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I have the sad news to report to the Forum that the great Shakuhachi Maker Gyokusui Kono the 2nd suddenly passed away on October 15th.
For the past 20 years or so, he had been making the GYOKUSUI flutes that we all prize. And many of you know that for the 30 or so years before that, he had in fact , made about 95% of each flute that his father GYOKUSUI the 1st, would put his Hanko on. Between the two of them , this father-son team were responsible for some of the best post-WWII Shakuhachi that were ever made. His Shakuhachi were in the same top level (in my opinion) as Nakao Shinzan and Inoue Shigeshi.
I invite all of you to play a Honkyoku from your Heart for the safe passage of the spirit of this exceptional man into its next incarnation.
Been a while since we last spoke. I hope you are well.
Thanks for the post about Master Gyokusui. Besides being one of the great makers, he was also a very kind person. During my years in Japan studying with Kurahashi Yoshio Sensei (84-90) I was fortunate to meet Master Gyokusui through Kurahashi Sensei. I brought him a flute I had made and he was very supportive of my amateur attempts at making shakuhachi. Over the next few years I would visit him with my latest attempts and he would play the flutes and offer suggestions.
I have one story I would like to pass on to the forum: I made a flute that basically worked, but I did not like the sound. I called Master Gyokusui and asked him if I could drop by and show him the flute and he said of course. He played the flute and told me the following: He asked me to look at the room we were sitting in. It was a fairly good size traditional Japanese room with a nice view of a garden. He asked me to notice the space above the door and the ceiling. He said it is usually empty, and because it was empty we can breathe deeply and enjoy the garden. He then said, that is how you have to make shakuhachi.
I will leave it to everyone to decide what Master Gyokusui meant. All I know is that when I play his flutes, I can breathe deeply and smell the flowers.
Thank you Ronnie and David,
Last night, the sound of Tamuke filled my apartment along with a hint of a fragrant garden.
I don't presently have a Gyokusui around but I have worked on many, each one a soulful piece of art.