Ichijo Shakuhachi Dojo was established in 2017 and is a Shakuhachi experimental music arts group. We are a group of experienced individuals with rich experience in performing and event planning. We are also the first arts group in Hong Kong using experimental techniques to combine sonic arts with Shakuhachi music composition, so as to explore the infinite possibilities of Shakuhachi music in Chinese culture.
Our Mission :
1. To bring together Shakuhachi enthusiasts; to actively promote the development the art of
Shakuhachi; publicize it via full range of arketing schemes such as music forums,
competitions, workshops, performances etc.
2. To introduce the best of Shakuhachi traditional folk music as well as contemporary
composition to the general public; widen the awareness of Hong Kong people to Shakuhachi
music; enrich the quality of life for people in society.
3. To plan and develop working opportunities with foreign Shakuhachi organisations/
associations; broaden international exchange experiences; to raise artistic standards.
Shakuhachi was originally derived from the Chinese xiao in the 8th century.The Shakuhachi is an end blown bamboo flute with four holes on the front and one on the back. The standard length of 1.8 Japanese feet (54.5 cm) is found in the name of the instrument -shaku-foot and hachi-eight.
Basic facts about shakuhachi
The shakuhachi is the end-blown Japanese bamboo flute. Its' distinctive timbre or tone colour immediately reminds one of Japan and conjurs up images of samurai and geisha. The shakuhachi is often the bamboo flute sound used for fight scenes in kung-fu and action movies.
Shaku (尺) is the old Japanese measurement for foot and hachi(八) is the word for eight. The word shakuhachi therefore means 'one point eight feet', the length of the standard shakuhachi. It contains four holes on top and one for the thumb underneath. Shakuhachi makers use the root of the bamboo as a natural bell. The bamboo darkens as it matures. There are many lengths of shakuhachi apart from the standard 1.8 feet. They typically range from the tiny 1.3 to the long 3.6.
The roots of the shakuhachi date back to ancient China. There are historical records of the shakuhachi being used in Buddhist ceremonies from the eight century. However, it was during the Edo Period (1603-1868) that the shakuhachi established itself. It was played by travelling Zen monks called komusō (虚無僧). These were former samurai or rōnin (浪人). There are some accounts that say that these monks were spys and used the shakuhachi as a weapon when they encountered former enemies. The komusō wore a straw basket called tengai (天蓋) on their heads to distance themselves from the world of reality.
Shakuhachi players blow across the top of the instruments to get a sound. The breathing and blowing is similar to the western flute which is held horizontally. There is an insert at the top called the utaguchi (歌口) or song mouth. Shakuhachi players have to leave some holes partially open to get all the notes they need. This is accompanied by lowering and lifting the head in a technique called meri-kari (メリカリ). The head is also used to create vibrato or yuri (ユリ).