The sound of Silence
"Kyotaku is an instrument through which I find inner harmony. It is a wonderful legacy of my meditative experience following Koku Sensei, in Japan, in the 1970s. Practicing the breathing through the Kyotaku gives me the opportunity to live the ecstasy in a space of freedom, creativity and peace. My sound, which is always new and regenerated, expresses my emotivity, my harmony, my deepest being, in one breath. "
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A bit of History
The great Zen master Fuke who lived in China during the 7th century had a wooden bell coated in metal that he used for meditation. One of his students, Chohaku, made the first bamboo flute in an effort to imitate the sound of Fuke’s bell. The word “kyotaku” means “bells that make the mind empty.”
Around the year 1200, the bamboo flute came to Japan along with the Fuke sect. The flute became popular, especially the 1.8 shakuhachi size. The shakuhachi was often played with other instruments and special music was composed for these instruments. The shakuhachi eventually became so popular that the name was adopted to refer to all bamboo flutes.
When the shogun-epoch came to an end around 1868, the shakuhachi began to change. It became more like the flutes in the western world. The shakuhachi was made smoother and more symmetrical on the inside and could now be disassembled. These developments in the structure of the instrument affected the way in which the flute was played. It has become more and more difficult to find original kyotaku flutes. The original kyotaku flutes are played by breathing, rather than blowing, to get the desired sound. Today only the bamboo flutes made by Koku Nishimura may be called “kyotaku”. Each kyotaku made by the master receives his special stamp of authenticity.