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The Single Tone—A Personal Journey into Shakuhachi Music

(C) Copyright 2005 Christopher Yohmei Blasdel. All Rights Reserved.

The English version of Blasdel’s  award winning essay on learning shakuhachi in Japan (Shakuhachi Odyssey–see below)  has been re-written for English language readers with the inclusion of more materials and photographs.
The Single Tone is the quintessential insider’s view of Japan and its culture.Originally written in Japanese and the winner of the Rennyo Award for non-fiction, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel–an American who has resided in Japan since 1972–writes about his experiences studying, performing and teaching the traditional Japanese vertical shakuhachi bamboo flute. His encounters with various Japanese–from world class artists,wealthy patrons, respected scholars and arrogant diplomats–provide thoughtful insight into the Japanese mind. He also demonstrates the universal appeal of the shakuhachi by performing it around the world: in the jungles of Guatemala, in the ancient banquet halls of the Republic of Georgia and the wind swept Indian reservations of New Mexico.

The Shakuhachi, A Manual for Learning

(C) Copyright 2008 Christopher Yohmei Blasdel.
All Rights Reserved.

The Shakuhachi, A Manual for Learning was originally published twenty years ago by Ongaku no Tomo-sha, Japan’s leading music publisher. It went through six printings and can still be found in many libraries, both public and private, around the world. This new version, published by Printed Matter Press, Tokyo, has been greatly updated, revised and made more affordable for shakuhachi enthusiasts. The new additions include the practice exercises re-written in easy-to-read computer generated fonts, a section on modulation in shakuhachi music, and a new chapter entitled, “Walking on its Own,” a comprehensive and up to date treatment of contemporary shakuhachi history. There are also many new photographs and diagrams as well as listings of published music and places to purchase or have shakuhachi repaired. This is the most comprehensive guide to learning the shakuhachi (Kinko style) and history of the instrument in the English language. It was co-authored with KAMISANGO Yûkô. A practice CD of the included exercises, performed by Christopher Yohmei, is included in the book

Shakuhachi Odessei

Copyright 2001 Christopher Yohmei Blasdel.
All Rights Reserved.

This book, which was awarded the 6th Rennyo Award for non-fiction writing in Japan, describes the author’s arrival in Japan, the meeting and long years of tutelage under shakuhachi master Goro Yamaguchi and encounters with artists like the sculptor Isamu Noguchi and ethnomusicologist Fumio Koizumi. A chapter on the history of the shakuhachi sheds light on some of the myths concerning the instrument and the meaning they hold for the present day. There is also much written about the present day system of music education in Japan and the author’s peregrinations about the world performing shakuhachi and Japanese music. The English version is called “The Single Tone, A Personal Journey into Shakuhachi Music.

Za Shakuhachi, Ensou Shutoku no Tebiki

(C) Copyright 2001 Christopher Yohmei Blasdel. All Rights Reserved.

Japanese translation of “The Shakuhachi, A Manual for Learning.”
Japanese edition.