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I came across this alternative spelling. Is it more accurate phonetically, Kiku. It does throw up a different assortment on Youtube! The 4min.21sec. film showing a vigorous player called Kenichi Tajima is a joy to behold.
Posted: 2013-08-18, 10:45 Post subject: Syakuhachi. One for Kiku!
The spelling you have there is a mix of styles of romanisation. The usual one we see most is Hepburn romanisation, which is a romanisation system to transliterate Japanese words into latin spelling but based on English phonology. When using the hepburn system 尺八 will be written shakuhachi - as we see it most.
But there is another system of romanisation called kunrei-shiki romanisation. That is a cabinet-ordered or monbushō (Ministry of Education) system that is supposed to be taught in Japanese schools. But in my experience asking Japanese people most peole from 40 years old and younger have been taught the hepburn system at school. If using the kunrei system, 尺八 will be written as syakuhati.
So the word you found: Syakuhachi is a mixture of these two systems.
To me, the kunrei doesn't make sense. When thinking for whom a romanised Japanese is... well then it is not actually for the Japanese but for people who can't speak and read Japanese. So I think personally helpburn is better - although I have points of critique on hepburn.
So for most of us the most accurate pronunciation is easier obtainable with the hepburn system. Well.... except of a few points...
Hope this helps. Send us the link to the video you liked!