Precursors of the shakuhachi

Gagaku shakuhachi Tempuku Hitoyogiri Miyogiri Fuke shakuhachi Modern shakuhachi
Photos picture of tempuku picture of hitoyogiri picture of mdoern shakuhachi
Dates 7th to 9th century in gagaku, then decline.12th century-Muromachi to Edo eras (1392-)17th century to present.17th century to present.20th century to present.
HistoryUsed in the gagaku ensemble, the ancient court music of Japan.Popular in the Satsuma area of Kyushu (present day Kagoshima-ken).Used by the komosō but mostly associated with secular music.Associated with the komosō.Used by the komusō, monks from the Fuke sect of Zen buddhism.Used both for Zen practice and secular genres such as sankyoku, shinkyoku and gendaikyoku.
Standard length 34.35-44.4cm 30cm33.6cm50cm54.5cm54.5cm
Bamboo type Made in variety of materials from bamboo (hachiku) to jade, stone and ivory. Hotei chikuMadakeMadakeMadakeMadake
Position of utaguchi Upper part of bamboo. Upper part of bamboo.Lower part of bamboo (towards the root).Upper part of bamboo.Upper part of bamboo.Upper part of bamboo.
Utaguchi design Arc-shaped notch, similar to modern shakuhachi. Utaguchi shaped from inside.Arc-shaped notch, similar to modern shakuhachi.Arc-shaped notch, similar to modern shakuhachi.Arc-shaped notch, similar to modern shakuhachi.Many contain inserts of buffolo horn or ivory.
Number of nodes 3 313+Variety of node number.Standard is 7
Number of holes 5-1 4-14-14-14-14-1 (also 7 and 9)
Other factors Fingerholes are slightly oval. Small holes and thick bamboo.Root end of the bamboo began to be used for bottom of shakuhachi.Filler becomes popular to inhance tuning and response.

Shakuhachi precursors bibliography

Kô, Tanimura 1996 Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments: The Shakuhachi. Tôkyô: Ongaku no Tomo Sha Edition.

Lee, Riley 1992 The Transmission of the Shakuhachi Honkyoku. Published thesis.

Sanford, James H. 1977 “Shakuhachi Zen: the Fukeshû and Komusô.” Monumenta Nipponica 32/4.

Tono, Haruyuki 1992 Kentoshi no Shôsôin. Tôkyô: Iwanami Shoten.

Many thanks to Vlastislav Matousek, Czech shakuhachi player and composer for the photos of the hitoyogiri and tempuku.