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Azuma no Kyoku (Itchoken)

吾妻の曲

This is a piece of genre Koten from the Kyushu Kei School.

History (Jin Nyodo):

Itcho-ken: AZUMA-NO-KYOKU

1. About the title:

Azuma means east, so that the name can be explained as referring to a person from Western Japan playing his flute while yearning for someone in the East. However, this matter is unclear since there is also another theory that this piece adapted a melody for the higashi-goto ("eastern koto"), a kind of wagon used in kagura.

2. Structure of the piece

It is made up of three sections. The first section begins in the mid-range and ends on a lower tone. In the second section, which forms the main body of the piece, the sound begins in the mid-range and gradually rises until half-way through the piece the tempo becomes brighter and the tone enters the upper range. The third section is a short musubi.

3. Special features of the piece:

Along with Kumoi-jishi, Iyo-renbo, San'ya-Sugagaki, and others, this is a gikyoku ("playful piece"). Gikyoku are not used in religious practice, and as the name indicates they are small cheerful pieces. When the komuso went out to beg for rice, they played these pieces when ordinary people requested such a lighter piece. These pieces are also called hiru-kara ("after midday") from the idea that such music should be played after noon rather than in the more austere morning hours.

Azuma no Kyoku (Itchoken) appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Jin Nyodo No Shakuhachi 06 Jin Nyodo

    Itcho-ken: AZUMA-NO-KYOKU

    1-shaku 8-sun
    3 min. 21 sec.

    1. About the title:

    Azuma means east, so that the name can be explained as referring to a person from Western Japan playing his flute while yearning for someone in the East. However, this matter is unclear since there is also another theory that this piece adapted a melody for the higashi-goto ("eastern koto"), a kind of wagon used in kagura.

    2. Structure of the piece

    It is made up of three sections. The first section begins in the mid-range and ends on a lower tone. In the second section, which forms the main body of the piece, the sound begins in the mid-range and gradually rises until half-way through the piece the tempo becomes brighter and the tone enters the upper range. The third section is a short musubi.

    3. Special features of the piece:

    Along with Kumoi-jishi, Iyo-renbo, San'ya-Sugagaki, and others, this is a gikyoku ("playful piece"). Gikyoku are not used in religious practice, and as the name indicates they are small cheerful pieces. When the komuso went out to beg for rice, they played these pieces when ordinary people requested such a lighter piece. These pieces are also called hiru-kara ("after midday") from the idea that such music should be played after noon rather than in the more austere morning hours.

Koku Monden Tekiku


World of Zen Music, The - Shakuhachi Music from Kyushu Nakamura Akikazu

    Also known as Azuma jishi, the title of this piece alludes to lion dances from eastern Japan and the popular performing art known as Sato-kagura. It is characterized especially by its stylish melody. It is an original piece in the Itchoken repertory, as is also the piece Kumoi no kyoku. Both pieces were incorporated into the repertories of the Myoan-taizan and Kinko schools.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017