Name: Shakuhachi.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Notched >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.111.12
Era: 7th Century to Edo Period 17th-18th Century.
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The shakuhachi [in Japanese: 尺八、しゃくはち The shakuhachi [in Japanese: 尺八、しゃくはち, pronounced [ˌʃakʊˈhatʃi] Chinese: 尺八; pinyin: chǐbā] is a Japanese and ancient Chinese longitudinal, end-blown flute that is made of bamboo.

Myoan Ji
Myoan Ji ~ Shakuhachi fingering chart, image source: European Shakuhachi Society ;

The shakuhachi was originally introduced from China into Japan during the 7th century and reached its peak in development, during the Edo Period [17th–18th century]. The oldest shakuhachi is currently stored in 正倉院 Shōsō-in Museum, Nara Prefecture Japan.



Honkyoku notation example
Honkyoku notation example first two lines of Kumoijishi 雲井獅子 ; handwritten notation by Kurahashi Yodo 倉橋容堂;

Since the introduction of the shakuhachi to Japan. The shakuhachi has evolved over time. Changing its form, tuning and scale. The present form of shakuhachi was completed in during the edo period in the 17th century.

It was used by the monks of the Fuke Zen of Zen Buddhism in the practice of suizen [吹禅, blowing meditation].

Construction: The shakuhachi is traditionally made of bamboo, a thin bevel is carved at the top of the shakuhachi where the player blows into. Sometimes a piece of bone maybe filed into shape and fitted into where the mouth piece would be. There are now shakuhachi’s made of alternate materials to bamboo, existing in ABS plastic and hardwoods.

Citations: Bibliography: Mayers [editor], Dan E. The Annals of The International Shakuhachi Society, Volume I ; Mayers [editor], Dan E. [2005]. The Annals of The International Shakuhachi Society, Volume II. ISBN 0-9711625-1-4 ; Koga, Masayuki [July 24, 2016] Shakuhachi: Fundamental Technique Guidance. USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition. pp. 101, 28. ISBN 978-153546070 ; Websites:

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