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The International Shakuhachi Society

Nakao Tozan

中尾 都山

Nakao Tozan
1876/10/05 - 1956

Shakuhachi

Nakao Tozan was born on October 5, 1876 (the 9th year of the Meiji-Era) in Suita-Gun (present-day Hirakata City), the second son of Nakao Jirohei and his wife Mitsu. His real name was Nakao Rinzo. In 1894, at the age of 17, he became a komuso, and then, two years later in 1896, he first established a shakuhachi school in Tenma, Osaka City, in the West of Japan. This date, February 15, is now celebrated as the official founding of the Tozan-Ryu School.

Nakao Tozan then embarked on a career as a performer, and in 1903 composed the first Tozan-Ryu honkyoku, Sōgetsu-chō, and in 1908 wrote and published his first shakuhachi tutor and sheet music. Compared to the older schools of shakuhachi, the Tozan style of composition must have sounded much more modern, and even in his honkyoku he often included very rhythmical two-, or sometimes three-part sections following the opening solo section, sometimes with the whole piece being written for two or more flutes right from the beginning.

In 1915, at the age of 38, he toured Russia, and in the following year also gave the first of his performances in Korea and China, eventually returning to give concerts there at least ten times.

In 1922, the Headquarters of the school were transferred to Tokyo. After this, Nakao Tozan met the famous blind koto master Miyagi Michio, and they toured Western Japan together, which led to the establishment of the Shin Nihon Ongaku movement (“New Japanese Music”). Together they made many revolutionary changes to Japanese traditional music.

In 1930, when he was 53, Nakao Tozan ceased performing to concentrate on teaching and composition, and to nurture the next generation of Tozan performers.

After the Second World War, he returned to his hometown (now renamed Hirakata), and then, in 1949, moved to Kyoto. In 1953, he was honored with the Japan Arts Academy Award for his great contributions to Japanese music, and he died in 1956 at the age of 80.

Teachers

Students

Composed or Arranged

Shakuhachi Compositions
YearTitleKanjiAlternate Title
1904
Haru Kaze春風

1904
Iwashimizu岩清水

1904
Kogetsucho慷月調

1904
Seikaiha青海波

1905
Shimoyo霜夜

1905
Sonare Matsu磯馴松

1907
Haru no Hikari春の光

1911/02
Kangetsu寒月

1913
Wakaba (Tozan)若葉

1914
Shiokaze潮風

1915
Asagiri朝霧

1916
Yachio八千代

1916
Yoru no Omoi夜の懐

1921
Asa Midori朝緑

1922
Kojo no Tsuki (Tozan)湖上の月

1923
Kogarashi木枯

1924
Kanginuta寒砧

1925
Umibe no Yubae海辺の夕映

1927
Yuzuki夕月

1929
Momijiもみじ

1938
Asa Kaze朝風

1938
Renshu Kyoku Dai Niban練習曲 第二番

1940
Showaraku頌和楽

1946
Aoba青葉

1946
Asa no Umi朝の海

1946
Mine no Tsuki峰の月

1946
Shinsei新生

1950
Isuzugawa (Tozan)五十鈴川

1950
Wako和光

1951
Heiwa no Sanga平和の山河


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017