Fujiwara Dozan is a Dai-Shihan shakuhachi player who studied under the Living National Treasure, the late Yamamoto Hozan I and graduated from the Tokyo National University of Performing Arts with a BA and MA in Music. Since then, he has become one of Japan’s leading shakuhachi players inspiring a new generation of followers and students. He has received a wide range of awards and prizes including the Ataka Prize, the Tokyo Edogawa Ward Cultural Contribution Award, and the Matsuo Traditional Music Art Prize in the Newcomer Award category. His traditional album ‘Season – Winter’ received the Excellence Award of the National Arts Festival Awards of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and his musical arrangement of a piece with the Taiwanese singer, Peggy Hsu, received the Golden Melody Award in the ‘Most Excellent Arrangement’ category. In 2020, he also received the 71st Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award for Arts.
Dozan has been engaged in an array of musical activities from the traditional to the contemporary and appears regularly in stage music and in concerts, he also edits CD’s and plays in duos with the marimba player, Sinske, with the pianist, Takeshi Senoo, and with the cellist. Furukawa Nobuo. in the ‘Kobudo’ duo, and in the shakuhachi ensemble ‘Fugachikuin’. He also regularly appears in the NHK Education programme ‘Nihingo de asobo’, and is a regular contributor to the Hogaku Journal.
Keen to promote an interest in the shakuhachi and traditional performing arts, he has written a school music text book for Junior and Junior High schools and is working hard on the education and training of young musicians. He is a member of the Tozan-ryu Shakuhachi Association, the Nihon Sankyoku Association and is head of the Tozan-ryu Dozan-kai.
Nagasu Tomoka began studying Kinko-ryu shakuhachi and Satsuma Biwa at the age of 9 and later went on to study Chikumeisha shakuhachi under the late Living National Treasure, Yamaguchi Goro and Matsuyama Ryumei.After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, majoring in shakuhachi, she completed the prestigious NHK Hogaku Training Centre programme before embarking on a very successful career as a professional shakuhachi and biwa performer. She has performed throughout the world and has won a string of competitions and awards including the 19th ‘New Artist of the Year’ Golden Disc. In 2004, she debuted in the highly successful all-female combo ‘Rin’ which combined traditional Japanese musical instruments and style with contemporary pop and rock music. Her music has also featured in many TV commercials, stage theatre performances, in TV dramas including the highly acclaimed and popular ‘Massan’, in games and in film productions. Apart from performing and composing, Tomoka is dedicated to promoting an interest and understanding of the shakauhchi and biwa from a wide spectrum and trying to convey the sound of Japan to young people.
She is a member of the Chikumeisha-kai, the Nihon Sankyoku Kyokai, the Hogaku group ‘Tamatebako’, the wagaki orchestra ‘Aioi’ and the wagaki group ‘Ryusei’.
Kakizakai Kaoru studied shakuhachi firstly under Saito Seido and then from 1982 onwards under the late Yokoyama Katsuya. He has won the Japanese Hōgaku Music Nationwide Contest in the shakuhachi division. He passed the 3rd Victor Audition for Japanese Music. Kakizakai has performed at the first World Shakuhachi Festival in Bisei, Japan in 1994 and since then in 1998 in Boulder, USA; Tokyo 2002; New York 2004; Sydney, Australia 2008 and Kyoto 2012.
Kakizakai has performed Takemitsu Toru’s ‘November Steps’ with NHK Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit and also under the direction of Iwaki Hiroyuki; Honna Tesuji; Takahashi Naoshi and with orchestras such as Saint Petersburg Philharmonics, Erzgebirgsensembles Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra Nipponica. He performs and teaches in the USA, Europe, Australia, Taiwan and China. Kakizakai has released the CDs ‘Koten Honkyoku’, ‘Koten Honkyoku 2’, ‘Koten Honkyoku 3’, ‘Solo Pieces by Fukuda Rando’.
He is currently a lecturer at the Tokyo College of Music and an instructor at the NHK Culture Centre, and is one of the principal instructors and administrators of the Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshūkan of which he is the Chichibu head.
Michael Soumei Coxall
Michael studied sankyoku and honkyoku shakuhachi in Japan for many years under the legendary Kinko-ryu, Chikumeisha master and Living Cultural Treasure, the late Yamaguchi Goro, and still continues his studies with Mizuno Komei on frequent visits to Japan. He also studied shinkyoku under Sugawara Kuniyoshi in Tokyo. He was awarded his shakuhachi ‘Master’s Licence’ in 2007. He taught full-time at SOAS, University of London from 1986 to 2009 and teaches Chikumeisha honkyoku, sankyoku ensemble and shinkyoku music.
He has performed widely in the UK and Europe with the Hibiki Ensemble as well as in Japan and is Head of the Chikumeisha UK Branch. Since 2006, he has also been co-organiser and teacher of many European Shakuhachi Summer Schools in London, Barcelona and Lisbon and also of the World Shakuhachi Festival in London in 2018.
Dr Markus Guhe discovered the shakuhachi while studying taiko (Japanese drumming) in Japan in 2012. He immediately took to the practice of playing and has been studying with Kakizakai Kaoru since 2013. He received a shihan in 2016 from the Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshukan (KSK). Markus focuses on the traditional shakuhachi repertoire (honkyoku) as well as combining the shakuhachi with taiko and electronic music. He is pushing to popularise shakuhachi playing in the West by performing, teaching and lecturing.
In 2017 he was awarded the first competitive KSK Europe scholarship; in 2018 he released his first album ‘Samazama’; In 2018 and 2019 he performed his production ‘The Shakuhachi Experience’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Markus divides his time between Scotland and Germany. Markus has been a senior performer and teacher with the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers (Europe’s only professional touring taiko group) since 2013 and is a permanent touring member since 2014.
Kyle Chōmei Kamal Helou
Kyle Chōmei Kamal Helou studied shakuhachi in parallel to his Karate-Do training. He pursued the idea of a holistic development of body, mind, and spirit along with the extended breath requirements of shakuhachi which he felt would supplement his Karate training. Kyle is a 6th DAN Shotokan Karate-Do instructor.
His shakuhachi journey began while a university student, when he acquired a basic instrument he stumbled on at his local music store in 1993. He came to realize the importance of a teacher after struggling due to lack of knowledge on how to direct the sound of the instrument. In 1998, he began traditional lessons in Kinko Ryu with Steven Rowland in Princeton, New Jersey.
In 2001, Kyle moved to Japan to continue both karate and shakuhachi training. He studied with Christopher Yohmei Blasdel (Chikumeisha Kinko Ryu) and Kinya Sogawa (Watazumido and ji-nashi shakuhachi making). In 2018, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel awarded him the Chikumeisha shihan and the professional name 調盟 “Chōmei”
Having graduated from the Japan Karate Shoto Federation (JKS) master instructor apprenticeship system in 2008, Kyle was appointed as JKS Middle East Director. He oversees its development in the Middle East as well as operating his own JKS Dojo in Lebanon, his native country.
Kyle teaches both Kinko Ryu and Watazumido shakuhachi methods. When madake bamboo is available from Japan, he makes ji-nashi shakuhachi.
Daniel Seisoku Lifermann
Daniel Lifermann was born in 1950 and started learning the flute under the grand master, Fernand Caratge, at the “École Normale de Musique de Paris” (1970-1974). While travelling in Japan in 1983, he first encountered shakuhachi players and back in France he first learned shakuhachi from Franck Noel, a student of the renowned Yokoyama Katsuya and then from one of his leading students, Iwamoto Yoshikazu from 1989 to 1997. Since 1999, he became a follower of Fukuda Teruhisa, the founder of the Hijiri Kai school, with whom he regularly organizes master classes. In 2008, he received his teacher’s licence ‘Dai Shihan’ (grand master) and the name of Seisoku (Holy Breath) from Fukuda Teruhisha.
Daniel has been teaching shakuhachi since 1988 and in 1995 founded the French association “La Voie du Bambou” which aims to practice and spread the shakuachi in France and now has 30 members. Daniel has participated in numerous events including on radio, TV, in concerts of Japanese traditional music, contemporary music, theater, and in hospitals. Daniel focuses on a spiritual approach to shakuhachi music and although it is very representative of Japanese aesthetics, he considers this music as a universal expression of the human soul through concentration and devotion.
Véronique Piron, based in Brittany-West of France, is a shakuhachi performer-teacher in the style of Yokoyama Katsuya (KSK), who awarded her a shihan licence in 2002 in Tôkyô whilst recipient of a Lavoisier research grant. She participated in the creation of the ESS and assisted in developing the teaching of the shakuhachi in Europe, France and Brittany. As a licensed conservatoire professor for traditional music, she has been introducing Japanese music including Min’yô and world traditional music as well as the shakuhachi at the Music Museum in Paris.
Moving between tradition and creation, she has produced a solo programme, a classical trio with koto/shamisen, and meets with composers and musicians in intercultural projects.
One recent collaboration has been with Bartabas and the equestrian theater Zingaro (Paris) in ”Ex-Anima”, and presently she is working with the Japanese actress, Hiromi Asai.
She has produced several CDs.
Nick Bellando makes Edo-style shakuhachi and hitoyogiri flutes designed specifically for playing Edo-era honkyoku pieces (or Muromachi-era pieces, in the case of the hitoyogiri).
He teaches these pieces from the viewpoint of shakuhachi as a life-practice, rather than having musical performance as a goal. He lives in Hirosaki, Japan, the hometown of Kinpu-ryu shakuachi.
Horacio Curti studied the shakuhachi in Japan with Kakizakai Kaoru, and there he received his shakuhachi shihan in 2004 from the Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshukan.
He has played as a soloist for the Spanish National Orchestra, the Liege Royal Orchestra and with many ensembles having performed and taught extensively in Europe, Japan, and in North and South America.
Two of his solo albums, Ichi and Home is now, have been released and he has created several performative pieces together with dance and music for audio-visuals.
Currently, he is chairperson for the European Shakuhachi Society, is an associate professor at the Catalunya College of Music and coordinator of its Asian music program.
Kiku Day (PhD, London; MFA, Mills; BA, London) is an ethnomusicologist and shakuhachi player and is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. She grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark with her Japanese and American parents and gave up her studies in classical Western flute to study Zensabō honkyoku repertoire with master Okuda Atsuya in Tokyo for 10 years.
Since her return to Europe, she dedicated her life to the potential use of jinashi shakuhachi today and has been occupied with the creation of a contemporary repertoire for jinashi shakuhachi. Several composers from different parts of the world have been written for her, among others: Takahashi Yuji, Roxanna Panufnik, Frank Denyer, Vytautas Germanavicius, Hara Yumi and Mogens Christensen. She has performed with performers such as Fred Frith, Joanna MacGregor, Mats Gustafsson and Joëlle Leandre, and as a soloist with the Odense Symphony Orchestra playing Takemitsu Toru’s ‘November steps’ and Panufnik’s ‘Wild Ways’ with the Nonsuch Choir.
Today, Kiku continues her research and publishes on regional shakuhachi traditions, the shakuhachi communities online and spirituality in shakuhachi playing. She is also working towards her kaiden in Myōan Shakuhachi under the guidance of the 42nd kansu of Myoanji, Seian Genshin. She lives at a meditation centre in Denmark and explores the connection between meditation and shakuhachi playing.
Kiku is a founding member of the European Shakuhachi Society for which she served as chairperson for 10 years and was the chair of the World Shakuhachi Festival 2018 Executive Committee.
Bruno Deschênes is a Canadian musician, composer, author and journalist specialising in world music. He studied shakuhachi under Kurahashi Yōdō II and Alcvin Ryūzen Ramos and received his shihan in 2016. He is the artistic director of the Matsu Take Ensemble, a Japanese music ensemble based in Montréal, which has released a CD on ARC Music, UK (EUCD 2731). He regularly gives lectures and publishes articles on the shakuhachi and his first book in French is entirely dedicated to the shakuhachi: Le shakuhachi japonais, Une tradition réinventée (Paris, L’Harmattan 2016). In 2018, he published Une philosophie de l’écoute musicale (Paris, L’Harmattan, 2018), in which he proposed a possible understanding of listening to music based on Japanese aesthetics.
Dr Jim Franklin initially studied composition and musicology in Australia, and Europe. In 1986 he encountered the shakuhachi, studying with Dr Riley Lee, Furuya Teruo and Yokoyama Katsuya. He received his Shihan-license in 1996 from Yokoyama-sensei. Jim also composes contemporary and electroacoustic music, combining shakuhachi and live electronics. From 2004 to 2021, Jim lived in Germany and now lives in Japan. From 2006 to 2009 he was the founding ESS Chairperson. In 2018, he was a key organiser of the World Shakuhachi Festival in London, responsible for programme and budget. In December 2020, the CD of his composition ‘Songs from the Lake’ was released by NEOS Music (NEOS 12029, https://neos-music.com/).
Christophe Kazan Gaston
Christophe Kazan Gaston received his shihan from the Shin-Tozan Ryû school under the teaching of Sôzan Chiaki Kariya, the official representative of this school in France and in 2016, he received the name “Kazan” (歌山). The Tozan Ryu repertoire was composed in the 20th century, but Christophe also plays the older Kinko style associated with the Chikumeisha school, following the teaching of Gunnar Jinmei Linder. He is the contact person for the Chikumeisha French lesson center associated with this school. In this context, he is the main organizer of the workshop series in France with Gunnar Linder as the main teacher. He teaches in France and performs regularly with the sankyoku ensemble Gaden. Motivated by the use of the shakuhachi in other contexts, he also collaborates with artists from jazz, electronic and contemporary music as well as with dancers.
Philip Suimei Horan
Philip Suimei Horan participated in the JET Programme in Japan from 1999 to 2001. On his return to Ireland, he completed a Masters in ethnomusicology at the University of Limerick in 2002, focusing on aspects of conceptualisation in the shakuhachi tradition and its relationship with acoustics and shakuhachi making.
During his time in Japan, he studied the Tozan-ryu with Hanaoka Seizan in Hiroshima. In Europe, he has studied with Kiku Day and Jean-François Lagrost. He completed a junshihan in April 2013 as part of Shin Tozan Ryū (France) and teaches shakuhachi to a small and enthusiastic group of students in Dublin. He recently performed with the Paris-based Yamada Ryū koto player, Chida Etsuko in a series of concerts in Ireland. Philip Horan began making his own shakuhachi in Japan and continues to make both ji-nashi and ji-ari shakuhachi.
He often performs shakuhachi with the Dublin-based Japanese player of the Irish harp, Murakami Junshi. They perform a selection of Irish and Japanese folk songs as well as arrangements of shinkyoku for Irish harp. Recent collaborations include performing on the soundtrack to the documentary, A Doctor’s Sword (directed by Gary Lennon and produced by Bob Jackson), about the fascinating story of an Irish doctor in World War II and a Japanese sword. He also regularly performs on shakuhachi and bansuri with members of the Indian Classical Music Society of Ireland.
Thorsten Knaub is an artist, digital filmmaker and shakuhachi maker/player based in London and Paris. Knaub discovered the shakuhachi in the early 1990s and over his long involvement with the instrument he received instructions from leading players representing a variety of schools/styles, used the shakuhachi for experimental art projects as well as researched the making process. Since 2014, he has been studying honkyoku repertoire with Teruo Furuya as transmitted through the Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshukan, Japan.
Thorsten crafts shakuhachi from Japanese bamboo using traditional materials and methods and being particularly interested in jiari shakuhachi, he recently spent time in Japan with the master maker Miura Ryuho, exploring in greater depth the various techniques of jiari making.
Thorsten was member of the executive committee of the World Shakuhachi Festival 2018 in London and is currently one of the editors of BAMBOO (ESS Newsletter).
Gunnar Jinmei Linder
Gunnar Jinmei Linder began studying the shakuhachiin Japan in 1985 with Yamaguchi Gorō (1933–99), the head of the Chikumeisha Kinko Ryū shakuhachiand Living National Treasure. In 1993, under a Japanese national scholarship (MEXT), he entered Tokyo National University of the Arts and graduated with an MA degree in shakuhachi in 1997, and was awarded his’shihan’ master license and the name Jinmei from his teacher in 1998.
Gunnar was a very active shakuhachi performer and teacher in Japan for 20 years before moving back to his native Sweden in 2005 where he now actively teaches and performs as well as across Europe. He is also an Associate Professor in Japanese Studies at Stockholm University, researching into pre-modern genres of Japanese art and also teaches shakuhachiat the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. In 2016, Gunnar was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for important cultural and academic activities. He is the Head of Chikumeisha Scandinavia Branch and the main teacher of the Chikumeisha France Lesson Center.
Gunnar has published an instruction DVD of Kinko Ryū honkyoku (1999), several CDs, and a manual on how to play Kinko Ryūhonkyoku(Notes on Kinko Ryū Shakuhachi Honkyoku, 2011) which includes three CDs. His PhD dissertation on tradition and transmission of shakuhachi from 2012, Deconstructing Tradition in Japanese Music: Historical, Authenticity and Transmission of Tradition is available digitally and in paper. Presently he is working on Volume 2 of his instruction book Notes on Kinko Ryū Shakuhachi Honkyoku, containing an additional fifteen Kinko Ryū honkyoku pieces (the first volume covers ten pieces).
Jean-François Suizan Lagrost
Suizan J.-F. Lagrost is professor of art education at the Conservatories of Le Kremlin-Bicêtre and Asnières near Paris. As a versatile musician, he excels in both the Western and Japanese musics. After a traditional curriculum of concert flute in Mulhouse and Paris, then a DEA of Music of the 20th century at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, he began the shakuhachi in 2000 (Tozan style) and obtained in 2014 the title of Dai-Shihan (grand master).
The diversity of his expertise conducts him to appear in a variety of backgrounds: the Ensemble de flûtes de Paris, flute & piano recitals in Taiwan, as a soloist with the Musique de la Garde républicaine, as well as Summer Schools and Festivals of shakuhachi in Europe (Barcelona, Prague, etc.)
He published in 2013 a Japanese chamber music CD entitled “Kyoku” with the koto player Mieko Miyazaki.
As a Senior Advisor of the European Shakuhachi Society, he has founded and administered since 2011 the world’s main forum of shakuhachi (www.shakuhachiforum.eu).
Mike McInerney has played shakuhachi in new electronic music contexts across the UK for Manasamitra, the UK-based South Asian arts company, Salamanda Tandem dance company, in Germany and Belgium with the Logothetis Ensemble, and in his own Electric Shakuhachi projects. He studied for a number of years with the composer Frank Denyer, and until 2019 was subject lead in composition on the undergraduate music programme at the University of Plymouth, UK.
Jose Vargas likes shakuhachi very much.
Perry Yung is a multimedia performance artist, actor and musician who works on stage, television and film. He is best known as Father Jun in the Bruce Lee television series Warrior.
Perry is also a traditionally trained Japanese shakuhachi flute craftsman and musician. In 2002, he received a Japan United States Friendship Commission Grant to study inder Kinya Sogawa in the Yokoyama Katsuya nd Watazumido styles of playing and flute making. In 2014, he received an Asian Cultural Artist Fellowship to further his studies in Japan on antique Edo Period instruments
and various older Honkyoku music traditions.