SEIKADO shakuhachi workshop

I recently acquired two beautiful shakuhachi to restore both made in Kyoto’s SEIKADO workshop.
Here are some informations on the Kitahara family, shakuhachi makers for 4 generations !

SIKADO workshop is located in Kyoto
Website

Founded in 1908 By Kozan Kitahara I in Osaka, Seikado workshop has been focused on trying to modernise shakuhachi making as an answer to growing requirements of musicians of that time in order to build up the shakuhachi to an optimal of acoustic qualities; that was the beginning of ji-ari shakuhachi.

Kozan Kitahara I 初代 北原篁山 (1883-?)

After IIWW, the workshop moved to Kyoto and Kozo Kitahara, the second generation had to recreate a number of specific tools lost during the war.
Kozan Kitahara II, an other son born in 1925 became an accomplished player in Tokyo where he founded in 1957 Yonin no Kai ensemble and recorded several albums.

Today, the 3rd and 4rth generation are working together in Kyoto’s workshop producing shakuhachi for many professional players world-widely.

 

The first of those two flutes I restored is now ready to find its new owner; the second one (older) will come soon…

Thomas

Spring meditation with avian orchestra

I am very delighted these days by playing this long 3.0 Hochiku recently finished.
(which I’m not hurried to see leaving my workshop for someone else !)

Yesterday, I recorded this flute with my workshop’s window opened to wilderness;
Lucky I am to be in the woods
with birds symphony everyday
and the creek as a drone.

 

April Shakuhachi

I have work since the beginning of Springtime on 4 different shakuhachi :

 1.8 ji-ari – 2.1 ji-nashi – 2.2 Myoan style Ji-nashi – 3.0 Hochiku ji-nashi

I built each of this shakuhachi with a specific state of mind, searching for sounds based on very different criteria.
I feel satisfied with being more and more able to aim to one type of sound, and then select the good piece of bamboo and work it specifically to approach what I’m searching.

 — « How long does it takes you to build a flute ? »

 — « Several hours and over fifteen years ! »

Thomas

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.

Thomas

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…

Thomas

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 !

Thomas

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.
 

2021…

Quite surprinsing how the traditional new year wishes aren’t joyfull as usual;
adding “…” or formulas like “despite…” reflecting the uncertainty of the times…
Nevertheless, I wish you all a year richer in freedom and joy (we still have some power on that hopefully !)

This years, no changes on prices at Atelier Chikudo.
Some available shakuhachi have discount prices for this new year !

I decided to stop making students model in order to focus on traditional shakuhachi and restaurations.

So my advice for beginners with low budget is to acquire a Shakuhachi YUU which is made from ABS resin copied from a good quality ji-ari shakuhachi. It is the best Price/quality ratio possible…
…but not from bamboo !
You can order them from Ebay, Amazon or directly from the website :
https://shakuhachiyuu.com/

Thomas

Some shakuhachi that you haven’t seen…

Since September, several nice instruments have been sold without any publication on the website…
I wanted to present some of them here !

1.8 Ji-nashi 1.8 for a Myoan player

A customer from the last year has fallen in love with the Myoan style which he’s learning with a French teacher based in Kyoto : Sébastien Shogetsu.
I made for him an excellent ji-nashi, with a very fine and flexible playability, from a piece of black French bamboo with a lacquered root in the style of antique flutes.
I’d be honoured that this instrument might be presented to the Myoan group in Kyoto probably next year !

1.8 ji-ari 1.8 from French bamboo

The last 1.8 Ji-ari I built from the bore design of the previously restored Tamai Chikusen.
A great shakuhachi, rich in tone and well balanced now played by a new commer i our French Chikumeisha group.

2.0 Ji-ari 2.0 from a piece of Madake brought from Kyushu

This nice Ji-ari with sobre aesthetic has a delightful dark and mysterious tone as the old kinko flutes I love.
Made from a piece of Madake offered by the woman I met by the bamboo grove where I was harvesting (see this article for the story).
This flute is now in Gunnar’s hand and I’m waiting for his approval…!

 

French Chikumeisha Autumn workshop.

Dear all,

Because of the pandemic, the autumn workshop organized by Chikumeisha France with Gunnar Jinmei Linder will be held online instead of in Figeac.

The dates are November 13th, 14th and 15th. The workshop fee is 80€ (*)

More information on chikumeisha.net

Friday, November 13th will have a focus on beginners.
Saturday, November 14th: focus is mainly on Kinko-ryū honkyoku
Sunday, November 15th: focus is on sankyoku.
All participants are welcome to attend all sessions

Beginners are people already able to produce the notes and read the Kinko notation; teaching to pure beginners is not really possible in such a format.

Please note that whatever your level is, you are welcome to participate in one, two or all three sessions if you want to discover the pieces covered. The level designation (please see the program for details) is only meant to indicate the tempo of teaching and what the teacher will expect of pre-understanding of the material. It is of course possible to just audit the lessons.

Please note that there is a possibility to book individual instruction with Gunnar on Thursday, November 12. Please contact Gunnar directly at gunnar_linder@me.com.

Registration process:

  • Please send a mail to contact@chikumeisha.net for registration and details on payment.
  • When payment is complete, you’ll receive the Zoom meeting ID + a link to download all the material.

Best regards,

 

The Chikumeisha France Board

(*) in case of economical problems, please contact Gunnar gunnar_linder@me.com