Norman Stanfield, Ph.D.|
Biography of a Gaijin Komuso (September 2003)
During his preparations for graduation as a professional flutist, Norman Stanfield learned about the shakuhachi from Elliot Weisgarber, the first scholar to publish an article about the shakuhachi in an academic journal (Ethnomusicology, 1968). After entering graduate studies in ethnomusicology with a minor in Buddhology under Dr. Shotaro Iida, Norman Stanfield followed in the steps of Professor Weisgarber, travelling to Japan to study with his sensei, Tanaka (Motonobu) Yudo, a descendent of the Kinko-ryu lineage via Notomi Judo, founder of the Domon-kai (est. 1973) and a student of Araki Kodo III.
While studying the shakuhachi in Kwansei Gagakin Daigaku university in Nishinomiya (near Kobe), he lived in Kyoto where he discovered the Meian-kyokai, an organization of shakuhachi players devoted entirely to the study of honkyoku, and resident in the Meian-ji temple within the temple community of Tofuku-ji (SE Kyoto). Shortly afterwards he began to study with Dr. Kojima (Toyoaki) Issui, a distinguished student of Tanakita MUCHIKU, 37th Abbot of Meian-ji, and Koizumi RYOAN SHIZAN, 38th Abbot and a direct musical descendent of Higuchi TAIZAN, the founder of the Taizan-ryu school within the Meian-kyokai and compiler of their official Honkyoku repertoire.
Norman Stanfield completed a Master's Thesis entitled The San Koten Honkyoku of the Kinko-ryu and in 1985 became a governor of the International Shakuhachi Society and recipient of a Menkyo-joh certificate that acknowledged his contributions and awarded him the Goh (Honorific Name) of Yushin.
During Expo 86 in Vancouver, as an Artist-In-Residence he was commissioned to portray a Komuso, wandering the site in full costume including Tengai basket hat, seemingly in constant search for takuhatsu alms. At the end of the exposition the director of the Japanese Pavilion gave him a special commendation for his sensitive and accurate portrayal. Because of the nature of the mask-like hat, none of the several million visitors ever saw his (gaijin) face.
|A Biography of Tanaka Yûdô |
|The Kinko-Ryu and its San Koten Honkyoku |
|Master of Arts, University of British Columbia||1977||294||English|