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Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2013-10-29, 09:45    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

PublicitéSupprimer les publicités ?
Don't do that James. It's a forum, hence there are discussions.
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Rick Riekert
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PostPosted: 2013-10-29, 14:59    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

Felix, James, when discussing or Heaven forfend vigorously arguing a position I find it calms me to be reminded of the wise words of Oscar Wilde who said us that in all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2013-10-29, 15:25    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

felix martens wrote:
...Nobody can or will be excluded from playing, indeed who on earth suggested that, but no one from outside Japanese culture and society can truly enter the traditional world of the shakuhachi.


Hi Felix, Your are right in that it is difficult for foreigners to be accepted by the old guards of a different culture. But, it is entirely possible for those who demonstrate, at the very least, persistence.

When I visited Tom Deaver, the great ex-pat American shakuhachi maker in Nagano, Japan, he told me the story of knocking on Chikusen Tamai''s door to learn shakuhachi making. Tamai refused to let him in. Tom didn't speak any Japanese at the time. I'm just paraphrasing here but Tom said he came back everyday and even sat in his doorway until Tamai let him in. Eventually, day after day, year after year, sitting next to the Japanese apprentices, he learned to speak Japanese, make shakuhachi and eventually leave the shop with his Japanese makers name - Beishu. He also got married to a Japanese woman, had children and renovated an old farmhouse where his children grew up. All the while, he made shakuhachi for professional players and teachers (while I was there, he was packing three flutes for Yokoyama Katsuya). As I stood in his shop looking out his window, I saw a beautiful vista with mountain tops and his blueberry farm below. It seemed like a timeless moment. I noticed a lone monkey foraging through his field. Tom saw that I was looking at the monkey and said, "That one was ousted by the clan. Probably tried to be the alfa male. He comes by every day...." As he continued to tell the story, I thought in my mind that Tom was living an amazing life here in his shop, surrounded by bamboo, watching his monkey. It all seemed very Japanese to me. Then his wife came in and brought us tea, which further cemented my thoughts about him in Japanese culture. Tom then said, "So, what do you think about this war. Is George Bush crazy?".

I think if you poke around, you'll find that there are many non-Japanese in Japan working in the traditional arts with great respect from the Japanese.

James, I didn't find your remarks offensive at all. The Japanese teachers that I have met and learned from all want to share their art in the deepest way. I never got the sense that race created a barrier.

- Perry
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Last edited by Perry Yung on 2013-10-29, 22:24; edited 1 time in total
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2013-10-29, 16:35    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

There's nothing that can't be solved over a good cuppa at Chado's. The teas are on me!
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2013-10-30, 15:03    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

felix martens and jamesnyman,

I am not saying either of you were hostile etc. And racism is a subject that is very important to keep an eye with as it sneaks its way in when least expected.
So no problem at all. I just wanted to sure that the discussion was keep in a nice and respectful tone. As long as it is - how we look at Japanese music and also whether there are aspects of racism in viewpoints (including our own) are very good topics of discussion.

So not to worry and please - both of you - keep on posting, it is nice to read your opinions! Smile
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2013-10-30, 18:41    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

Cheers Kiku. Point taken. My only problem is that I can't see why racism was brought up, except that my phrasing may have been misinterpreted.
To rephrase, (notwithstanding the fact that I may be wrong!) "Some say there is no longer a line of true masters coming through, and that players in the West find it difficult to become deeply involved in the cultural background of the shakuhachi, given that they are not Japanese".
Now clearly people may become deeply involved in the making and playing of the shakuhachi, as Perry's great anecdote illustrates, and as is obvious by the existence of people like Riley Lee, but I only sought to bring up for discussion this difficulty of involvement, and if my phrase implied exclusion or racism then it's my slovenly English.
How many times have I read on this forum of the desirability of a knowledge of Japanese to truly appreciate all aspects of the shakuhachi. That's me out straight away! But I'll plough on!
No one seeks to be exclusive, and we can all play in our own way but I for one totally respect the rich tradition behind this amazing flute, even though I'll never fully appreciate it. But hey.
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Rasmus Fugl
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PostPosted: 2013-10-31, 20:47    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

So, I stopped receiving notifications of new posts to this thread so I assumed it was dead, but then I signed in only to discover that you've all engaged in fiery discussion about racism Laughing I'm impressed by the fact that you aren't ripping each other's heads off, but that's just because I've been subjected to the ugly side of the internet too much I suppose.

Joking aside, I think you have indeed given me a good idea for a topic. I was more or less determined about focusing specifically on honkyoku, but the discussion of wether or not people outside Japan can truly enter the traditional world of shakuhachi does seem very interesting. But there has to be enough litterature documenting this for it to be viable. Kiku, I have started reading the Jay Keister article you sent me, and it seems to describe in detail the formality of the master/apprentice relationship in transmission of shakuhachi knowledge and skill, but I don't know if it talks about this.

With that said, it would be nice if anybody could help me with some articles that deal specifically with honkyouku and maybe give some ideas as to which pieces would be ideal for an indepth musical analysis. I'm on the hunt myself of course, but any outside help would be greatly appreciated. I've thought about Kyorei as a possible contender, because that's a piece I can actually play, and it has a lot of history.

LowBlow, I can't read German so Gutzwiller's book won't be of much help, unless there is a translation. I've downloaded the 274-page thesis on San Koten Honkyoku. That's a lot of pages, so I really have to be picky with this one. Thank's a lot, I appreciate it! Okay
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 00:36    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

Koji Matsunobu has a thesis that discusses this topic quite a bit. Riley Lee's thesis explores the insider/outsider paradigm in much detail as well. Those are good places to start.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 05:35    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

If someone told Yo Yo Ma, "you can't really enter the world of cello, because you are not Italian" would people consider that racist?

The best banjo player in Tasmania is Japanese. I also play banjo but not as well as him. Am I a better banjo player because I am American, thus closer to the origins of that particular instrument?

One of my shakuhachi students is Japanese. Have we confused our proper roles and should I start studying with him instead?

These are koans for us to ponder.

Embarassed Cool Surprised Confused Very Happy Question Exclamation Arrow Mr. Green Neutral
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knowshit
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 06:41    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

I take your point, but I think it's too much of a stretch, grounds for comparison not quite being the same. Cello is associated with European classical music, not exclusively with Italian music. Context and general appreciation for cello exists almost everywhere. Traditional Japanese music, on the other hand, despite the fact that there are people playing shakuhachi all over the world, is still very limited to Japan.

Also, the question of skill is not the same as that of musical and cultural understanding, which is what being involved in a tradition is about.
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 07:27    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

Well, unless you're a Japanese komuso monk who learned through the oral tradition (not notation) and play exclusively medieval music I'd say we're talking matters of degree of INauthenticity. As a matter of fact I would be surprised if a modern Japanese would even be able to hold a conversation with Kurasawa Kinko I without them being totally baffled by each other. Are we musicians or practitioners or are we some kind of preservationists? That battle has already been lost, don't see too many komuso wandering around, Japanese or not.

Also the statement that shakuhachi is limited to Japan is disproved by this very forum and conversation. But hey, we can dream........
Rolling Eyes
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knowshit
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 07:48    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
Well, unless you're a Japanese komuso monk who learned through the oral tradition (not notation) and play exclusively medieval music I'd say we're talking matters of degree of INauthenticity. As a matter of fact I would be surprised if a modern Japanese would even be able to hold a conversation with Kurasawa Kinko I without them being totally baffled by each other. Are we musicians or practitioners or are we some kind of preservationists? That battle has already been lost, don't see too many komuso wandering around, Japanese or not.

Also the statement that shakuhachi is limited to Japan is disproved by this very forum and conversation. But hey, we can dream........
Rolling Eyes

First of all, you'll note that I never said shakuhachi was limited to Japan, the very opposite in fact.

Also, I made no reference to komuso tradition, but to traditional Japanese music as it exists in Japan today. Shakuhachi did not develop in an isolated sphere, and is in varying degrees connected to other genres of Japanese music, due to the activities of past and present practitioners. It's plain to see that this context barely exists outside Japan, especially compared to cello, or even banjo.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 10:01    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

Well, it's a slippery slope. You can lean towards being more inclusive i.e. "anyone of any race who plays well is part of the shakuhachi tradition and honors shakuhachi". Or exclusive, "only Japanese can truly enter the world of traditional Japanese music". Problem with the latter are that a. it's a bummer b. it's never ending because you can extend that to things like "only Aomori people can play Nezasaha, not other Japanese", "only men", "only people whose parents are also practitioners", "only honkyoku", "only sankyoku" or whatever arbitrary barriers you want to construct around the music.

I prefer to think all instruments are tools and the musicians either use them to make living music or they don't.
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knowshit
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 10:19    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

My original comments were directed at your comparison between YoYo Ma/Italy. I think this thread has gone down the wrong track with the racial angle, whilst ignoring the more important aspect of context. That is the barrier we are up against.

Last edited by knowshit on 2013-11-01, 10:29; edited 1 time in total
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felix martens
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PostPosted: 2013-11-01, 10:25    Post subject: Suggested topics for short shakuhachi project at school Reply with quote

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
Well, unless you're a Japanese komuso monk who learned through the oral tradition (not notation) and play exclusively medieval music I'd say we're talking matters of degree of INauthenticity. As a matter of fact I would be surprised if a modern Japanese would even be able to hold a conversation with Kurasawa Kinko I without them being totally baffled by each other. Are we musicians or practitioners or are we some kind of preservationists? That battle has already been lost, don't see too many komuso wandering around, Japanese or not.

Also the statement that shakuhachi is limited to Japan is disproved by this very forum and conversation. But hey, we can dream........
Rolling Eyes

No one has made this statement. No one. Also, may I repeat that race is not an issue here.
Every country can celebrate its cultural heritage and the degree to which people from other cultures may enter this heritage is limited by their own background or their ability to learn. Obviously this is dependent on the individual.
The article I read on the subject simply suggested that like all young people in this day and age, those in Japan are subject to the effects of globalisation of "culture" and are showing less interest in traditional Japanese culture, and hence the concern as to transmission of this culture.
As an issue, the introduction of the idea of racism to describe the struggle of a culture to preserve itself is invalid since all cultures have this right.
Anybody can pick up a shakuhachi and do what they want with it. (No double entendre intended).
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