about Jin's Kimpu-ryu flavour or Watazumi's Kyushu flavour as examples. I have noticed increasing homogenization in 2nd and 3rd generation players of some schools also. Though this process can work somewhat differently today due to recordings. Now they can be used as a reference, so this could have the result of slowing or changing this gradual evolution.

John would be a good one to ask about ideas of how much Kurosawa Kinko is said to have changed the pieces.

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#30 2010-04-19 12:56:46

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Justin wrote:

John would be a good one to ask about ideas of how much Kurosawa Kinko is said to have changed the pieces.

I'll ask John again just to be sure but I think he's of the view that Kinko composed those pieces. Back on that later.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#31 2010-04-19 12:59:03

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Justin wrote:

Hi Brian
Regarding the question of language gap, I have updated my above post which details the sources of my information. Not everyone is as outspoken as me and so I am not saying who the information comes from as I doubt they would like to be involved. Take it with a grain of salt if you wish but in my opinion the way a teacher/performer presents themselves verbally to groups of students is just as important, if not more so, than their website. Websites are indeed rare among teachers here and Okuda's has only one paragraph of info on it.

OK, enough about that.

[.

Yeah probably enough. Because even if he did say that stuff, it's no more outrageous than the claims made by Watazumi for example and we still admire him........because of his playing. Sun Ra claimed to be from Saturn but that doesn't stop people who dispute that from liking his music.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#32 2010-04-19 13:03:00

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

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Tairaku wrote:

Justin wrote:

Hi Brian
Regarding the question of language gap, I have updated my above post which details the sources of my information. Not everyone is as outspoken as me and so I am not saying who the information comes from as I doubt they would like to be involved. Take it with a grain of salt if you wish but in my opinion the way a teacher/performer presents themselves verbally to groups of students is just as important, if not more so, than their website. Websites are indeed rare among teachers here and Okuda's has only one paragraph of info on it.

OK, enough about that.

[.

Yeah probably enough. Because even if he did say that stuff, it's no more outrageous than the claims made by Watazumi for example and we still admire him........because of his playing.

And the funny thing is, I still admire Okuda. I get on very well with him when I meet him, and I think he's great for doing his best at finding his new direction for shakuhachi music. I like his music. It's just the other stuff  roll !

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#33 2010-04-19 13:13:48

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Justin wrote:

And the funny thing is, I still admire Okuda. I get on very well with him when I meet him, and I think he's great for doing his best at finding his new direction for shakuhachi music. I like his music. It's just the other stuff  roll !

Well, I've been around him at a few lessons and also taught alongside him at the European Summer School a few years back. He's always been a gentleman and I have not heard any pompous stuff coming out of his mouth so I like him. I always thought his playing was pretty much his own interpretation of traditional tunes. So the lineage stuff never bothered me. The comparisons to Watazumi also do not bother me because I do think there's a similarity in the sense that they both take traditional materials and do semi-improvised versions of them. So it's a philosophical and methodological similarity. There are infinite variations to that. Thus if he doesn't sound exactly like Watazumi I can still see why he might think he's following in his footsteps. That is somewhat more of a Western way of looking at the question of influence. Not unusual if he comes from the viewpoint of jazz. In jazz it is not expected that the follower sounds like the original inspiration. Same goes for modern art. Painters are not expected to create paintings that look like their influences.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#34 2010-04-19 21:39:38

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

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Hello,

After doing my best to plough through this topic it is impossible to ignore the passion and zeal it engenders.
However, wouldn't it be better categorized under History or, perhaps, Reviews? I personally find I know little more about teachers but much more about the forum participants at the end of it all. It all starts to sound like the old commercial where one housewife claims to have whiter clothes using her detergent than the other does.
Ah, now let's work on what white means...

Larry

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#35 2010-04-19 22:27:05

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

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Larry Tyrrell wrote:

Hello,

After doing my best to plough through this topic it is impossible to ignore the passion and zeal it engenders.
However, wouldn't it be better categorized under History or, perhaps, Reviews? I personally find I know little more about teachers but much more about the forum participants at the end of it all. It all starts to sound like the old commercial where one housewife claims to have whiter clothes using her detergent than the other does.
Ah, now let's work on what white means...

Larry

What, Larry? You think forums might actually be for figurin' stuff out? The very idea!!!


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

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#36 2010-04-19 22:34:42

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Iemoto system, playing in tune, Okuda

Larry Tyrrell wrote:

Hello,

After doing my best to plough through this topic it is impossible to ignore the passion and zeal it engenders.
However, wouldn't it be better categorized under History or, perhaps, Reviews? I personally find I know little more about teachers but much more about the forum participants at the end of it all. It all starts to sound like the old commercial where one housewife claims to have whiter clothes using her detergent than the other does.
Ah, now let's work on what white means...

Larry

Yep everybody should go out and wash their own laundry because it stinks. cool


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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