A rare masterpiece : Miura Ryuho 3.0 ji-ari shakuhachi

I have been entrusted a master shakuhachi to repair :
a 3.0 ji-ari in 3 parts made by the famous Miura Ryuho.

Miura Ryuho is one of the most renown modern makers in Japan; he makes instruments for many of the greatest professional players. Born in 1952, he studied with both Yokoyama Ranpo (father) and Katsuya (son) and was assistant maker of Yokoyama Katsuya. He is famous for being one of the rare makers to be able to build very long ji-ari with an accurate bore design.
Takahashi Toyomi with whom I studied in 2019 in Tokyo is one of his students.

This shakuhachi is a piece of art !

Regarding the crafting, it is precise, aesthetic and perfectly mastered. This shakuhachi is dividing in 3 parts and utaguchi is made from mammoth ivory and gold. the rattan of the 2 joints is incredibly fine.
I am usually not fond of very long shakuhachi (cho-kan) and not very good at playing them.
But this one (about 1 meter !) is an exception.
The finger holes are placed very ergonomically giving a (relative) comfortable fingering especially the 5th hole for the thumb which is moved on the left avoiding excessive tension in the wrist.
As for the blowing, it is so surprising to feel the whole bamboo vibrating loudly with just a light stream of air…
The tone colour is rich, and tuning and balance perfect up to dai-kan.

So I tried, modestly and toughly, to play a Honkyoku with this great instrument : Hifumi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe.

Actually, I did meet this shakuhachi before in Lisbon ESS summerschool in 2019 and here it is in my workshop 2 years later !
The repair was only on one of the joints that got loose.

Thanks Klaus for entrusting this great shakuhachi to me !

The funny thing is that at the same time, Nicolas sent me another kind of long flute to repair :

A huge 3.0 Taimu from the regretted Ken Lacosse – Mujitsu (one of his last shakuhachi made). It’s a beast made in an incredibly thick wide bore piece of madake; typically the kind of flute I am unable to play !

Here it is on the workbench :

To get an idea of how it sounds, have a look at Cornelius Boots videos.

It is rare that I have so long shakuhachi with me at the workshop; and having two at the same time with so different approaches of shakuhachi making was a luck and, as always, an opportunity to learn a lot for me.


Beautiful documentary

I have been particularly touched by this documentary on a New-Zealander shakuhachi maker…

Kelvin Falconer is blind and makes shakuhachi with his homegrown bamboos since 2006.

Making a shakuhachi is definitely a meditative and sensitive experience,
to imagine crafting a shakuhachi with only touch and hear opens a deep new dimension…


Kaneyasu Dodo – 兼安洞童

I recently had the opportunity of restoring a beautiful shakuhachi made by the master Kaneyasu dodo probably in the 1930s.

Kaneyasu Dodo – 兼安洞童

Born in 1894 and died in 1981 (Shakuhachi gives long life !), he was a disciple of the great master Inoue Shigemi and is known for being the founder in 1928 of a kinko school where he taught both playing and making all his life long : Dainihon Chikudo Gakkan 大日本竹道学館.
This association is still existing in Japan nowadays.

The instrument I restored (actually for sale on the shakuhachi in stock page) is quite unique.
It is a 1.8 ji-ari shakuhachi made in a gorgeous thick piece of bamboo with several kinds of repairs.
My contribution to bring back this shakuhachi was to add 4 new rattan inlaid bindings and repair damages in the bore finished with a new lacquer.
Sealed with two different hanko, one of the maker and another one of the school.

This antique shakuhachi is now ready for a new life !


Bamboo for Shakuhachi making

Want to make your own shakuhachi ?

After having sorted out my bamboo stock in 2020, I realised that some pieces were not suiting my actual requirements for making my shakuhachi; I have improved my making skills since I harvested them.

Regularly, people contact me in search of bamboo to experiment building their own shakuhachi so I decided to sell some poles rather than keeping them uselessly.

I made a first selection of 2 packs of French bamboo that I harvested myself; they are dried for 5 to 10 years.
Those bamboos, rather for ji-nashi making, would not suit the requirements of professional makers but are good for amateurs. Sold in a range of price from 20 to 100 €

You can check them on a dedicated page of this website.