Four types of literature
SURVEY OF THE LITERATURE
In the previous chapter, the insider/outsider paradigm was discussed and defined in the context of the shakuhachi tradition. Four main types of literature can be delineated by applying the insider/outsider criteria to a discussion of the tradition, and by examining the role of various types of writing in reference to the question of transmission. Dividing the literature into four categories based upon the insider/outsider criteria facilitates the discussion of their relevances to the theme of transmission in a number of ways (see below). The four types are: 1)literature written by insiders to the tradition for other insiders to the tradition; 2)literature written by insiders to the tradition, but addressed to people who do not belong to the tradition; 3)literature written by outsiders to the tradition aimed primarily at insiders to the tradition; and 4)literature written by outsiders to the tradition for other outsiders. In adopting the four categories I am not unaware of the problematics of defining insider and outsider. These have been addressed in chapter one.
The first three categories are comprised of literature that is directly implicated in the transmission of the shakuhachi tradition. The first type, literature written by insiders to the tradition for other insiders to the tradition, serves primarily to define aspects of the tradition for its members and strengthen their sense of ‘membership’ and thus the tradition itself. Examples of this type are musical scores written in notation specific to the shakuhachi, some types of primary historical sources, limited edition publications and certain kinds of scholarly publications (see pp.27–44).
The second type of literature, that written by insiders but addressed to people who do not belong to the tradition, functions to increase the number of persons who belong to the tradition and to improve the image held by the general public of the tradition and its members. Literature that is directed in any way to outsider readers will be included in this type, even if it is mostly read by insiders. Examples of the second category are some types of books and publications, most scholarly publications, beginner manuals, descriptive notes included in commercial recordings and concert programme notes (see below, pp.44–55).
The third type of literature, written by outsiders but primarily aimed at a readership who are insiders to the tradition, serves to help establish, and more importantly, broaden the scope of the tradition as well as the sense of identity held by its members. Examples of this category include many modern compositions for the shakuhachi and government documents (see pp.56–58).
The fourth category, namely literature written by outsiders to the tradition for other outsiders is the smallest of the four categories. It is nevertheless useful in the study of the transmission of the tradition since literature of this type indicates how the tradition is viewed by outsiders, that is, literate members of the society in which the shakuhachi tradition exists. This type frequently offers data on the tradition not found in literature of the other three categories. Examples of this type are certain historical sources and some scholarly publications (see below, pp.58–59).
Finally, it must be understood that not all of the literature on the shakuhachi falls strictly into a single category. Much of the literature is read by both ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ to the tradition. For example, many of the critical reviews written by music critics and published in newspapers and magazines have a readership that represents every degree of ‘insiderness’ and ‘outsiderness’. In this study, the classifications given to individual items of shakuhachi literature are generalizations based on the readership to which the writer is primarily addressing him/herself. For an intended readership to be considered insiders, it must consist entirely of insiders. For example, by definition scholarly publications are intended to be read by scholars, who may be insiders to the world of scholarship but are not insiders to the shakuhachi tradition. Even though some scholarly publications on the shakuhachi might be read primarily by insiders, they still belong to the second type of literature.
The following survey of shakuhachi literature, divided into the above four categories, is not meant to be an exhaustive and comprehensive list. Rather it is intended to give a general idea of what kinds of literature exist, as well as provide from each type of literature specific examples that are of particular interest.
Included in the first type of literature are musical scores written in shakuhachi notation, historical written documents such as Kyotaku denki kokuji kai (虚宅伝記国字解), limited edition publications by members of the shakuhachi tradition, periodicals and possibly certain articles in publications. Literature whose intended readership encompasses outsiders as well as insiders, even if the actual readership may be almost exclusively insiders, is not included in this type.
The most common example of the first type of literature, that written by members of the shakuhachi tradition for other members, is the musical score written in shakuhachi notation. As will be discussed in chapter five (p.210), there are numerous notation systems for the instrument, all of which are believed to have been in common use for no more than 200 years. The scores are written by shakuhachi players for other shakuhachi players. Shakuhachi scores, though written for insiders by insiders, perform a number of distinct functions within the tradition, as follows.
First of all, almost all scores of traditional shakuhachi honkyoku do not share the prescriptive and/or descriptive functions typical of music scores used in other Japanese music traditions, including those of other shakuhachi music genres.1 For the most part, shakuhachi notation systems, especially in the case of the classical honkyoku, are very skeletal and are neither prescriptive nor descriptive (see Lee 1988, 1991). This is to be expected in a primarily oral tradition. Because of this, ‘authentic’ realizations of historical scores, that is, performances of the pieces that correspond to performances at the time of composition, are impossible.2 That is to say, it is highly unlikely that a performance today of a honkyoku based upon the interpretation of a shakuhachi score will ever reproduce performances of the piece as they were realized at the time of their notation, regardless of how informed the interpretation might be.
Shakuhachi notation systems function primarily as memory devices that aid in the learning and subsequent performance of the honkyoku. Both standardized published scores and non-standard manuscripts function in this way. The major shakuhachi ryû all use printed (and consequently standardized) scores today and have done so since the turn of this century. At the same time, there has always been, and still is, a large part of the shakuhachi tradition in which written notation does not and never has played an important role in the process of transmission (see below, p.231).
The most prominent examples of standardized published scores of koten honkyoku are those of the Kinko ryû, which usually number thirty-six pieces. Of the four major publishers of Kinko style shakuhachi music, Chikuyûsha (竹友社), Kinko shuppansha (琴古出版社), Chikumeisha (竹盟社) and Dômonkai (童門会), only the latter three publish honkyoku; the first publishes only gaikyoku. The largest of the four groups, Chikuyûsha, publishes the notation of the Kawase Junsuke (川瀬順輔) lineage. Chikuho ryû publishes scores of sixty koten honkyoku, the largest number of any ryû, but very few shakuhachi players perform Chikuho honkyoku, compared with the large number of Kinko performers. There are also published scores of the Myoan taizan lineage. Of the four published scores mentioned above, Kinko scores are generally the most detailed and consequently result in the most standardized transmission of the pieces. Chikuho ryû scores are fairly standardized, but are much less detailed than the Kinko scores, and retain many inconsistancies (see Lee 1991:27-33). The Myôan taizan scores are the most skeletal in form of the three groups of published scores.3
In many cases, notation used in the transmission of honkyoku is not in the form of standardized, printed scores. The student may be left by the teacher to notate the piece for himself as he learns it. Yamaue writes of his habitual practice of notating what he had learned of a new piece on lesson day while on the train returning home from his lesson (Yamaue 1986:4). Figure 14 shows an example of Yamaue’s notation. Students might also rely on scores which have been written out previously by other students. This is a common occurrence amongst the students of Yokoyama, the majority of whom rely on notation written by Furuya, one of Yokoyama’s most senior students (see figure 2). When Yokoyama began teaching me a new piece, he would frequently give me a photocopy of a score written by Furuya, but would qualify its use by saying that it contained some errors. Such imperfect scores are nonetheless sufficient to help learn and remember the piece.
A number of systems of shakuhachi notation and/or scores written in shakuhachi notation serve other completely non-musical functions. One such non-musical function is that of certifying transmission of the piece. Once a teacher deems that a person has learned a piece (without the use of notation) and can perform it correctly, he will write out the score of the piece, and present it to the student. Scores in this case function as a symbol of the accomplishemt of the transmission of the honkyoku. The score certifies that the student now possesses the piece.
An example of this can be seen in a score for the well-known piece “Shika no tône” (鹿の遠音, “Distant call of the deer”), written in Japanese black and red ink by Araki Kodô II (荒木古童) in May, 1853 (figure 3). This original score is typical of scores of that time. It is in the collection of the San’in Shakuhachi Dôjyo (山陰尺八道場), which belonged to the late Kowata Suigetsu (小幡水月).
The name Hirose Mochiku (廣瀬茂竹), for whom the score was written, appears at the very left hand side, that is, the very end of the score. The name Araki Kodô II (荒木古童) is found immediately to the right and below Mochiku’s name (figure three, no.1). Mochiku was a shakuhachi player from Izumo, a student of Kondô Sôetsu (近藤宗悦), the founder of the Kansai Sôetsu ryû (関西宗悦流), which, interestingly was not known for honkyoku, but rather for its repertoire of gaikyoku (外曲, ensemble pieces typically for koto, shamisen, voice and shakuhachi). This particular score was written by Kodô II in May in the year Kaei 6 (1853) (figure three, no.2).
The musical notation takes up only one-half of the sheet of paper on which it is written (figure three, no.3). The second half documents the transmission of the piece from Kodô to Mochiku (figure three, no.4). The complete text is as follows:
Izumo no Mochiku nushi kotahi kono chi ni
[tamahi] waga bôoku wo tatsune honkyoku wo
koharuru yue ni
yômo mata gaikyoku wo kofu to tomo ni sono
tahenaru wo kanshi kono kata no ôhi
Shika no tône to iheru kyoku wo tsutahe yufu
Tôkyô shakuhachi shinan
ni dai me
Kaei mutsu no toshi
Mizunoto ushi go gatsu
Hirose Mochiku Gakun
On this occasion, Mr. Mochiku of Izumo, making a walking tour to each district, visited my humble abode in this district [Edo]. He asked of me [to play] a honkyoku, and so at that point I also requested of him [to play] a gaikyoku. I felt that the performance of that piece was superior beyond words. And so I transmitted, to its completion, a secret piece from this side [Kinko ryû], a piece called ‘Shika no Tône’.
Tôkyô Shakuhachi Instructor
In the Year Kaei 6 
10th Calendar Sign, Fifth Month of the Cow
Hirose Mochiku, Esquire
(translation by Lee)
The score certifies that Mochiku went to Tokyo, where he taught Kodô a gaikyoku and,in exchange for these pieces, was taught the ‘secret’ piece “Shika no Tône” by Kodô. It is interesting that this exchange occurred despite their belonging to two different and, in a sense competing, sects.
As noted above (p.28), an ‘authentic’ historical reading of the score is virtually impossible. A musical interpretation of the notation based upon careful research, though quite problematic, is possible. The ‘Syakuhati kenkyûkai’ (尺八研究会) presented one interpretation of Kodô’s “Shika no tône” notation in 1990, at the 4th Symposium of the International Musicological Society5. Kodô’s score was realized in the following way. First of all, the piece was performed on instruments made at around the same time as the score. Major differences between the construction of such historical instruments and modern instruments result in major differences in sound (see p.278), and in the manner in which the instruments are played (Syakuhati kenkyûkai 1991:642). Secondly, comparisions made between the score in question and five other scores of the piece, written between 1826 and 1929 led to conclusions as to which phrase was performed by which of the two performers. Finally, conclusions as to which pitches would be produced were made in light of the nature of the historical instruments, and in consultation of old documents about fingerings, such as Shakuhachi hikki (尺八筆記, Notes on the shakuhachi).6 The resultant performance was not intended to be an ‘authentic’ performance, but rather a musically plausible realization based upon what information is available today on the performance practices of the time.
What is important to note here is that Kodô’s score was written after Kodô had transmitted the piece to his satisfaction to Mochiku, that is, it is a certificate of transmission. The sheet of Japanese paper with its black and red brush strokes materially symbolizes the ability to perform the piece, just as the written characters of the score symbolize the various series of musical events that make up that piece.
Many honkyoku scores have a political function in that they establish or enhance the authority of a particular teacher or lineage. Though the primary function of published shakuhachi scores is that of a mnemonic device (see above, p.28), all published scores also function politically by standardizing and disseminating the performance style of the publisher at a rate and degree far exceeding non-published scores.
A specific example of the political function of honkyoku scores can be seen in the case of Sakai Shôdô. Shôdô took over the position of head (iemoto) of Chikuho ryû from his eldest brother, Chikuho II in 1985 in the following sudden and controversial manner. In 1981, Chikuho II fell ill, which forced his then 88 year old father, Chikuho I, out of retirement. Immediately after Chikuho I’s death in October 1984, Shôdô announced that in accordance to his father’s last wishes, he had become the third iemoto of Chikuho ryû. Chikuho II was too ill at the time to voice an opinion. A number of senior members of the school who claimed to be present at the time, disputed Shôdô’s interpretation of his father’s last wishes. Soon after Shôdô became iemoto, most of the former students of Chikuho I and Chikuho II, that is, nearly all of the senior members of the school, either quit or were expelled. A majority of these members regrouped in 1986 to form a new school of shakuhachi, called ‘Myôan Shakuhachi Dôyûkai’ (明暗尺八道友会, Organization of Friends of the Way of the Myôan Shakuhachi) (Lee 1986:82-85).7
Shôdô prefers to use the scores written by one of his teachers, Jin Nyodô (who did not belong to Chikuho ryû) when performing and teaching honkyoku, even when there are scores of the same pieces written in the notation system of his own school, Chikuho ryû. The scores in Chikuho notation, which are published by Chikuho ryû were, however, written by Chikuho II. Shôdô questions the authenticity of these scores and asserts that they reflect to an unacceptable degree the editorial and artistic idiosyncrasies of Chikuho II, who wrote them while he was iemoto. According to Shôdô, because they do not adequately represent the pieces as originally taught by Jin, he was forced to make the rather drastic decision of using Jin’s notation instead of the published scores of his own school.
Simura has suggested that Shôdô’s decision may have been more politically than artistically motivated. If Shôdô’s performances of honkyoku become recognized as being authentic, while his predecessor’s versions are thought of as impure transmissions, his authority as iemoto will increase (Simura OC1989). As described elsewhere (Lee 1986:82-86), many members of the school felt that at the time of his becoming iemoto, Shôdô lacked authority. Figure 4 compares part of a Chikuho score with the corresponding Jin notation used by Shôdô.
There are a few exceptional honkyoku scores which are intended to function as prescriptive learning devices. These scores are usually handwritten transnotations of scores of pieces not found in the repertoire of the writer’s lineage. Such scores are written in a notation system different from that of the scribe, and are used in an attempt to learn a honkyoku without being taught by a teacher. Since the advent of the cassette tape, this type of score is usually used in tandem with one or more recordings of the piece as performed by one or more members of the lineage from which the piece originated.
Frequently, scores on which the transnotations are based are standardized versions printed and published by a ryû, themselves most likely derived from earlier handwritten scores. The printed notations are converted once again in manuscript form but in a different notation system. In the case of Tozan ryû, such manuscripts have frequently gone the full circle of standardization by being published (privately) in a Tozan transnotation format. The demand for such transnotations is high due to the complete lack of classical honkyoku in the Tozan ryû repertoire. For comparison, figure 5 presents the same part of two published scores of the honkyoku “Kyûshû reibo”, in the original Myôan notation system, and then as transnotated into the Tozan notation system. The process described above is one way in which numerous variations and changes occur in honkyoku scores.
It is not unusual to find the existence of numerous and inconsistent manuscript scores for a single koten honkyoku. The scores typically vary in content, notation system, function and date of creation. Manuscript scores of koten honkyoku are not limited to historical documents. They continue to be written and used today, and contribute to the variation and change that has always occurred in much of the honkyoku repertoire. An example of this is the case of the piece “Reibo”, upon which this thesis focuses (see chapter four).
Recently, a number of collections of honkyoku scores have been published in book form by shakuhachi enthusiasts or organizations. These collections feature facsimiles of hand written scores of pieces either of a single lineage (for example, the collected scores of the Kimpû ryû honkyoku) (Uchiyama 1989), or of one individual (for example, that of Yamaue Getsuzan) (1982). Included in some of these collections are personal histories, anecdotes, photo charts, genealogy charts and in at least one case (Uchiyama 1989), fairly detailed explanations of the scores. The form that these explanations take is explored in chapter five.
Music scores in shakuhachi-specific notation are by no means the only written sources of the first type of literature, that is sources written for insiders by insiders. Kyotaku denki kokujikai (虚鐸伝記国字解, The legend of the empty bell translated and interpreted in Japanese), written in 1795 by Yamamoto Morihide (山本守秀), is a document of primary importance to the shakuhachi tradition and is one of the earliest examples of this kind of literature. This book contains what is claimed to be a copy of a 13th century Chinese book entitled Kyotaku Denki (虚鐸伝記, The legend of the empty bell), in which the origins of the shakuhachi tradition and its founding and patron saints are described,8 and an annotated translation into Japanese, in which the or Though its description of the genesis of the tradition has been proved fictition rather than fact by Nakatsuka Chikusen (中塚竹禅 1887-1944) (1979), it is the single most influential work in the literature in defining the identity of almost all shakuhachi honkyoku players.
The document is divided into two sections. The first section, written in kanbun (漢文, Chinese script), describes the beginnings of a shakuhachi-playing Zen Buddhist sect in China in the 9th century and the subsequent introduction of the shakuhachi into Japan three centuries later by the historical figure Kakushin Hattô Zenji (覚心法燈禅師, also known by the honourary title Hattô or Hottô Enmyô Kokushi 法灯円明国師). Hottô founded the temple Saihôji 西方寺 (present day Kôkokuji 興国事 in Kyôto) in 1254, which still houses numerous documents and writings by or about him.
The second section, written in 18th century Japanese, is a commentary on the first section of the document. It briefly describes the history of the Fuke sect (the Edo period Zen Buddhist sect which had shakuhachi as the focal point of its spiritual practices) in Japan and the state of its affairs at the time of writing.
Nakatsuka, a student of Kawase Junsuke I (川瀬順助) and thus a member of a major branch of Kinko ryû, sought to find a factual basis for the legend of the origins of the shakuhachi and the Fuke sect as presented in Kyotaku denki kokuji kai.
After an exhaustive search through Hottô Zenji’s writings, which did not turn up a single mention of the shakuhachi or the Fuke sect, Nakatsuka began to question other parts of Kyotaku denki. Further research by Nakatsuka led him to conclude that there was no factual basis for the first section of the document. Nakatsuka was said to have died before completing his research. But in 1989, a cache of his writings which had not been previously published was found. These writings were presented to the son of Nakatsuka’s shakuhachi teacher, Kawase Junsuke II, who has in turn allowed the ethnomusicologist Kamisangô to examine them (Kamisangô 1988:40-43)). The contents of these papers have not yet been made public.
In addition to presenting a legendary account of the origins of the honkyoku tradition, Kyotaku denki kokuji kai also includes lists of temples of komusô9 in existence at the time it was written, and commentaries on various pieces performed by the komusô of the day. It is thus a valuable primary source not only for its presentation of what is now believed to be the legend of the origins of the honkyoku tradition, but also for the insight it gives into the world of the komusô during the mid-Edo period.
Another document similar to Kyotaku denki kokujikai is Keichô no okitegaki (慶長掟書, Written decree of the Keichô era) (see p.115). This document sets out the purposes and privileges of the newly formed Fuke sect and, like Kyotaku denki, is of great historical significance. As with Kyotaku denki, the original does not exist, and in all likelihood, there never was an ‘original’ (Kurihara 1918:144-151). False claims were also made as to its date of composition (1612) and its author (Ieyasu). This document will be discussed more fully in chapter three (pp.115–122)
The unreliability of documents such as Kyotaku denki kokujikai as historical sources, and the origin legends on which they are based can be seen not only in the case of the shakuhachi, but in other Japanese music traditions as well. Three examples of traditions with similar written sources containing myth origins are the guilds of blind musicians, tôdô-za (当道座), goze (瞽女) and môsô biwa (盲僧琵琶) (Fritch 1991:147-152). As Fritch has pointed out, despite their unreliability in documenting historical events, these types of sources have functioned well as a method by which the members of the music traditions bolster their sense of self-confidence. They also served to lessen the adverse effects of a society at large that was frequently hostile to or exploitative of the guilds. Forgeries like Keichô no okitegaki and Kyotaku denki are not limited only to Japanese music traditions, but occurred throughout Japanese society. Examples of forgeries in other areas of Japanese society, such as commerce, are described in the aptly named article, “Forging the Past; Medieval Counterfeit Documents” (Tonomura 1985:69-96).
Representative of other historical sources that belong to the first type of literature, and perhaps the symbolically most significant of such documents, are the three documents or ‘seals’ of the ‘Sangu san’in’ (三具三印, ‘Three tools, three seals’). ‘Sangu san’in’ were presented to a person who had officially attained komusô status (see chapter 3, p.122). The most important of the ‘three seals’ is the Honsoku juyo (本則授与, “Conferment of the original rules”), which states the tenets of the Fuke sect and certifies that the bearer is officially a komusô. The other two documents or seals of the komusô are the kaiin (会印, an identity card, renewable every six months) and the tsûin (通印, a pass). The latter allowed the bearer to travel freely throughout the country. This privilege, first stated in Keichô no okitegaki (see above), was unique in what was then a country with severe travel restrictions (see Sanson 1931:448 and 1963:105). In general, travel was discouraged both by the lords of individual fiefs as well as by the Shogunate in Edo. The travel restrictions applied to all strata of society.
This type of literature also includes the many directives issued to the rank and file komusô by the three head temples of the Fuke sect (Ichigetsuji 一月寺; Reihôji 鈴法寺; and Myôanji 明暗寺). In 1694 the Fuke temple in Kyôto, Myôanji, issued the document Honsoku deshi e moshi watasu sadame (本則弟子へ申渡定, Declaration of rules for disciples). Around the same time, Myôanji also issued the document Kakun sanjûsanka jô (家訓三十三ケ条, Thirty-three rules of the house). According to Kamisangô (1974:18), these documents indirectly indicate that as early as the late 17th century, the Fuke sect acknowledged the fact that shakuhachi were performed by commoners. They also indicated that the professed spiritual intentions of the members of the Fuke sect sometimes differed from their real, more musical intentions (see chapter three, p.142). Other such documents issued by the administration of the Fuke sect to its members can be found in such sources as the Komusô shiryô shûhôzan kôkokuji myôanji kankei bunshû (虚無僧史料驚峰山興国寺明暗寺関係文集, Komusô historical documents; collected works concerning the Myôan temple of the Shûhôzan Kôkoku temple)10 (Iwai 1983) and Nakatsuka’s Kinko Shakuhachi Shikan (1979).
The above discussion covers the most important historical written sources that were authored by insiders to the shakuhachi tradition for a readership of insiders.
A number of books on the shakuhachi could be included in either the first or third type of literature. Though possibly written for both members and non-members of the tradition, in practice most of these books are published in limited editions and are of interest primarily to a select group of shakuhachi ‘insiders’. They usually include, moreover, jargon and technical descriptions exclusive to the shakuhachi tradition, as well as descriptions of pieces and people which assume insider knowledge on the part of the reader. These books will therefore be treated as belonging to the first type of literature, written by and for insiders.
Examples of these books are the biography of Tani Muchiku (Inagaki 1985); 普化宗史、その尺八奏法の楽理 (Fukeshûshi, sono shakuhachi sôhô no gakuri, A History of the Fuke Sect; Theories of the Playing Methods of the Shakuhachi (Takahashi 1979); and a book on the Myoan shakuhachi (Tominomori 1979). Other books and sources of this nature have been written by Inagaki (1976); Inagaki/Izui/Takahashi(1981); Izui/Takahashi (1984); Takahashi (1971); Toya (1984); Ishibashi/ Kanda (1981); Tomimori (1975, 1979, n.d.); and Uchiyama (1989).
Much of this type of literature is anecdotal or is based on the personal opinion of the author or the official line of a particular school or lineage and/or on popular legends. One of the primary roles of these books is to attempt to define the tradition. Written primarily by members of the shakuhachi tradition, they sometimes show the preconceptions of the authors, i.e., that a particular lineage, school or teacher is, for certain historical reasons, superior or inferior to others. Examples of this are found in books about Uramoto Setcho (浦本浙潮) (Inagaki, ed. 1985) and Takahashi Kûzan (高橋空山) (1979). The shakuhachi player Konashi Kinsui (小梨錦水) is credited by Uramoto with a highly authoritative lineage, while Takahashi, who represents a different lineage, asserts that Konashi has little if any authority at all. A detailed discussion of this is presented in chapter four (pp.185–187).
Sources of this type may be of limited use as historical sources, due to the strong personal bias of the author. On the other hand, personal bias can also be viewed as a strength insofar as it provides insiders’ views of the tradition. Furthermore, these sources are frequently the only information on certain aspects of the tradition. Documents of this type are, for example, the main sources for the shakuhachi tradition between the Meiji era and the 1960s.
Other examples of the first type of literature are periodicals published solely for members of the shakuhachi tradition. These include Ichi on jo butsu (一音成仏, One sound, Buddhahood), published by 虚無僧研究会 (Komusô kenkyû kai, Komusô Research Organization) since 1981 and ten issues of Shakuhachi hyôron (尺八評 論, Shakuhachi Review), published biannually by 尺八評論同人会 (Shakuhachi hyôron dôjin kai, Fraternity of shakuhachi reviewers) from 1982 until 1990.
Newsletters of individual ryû are also regularly published. For example, a newsletter for members of Chikuho ryu, Chikuho ryû shakuhachi gaku hô (竹保流尺八楽報, Report on the shakuhachi music of Chikuho ryû) was published from 1929 until at least 1985, with a total of 103 issues. Chikushinkai (竹心会, Soul of the bamboo organization), the organization of Yokoyama’s students, has periodically published a newsletter since 1986. The newsletter, originally of the same name as the organization, was changed in 1988 to Chikuin (竹韻, Bamboo poetry). The many such publications of this type are usually distributed only to members of the organizations which publish them.
There are also a few examples of periodicals in English by and for shakuhachi players. The most prominent of these are Take no Michi (竹の道, “The way of bamboo”, 1979-1981), the British Shakuhachi Society Newsletter (1983-1984), the International Shakuhachi Society Annals (1990) and Chikuho Ryu, Hawaii Newsletter (Lee, ed.1981-1986; Herr, ed. 1986-1992), the most long-lived of these publications.
A number of periodicals publish articles written by members of the shakuhachi tradition for a readership of shakuhachi players which also contain articles about other instruments. Articles in these periodicals generally are written for outsiders as well as insiders to the shakuhachi tradition. Even the articles which seem to be written specifically for shakuhachi players, such as discussions of playing techniques or interpretations of pieces for the shakuhachi, are actually written for both insiders and outsiders, insofar as these articles are written for a readership which includes firstly the editor of the periodical, usually an outsider to the shakuhachi tradition, and secondly readers of the periodicals which are also not members of the shakuhachi tradition. Such periodicals will be classified as literature of the second type, and will be discussed in detail below.
One of the earliest examples of this type of periodical is Sankyoku (三曲, literally ‘Pieces for three’, the term for the popular chamber music genre composed for the shamisen, koto, shakuhachi and voice), published between 1921 and 1944. The periodicals Nihon ongaku (日本音楽, Japanese Music), Kikan hôgaku (季刊邦楽, Traditional Japanese Music Quarterly) and Hôgaku (邦楽, Traditional Japanese music) are other examples of this type of literature.
The second type of literature, authored by insiders to the shakuhachi tradition for a readership which includes outsiders, is the largest of the four types. This type of literature plays an especially important role in the transmission of the tradition, particularly as a means of creating and/or projecting a sense of identity and for attracting adherents to the tradition. The tradition thus in part defines itself by describing itself to the outside. Literature belonging to the second type of literature includes historical documents, books and other publications, scholarly publications, articles in periodicals, beginner manuals, descriptive notes included in commercially released recordings and concert program notes.
A number of Edo period documents were written by the adminstrators of Ichigetsuji and Reihôji, the head temples of the Fuke sect, and were addressed to the Edo government. As such they belong to this type of literature. They were frequently answers to official queries from the government (see pp.57–58), or petitions to the government. For example, in one such petition, Ichigetsuji protested the arrest of one of its member komusô named Yûga (友鵞). The petition resulted in the famous Sengoku sôdô (仙石騒動, ‘Sengoku Disturbance’) trial, in which the special legal status of the komusô was upheld. The person responsible for the arrest was beheaded. (Mikami 1902:63-66).
An early example of published books of this type is Kurihara Kôta’s (栗原広太) Shakuhachi shikô (尺八史考, An Historical consideration of the shakuhachi). This book, originally published in 1918, is the first comprehensive history of the instrument. Based upon meticulous research and quoting from extensive historical primary sources, Shakuhachi shikô was reprinted in 1975. A more recent example of literature of this type is Shakuhachi no rekishi (尺八の歴史, A History of the shakuhachi) by Ueno Katami (上野堅實) written in 1983. Although both books are widely read by insiders to the shakuhachi tradition, they present the history of the shakuhachi in terms that can be understood by the outsider.
Possibly the first book by a shakuhachi player about the shakuhachi that was written especially for the general public and published by a major publishing house is Shakuhachi gaku no miryoku (尺八楽の魅力, The Fascination of Shakuhachi Music), written by Yokoyama Katsuya (横山勝也)11 in 1986. Writing largely about his own experiences as a professional shakuhachi performer, Yokoyama wrote this book partly as a result of the popularity of a number of magazine and newspaper articles that he had written, including a series entitled “Take no oto kara” (竹の音から, “From the Sound of Bamboo”), which was published from at least 1988 until 1990, in the Nihon keizai shinbun (日本経済新聞, Japan Financial Newspaper), one of Japan’s major newspapers (Yokoyama 1988-1990). These and other articles, together with the book Shakuhachi gaku no miryoku, probably makes Yokoyama the most widely published insider writing about the shakuhachi.
Mention should be made here of the two books by Nishiyama (1982a, 1982b). Though the books are about the iemoto or the Japanese music guild system in general, both contain sections specifically about the shakuhachi tradition as it relates to the iemoto system.
In this thesis, all scholarly publications are considered as being written for outsiders to the tradition. By definition, scholarly writing is addressed to other scholars, who are insiders to their particular field, in this case musicology, but who are, for the most part, not insiders to the shakuhachi tradition. Certain authors of scholarly articles, theses and other publications written in Japanese might, however, be considered insiders to the shakuhachi tradition; since these scholars are particularly prolific in their publications on the shakuhachi tradition, they are considered by both members of the shakuhachi tradition and themselves to be ‘insiders’ whose activities have had a significant role in the tradition. The most prolific of these authors are Tukitani and Kamisangô. On the other hand, until recently, scholarly articles and publications written in English were less likely to be of this type because of the author’s lack of active participation and recognition within the shakuhachi tradition.
Although early examples of scholarly publications written in Japanese about the shakuhachi do exist, for example, Mikami’s article on the Fuke sect (1902), it was in fact not until the late 1960s that the shakuhachi was deemed a worthy subject of research by Japan’s community of musicologists. Moreover, musicology in general (including the study of European art music) has only recently become an acceptable area of study in Japan. As of 1990, Osaka University was the only major university (in contrast to universities of fine arts or music colleges, the Japanese equivalents of music conservatories) in Japan that had a chair or professorship in musicology. All other universities which offer courses on musicology rely on the expertise of visiting or part-time teachers, who are frequently from nearby fine arts universities or music conservatories.
With musicology being relegated to a comparatively low level of importance in Japanese universities, the study of Japanese music, or hôgaku (邦楽), has been afforded an even lower status, and is considered merely a specialized area within the domain of ethnomusicology, which in itself is a sub-branch of musicology. Furthermore, with certain exceptions such as Kamisangô and Tukitani, very few hôgaku specialists have concentrated upon the study of the shakuhachi. Indicative of the low regard most Japanese scholars have had for the shakuhachi is the contents of the book Nihon ongaku no rekishi (日本音楽の歴史, The History of Japanese Music) (Kikkawa 1965). In this five hundred and twelve page volume, only one short (six page) section is devoted to the hitoyogiri (一節切, an obsolete type of shakuhachi), and less than ten brief references (each little more than a sentence or two) are devoted to all aspects of the shakuhachi. In contrast, numerous sections in many of the chronologically divided chapters are devoted to the koto and the shamisen.
Another indication of the quantity of shakuhachi research being undertaken in Japan is the Ongakubunken yoshi mokuroku (音楽文献要旨目録, Annotated bibliography of music literature in Japan, published by the RILM National Committee of Japan). Between the years 1975 and 1989, (excluding 1977 and 1979), twelve volumes of the bibliography totaling 766 pages were published. Of these, 203 pages are devoted to Japanese music, which is divided into sixteen categories. The shakuhachi shares a category with sôkyoku (箏曲), jiuta (地歌), kingaku (琴楽) and minshingaku (明清楽). A total of 1,860 publications are listed under the sixteen Japanese music categories in the twelve volumes. Only 49 listings pertain to the shakuhachi.
The most prolific authors of scholarly publications on the shakuhachi as found in the Ongakubunken yo-shi mokuroku from 1976 until 1989 are Tukitani, Kamisangô and Iwata. For a more complete listing, please refer to the bibliography of this thesis. Among the authors of the shakuhachi listings in this important musicology bibliography are entries written by performers (e.g., Kawase and Kitahara), amateur shakuhachi enthusiasts or collectors such as Inagaki, graduate students (e.g., Tatsumi and Yukino) and scholars, such as Kikkawa, who are not insiders to the shakuhachi tradition as defined in this study.
There are in fact only a few Japanese ethnomusicologists whose specialty is the shakuhachi. As mentioned above, the two most frequently cited names are Tukitani Tuneko and Kamisangô Yûkô. Of these, Tukitani is by far more prolific. Since writing her M.A. thesis on the shakuhachi, Tukitani has written nearly twenty articles. English translations of articles by her are to be published in the British journal Contemporary Music Review (Tukitani et al., 1991). Furthermore, unlike most shakuhachi scholars, Tukitani has dealt with the shakuhachi tradition as a whole rather than concentrating on a single lineage, music genre, or other aspect of the tradition.
Some of the scholarly articles and theses on the shakuhachi written in languages other than Japanese are also examples of this type of literature. Most authors of non-Japanese literature on the shakuhachi written before the mid-1970s (e.g., Malm 1959, Harich-Schneider 1973) were not insiders to the tradition. Not surprisingly, these sources contain numerous errors.
It is appropriate to elaborate on examples of these errors here because of the singular place both Malm’s and Harich-Schneider’s books have in both public and reference libraries throughout the English speaking world, as the sole general resources attempting to cover all of Japanese music and all of the history of Japanese music respectively. Malm’s book in particular is usually the initial and frequently the only source referred to by a beginning student of any genre of Japanese music.
An example of such errors which occur in writing about the shakuhachi is a chart for notation symbols belonging to, according to Malm, “the three major schools”, which he lists as Meian (明暗) [also read Myôan], Kinko and Tozan (Malm 1959:270-271). In fact, these are names for three completely different entities. The first, Meian, a term given a variety of meanings, usually refers to the style of honkyoku performance more closely associated with the Kyôto and other ‘country’ districts than with the Edo district. The second term, Kinko, denotes a number of ‘schools’ which are completely separate organizations but partly share a common lineage back to a single founder. Only the third, Tozan, correctly identifies a single ‘school’ in terms of a hierarchical organization.
There is an organization which is known as the Meian Taizan ‘school’, which is classified under the broader Meian style mentioned above. Malm confuses the issue, however, by giving as the notation system for the Meian school an old notation system (the fu-ho-u system) used today (and in the 1950s) by only a few individuals and groups within the Meian style12. The Meian Taizan lineage uses a system similar to that of the Tozan ryû. The final complication occurs where Malm incorrectly gives the Meian symbol for the second finger hole position as ロ(ro) rather than ホ (ho). The conspicuousness of this error is made apparent with the name of this notation system, called the fu, ho, u system after the symbols for the first three finger holes. Another similarly transparent, though less serious error is the reference to the book, Gosenfu kara shakuhachifu no torikata (五線譜から尺八譜のとり方) (Tanaka Inzan 1956). Malm states that the book “explains how to transcribe shakuhachi notation into Western script” (1959:284), yet the title of the book clearly translates as: A Method of Obtaining Shakuhachi Notation from Staff Notation, not the other way around.13
Other authors, including those writing after the mid-1970s (e.g., Berger 1969, Keeling 1975, Kudo 1977, Stanfield 1977, Tsuge (1977, 1982, 1983), Weisgarber 1968), participated in the shakuhachi tradition only temporarily and could be considered insiders only during their brief period of participation.
Articles in English which belong to this type of literature, insofar as the authors are insiders to the tradition, have been written by Blasdel (1981, 1984a, 1984b, 1988), Fritch (1978, 1979, 1983), Gutzwiller (1974, 1983, 1984, 1991), Lee (1974, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992) and Howard (1991, 1992a, 1992b). English translations of articles on the shakuhachi in general and the honkyoku in particular, written in Japanese by Tukitani, Simura and Seyama (Tukitani, et al., ed. 1991), are soon to be published in the well-known British periodical, Contemporary Music Review. A major monograph written in German was published in 1983 (Gutzwiller 1983).
Two authors recently writing in English are Howard (1991, 1992a, 1992b) and Takahashi (1990). Howard makes use of his experience as a Zen Buddhist practitioner in articles about the connection between the honkyoku tradition and Zen. Takahashi, in his Ph.D. dissertation, presents major contributions to the literature available in English on the shakuhachi, particularly its history. Though his primary interest is in the Tozan ryû (which has no classical honkyoku in its repertoire), Takahashi does discuss and analyze a few honkyoku.
Finally, mention should be made of the numerous entries on shakuhachi in the two major reference works in Japanese on traditional Japanese music, Hôgaku hyakka jiten (邦楽百科辞典, Encyclopedia of traditional Japanese music, Kikkawa, ed. 1984) and Nihon ongaku daijiten (日本音楽大辞典, Japanese music dictionary, Hirano, et al., ed. 1989). Written primarily by Tukitani and Kamisangô, they therefore may be categorized as literature written by insiders for an outsider readership. Similar such entries can be found in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (v.9:532-534) and the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (v.3:357-360), though it could be argued that the authors, Berger and Hughes, are not insiders to the shakuhachi tradition as defined by this thesis.
As discussed above (see p.43), a number of periodicals about traditional Japanese music contain articles about the shakuhachi not written by musicologists. Though some appear to be written by shakuhachi players solely for other shakuhachi players, most of them are directed to a readership that includes outsiders such as koto and shamisen players as well. The names of these periodicals clearly suggest a readership beyond that of insiders to the shakuhachi tradition. Articles about the shakuhachi in these periodicals will therefore be included in the second category of literature.
A major source of this type of shakuhachi literature was a periodical entitled Sankyoku (三曲, literally Pieces for three). Sankyoku was published monthly from 1921 until 1944 by Fujita Reirô (藤田鈴朗). All forty-four issues were reprinted in 1976. As its name suggests, this publication concerned itself primarily, though not exclusively, with the ensemble music of the three instruments, koto, shamisen and shakuhachi and included articles on the activities of individuals and organizations, announcements and reviews of concerts and occasional scholarly articles. Outstanding among the contents of Sankyoku were the above mentioned (see p.44) series of articles by Nakatsuka (1936, 1939; reprinted in Hirano et al., 1979) which first presented his findings and theories on the Kyotaku Denki.
From 1944 until 1973, the periodical Nihon ongaku (日本音楽, Japanese Music) was published. The series was reprinted in 1983. Kikan hôgaku (季刊邦楽, Traditional Japanese Music Quarterly) is an important journal for traditional Japanese music, published quarterly since 1974, that regularly includes scholarly articles, interviews and essays on the shakuhachi. Volumes 5 (1975) and 10 (1977) were devoted entirely to the shakuhachi.
A monthly magazine entitled Hôgaku (邦楽, Traditional Japanese music) that is very similar in content to the old Sankyoku has been published in Japan since 1987. Its focus, which includes all of the traditional Japanese music traditions, and potential readership is, however, greater than that of Sankyoku. Less scholarly than Kikan hôgaku, Hôgaku regularly publishes articles specifically targeted at shakuhachi players, for example, detailed discussions of performance techniques.
Six issues of a periodical in English, also entitled Hogaku (邦楽), were published between 1983 and 1989 by a small group in New York City called “The Traditional Japanese Music Society”. Most issues contained at least one article about some aspect of the shakuhachi tradition. Many of the articles in the English language Hogaku are scholarly in style.
An extensive catalogue for shakuhachi instruments, accessories, sheet music, recordings and books has been published and widely distributed by Monty Levenson in Willits, California since the mid-1970s. Included in recent editions of the catalogue is one of the most extensive lists of shakuhachi teachers operating outside of Japan14. Levenson’s catalogue and his shakuhachi instruments are notable particularly in terms of transmission of the shakuhachi tradition to the West.
Insofar as they are addressed to people who have no knowledge of the tradition, beginner manuals, of which there are many, could also be considered to belong to the second type of literature. Although it is debatable at what point a beginner becomes an insider, it is safe to say that beginner manuals are written by those who believe themselves to belong to the tradition, for readers who are not yet ‘insiders’ but have the potential of becoming so.
There are numerous beginner manuals for the shakuhachi that are frequently called tebiki (手引, literally ‘hand pulling’). Every shakuhachi ryû publishes a beginner manual, such as the Chikuho ryû no tebiki (竹保流の手引, Chikuho ryû beginner manual) (Chikuho ryû:1971). Such manuals are usually intended to be used by the beginning student when he first begins lessons with a teacher of a particular ryû. In addition, individual shakuhachi players also publish beginner manuals which, in contrast to the manuals published by the ryû, are usually intended to be used by those who do not want or do not have access to a teacher, as ‘teach yourself’ material. One such manual, appropriately entitled Easy shakuhachi primer (やさしい尺八入門, Yasashii shakuhachi nyûmon) (Ishitaka 1977), attempts to instruct the beginner on the basics of shakuhachi playing using cartoons. Some manuals are geared specifically for enthusiasts of a particular genre of music, for example, min’yô (民謡, Japanese folk songs) or enka (演歌, popular love songs).
Since the mid-1970s, at least six publications for the beginning shakuhachi student who does not have ready access to a teacher have been published in English (Abbot 1980; Blasdel 1988; Deaver 1976; Grous 1978; Koga 1978; Neptune 1978; Taniguchi 1983). The most recent of these, The Shakuhachi; a manual for learning (Blasdel 1988) is the first to be published and distributed by a major publishing house. One half of the book is devoted to an English translation of a major scholarly article in Japanese (Kamisangô 1974) on the history of the shakuhachi. Because of these two factors, it became the first English language beginner’s manual to be reviewed in the journal Ethnomusicology (Lee 1990:179-181).
Written with the insider in mind but read primarily by the outsider, LP, CD and cassette jacket notes are important sources of data on the shakuhachi tradition. In Japan there is a tradition of releasing double or triple albums of shakuhachi and other traditional Japanese music with extensive notes on the lineage/performer/history of the pieces in the recordings as well as on the shakuhachi tradition in general, frequently in the form of scholarly articles commissioned from noted ethnomusicologists or high ranking members of the tradition. Genealogies of and interviews with the performer(s), scores of the pieces in traditional shakuhachi notation and transcriptions of performances in staff notation are also commonly included. These notes are sometimes considered more valuable than the recordings themselves, the latter being purchased as much for the notes as for the performances.
Notable examples of recordings of classical shakuhachi honkyoku which include extensive written material are 尺八、神如道 (Shakuhachi, Jin Nyodô) (Jin 1980); “Suizen: Chikuho ryû ni miru fuke shakuhachi no keifu” (吹禅：竹保流にみる普化尺八の系譜, “Blowing Zen: The Fuke shakuhachi lineage according to Chikuho Ryû”, Sakai 1974); “Sangai rinten” (三界輪転, “Three worlds rotation”, Yokoyama 1980); “Shakuhachi koten/gendai besuto 30” (尺八古典／現代ベスト３０, “The best 30 shakuhachi classical and modern [pieces]”, descriptive notes edited by Hirano Kenji 1984); and “Kinko ryû shakuhachi honkyoku zenshû” (琴古流尺八本曲全集, “Complete works of the shakuhachi honkyoku of the Kinko school”, Yamaguchi 1985). One recording with substantial descriptive notes in English is Shakuhachi Honkyoku: Japanese Flute Played by Riley Kelly Lee (Folkways Records 1980).
Finally, programme notes for the audiences of concerts and recitals also belong to this type of literature. Though by nature terse, programme notes frequently provide useful descriptions of pieces, biographical material on the performers and concise histories or general discussions of the repertoire. Furthermore, they give accurate indications of which pieces are popular at any given time. An example of particularly ample programme notes is the thirteen page booklet published for a concert produced by the Hôgaku kanshô kai (邦楽鑑賞会, Traditional Japanese music appreciation society) on November 30, 1985 in Hiroshima, which included explanations of the pieces and a general article on the shakuhachi written by Tukitani.
Only two major types of literature may be categorized as being authored by outsiders to the shakuhachi tradition and written for insiders. These are modern compositions and government documents. Nonetheless, this category of literature plays an important role in the transmission of the shakuhachi tradition and the processes of change that occur within it.
Literature written by outsiders of the tradition for a readership that belongs to the tradition encompasses compositions for the shakuhachi written in staff notation by western trained composers who do not themselves perform on the instrument. There are, to my knowledge, very few examples of this type of composition from before the 1960s. Since then, their number and popularity have steadily increased. One of the earliest successful examples of this type of composition is “Chikurai Gosho” (竹籟五章, “Five pieces for the ‘wind in the bamboo'”, i.e., the shakuhachi), written in 1964 by the western trained composer, Moroi Makoto (諸井誠) (Moroi 1967). Takemitsu Tôru (武満徹) is perhaps the most well-known composer of works by an ‘outsider’ for the shakuhachi. One of his works, a double concerto for shakuhachi, biwa and orchestra entitled “November Steps” (1967), has probably done more to introduce the two traditional Japanese instruments to more people outside Japan than any other single thing or activity. Because these compositions influence people outside the tradition, they exert more influence on the tradition than compositions written in traditional shakuhachi notation by members of the shakuhachi tradition.15 In a forthcoming special issue of the British journal, Contemporary Music Review devoted entirely to the shakuhachi, a comprehensive list of American and British compositions for shakuhachi will be included.
Other examples of this type of literature are the edicts and other communications written by the Japanese government and addressed to members of the shakuhachi tradition. Especially important are numerous documents addressed to the Fuke sect by the Edo military government. These documents are concerned with giving the sect a legal monopoly over the use of the shakuhachi, and other privileges, in exchange for the acceptance adn enforcement of certain conditions (see chapter three, p.162). A number of documents were written by the government and addressed to the Fuke sect regarding the enforcement of the conditions demanded of the sect. The counterparts to these government documents, written by the officials of the Fuke sect and addressed to the government, belong to the second type of literature, written by insiders for outsiders (see above, pp.44–45). Both types of documents are invaluable in the study of the history of the shakuhachi tradition during that period.
According to Kamisangô (1974:19), in 1847, the government wrote to the Fuke sect asking, “The playing of shakuhachi with shamisen and koto occurs; is this all right with the temples?” The temples’ unambiguous reply was “It is deplorable and very bothersome.” An earlier reply by the Fuke temples to a similar question by the government was more resigned in tone: “It really was something which should not be done. The people are misbehaving, but they are doing it privately. We cannot hear it, so we cannot say whether it is good or bad” (Kamisangô 1974:19). From these documents and the rather evasive replies made by the Fuke sect, it is evident that secular ensemble playing took place at that time, even though shakuhachi was supposed to be used solely within the spiritual context of honkyoku performance. Kamisangô (1974:19) mentions another telling government document addressed to the Fuke sect, dated 1774, which states that severe steps would be taken by the authorities if the sect did not control the extortionists and law breakers who hid behind the guise of the komusô. These and numerous other government documents give a sense of realism to the idealized picture of the shakuhachi playing Zen Buddhist sect painted by such documents as the previously mentioned Kyotaku denki kokujikai.
The final type of literature, written by outsiders for outsiders is the least common type. By definition, literature of this type has little effect upon the transmission of the shakuhachi tradition, especially at the time it is written. Its usefulness in studies such as this thesis, arise from the indication it gives of how the tradition is viewed by outsiders and how the tradition functions within society at large.
There are relatively few primary sources on the shakuhachi dating earlier than the late 1700s; most of these are, however, of the fourth type of literature. These include brief mentions of the instrument in official lists, and short entries in personal diaries or commentaries. Kamisangô refers to the majority of these sources in his comprehensive histories of early shakuhachi developments (1974, 1977). For example, a government report entitled Dajôkanfu (太政官符) written in 809 lists among the court musicians of the time, one shakuhachi player. The books Kojidan (古事談, 1215) and Taigenshô (体源鈔, 1512) both state that the noted Buddhist priest Jikaku Taishi Ennin (慈覚大師円仁), upon his return from China in 847 played the shakuhachi instead of chanting. Other primary sources of this type are treated in chapter three in the discussion of the historical background of the shakuhachi.
Many of the scholarly publications on the shakuhachi, particularly those in English, are written by outsiders for a readership of outsiders. As mentioned above (p.51), the substantial entries on the shakuhachi under the heading ‘Japan’ in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (v.9:532-534), and in the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (v.3:357-360) are written by Berger and Hughes, English speaking ethnomusicologists whose areas of expertise include Japan, but who are not insiders to the shakuhachi tradition. In addition, the many references to the shakuhachi in the monumental work A History of Japanese Music (Harich-Schneider 1973) are written by an outsider to be read predominantly by outsiders. “Shakuhachi Zen, the Fukeshû and komusô” (Sanford 1977) is another example of this category of literature.