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Kinsan Kyorei

琴三虚霊

This is a piece of genre Koten in the style of Takuhatsu from the Kinko Ryû - 琴古流 School.

History (John Singer):

Kin San Kyorei is the "San Kyorei" (a piece named after the traditional three) of the Kinko school. The title "Kin San" means "Kin Shamisen" or "Koto Shamisen". In the past, it was referred to as, "Shamisen Kyorei". This title denotes an association with Japanese string music, however, musically there is no connection whatsoever (unlike the piece "Kinuta Sugomori"). It was transmitted by Ryuan to the Kinko school at Kyukoan in Uji.

Kinsan Kyorei appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Complete Collection of Honkyoku from the Kinko School - Vol 2 - Disc 3 Aoki Reibo II

Kinko Ryu Honkyoku - 7 Aoki Reibo II

Shakuhachi no Shinzui-Shakuhachi Honkyoku - 04 Yamaguchi Goro

Zen Music - V Yamaguchi Goro

    'Kin' means Koto or So, and 'San' Shamisen, both traditional string instruments. Kyorei is the name for an important composition that has much to do with the origin of Fuke Shakuhachi. According to a legend, Fuke Zenji, the founder of Fuke-shu, used to wander through the streets, shaking Taku (a kind of bell). After his death his disciples composed a Shakuhachi piece symbolizing the sounds of Taku in the empty sky. Their longings for the mysterious sounds were then realized in the piece called Kyorei (empty bell or empty spirit). Afterwards, various pieces were composed, taking after the music. And there is another term for Shakuhachi; Kyotaku (empty bell).

    It is believed that the piece 'Kin San Kyorei' was transmitted to Kyoko-an, a hermitage in Uji built by a Zen Buddhist, Roan, in the Bummei era (1469-1486). Kurosawa Kinko, the founder of Kinko-ryu, was taught the piece by Ryoan, another Zen Buddhist. He then arranged and recomposed it, and added it to the repertoire of Kinko-ryu Honkyoku.

    The piece was once called 'Shamisen Kyorei' because of such secular melodies as to be heard in a Shamisen music. But Kurosawa Kinko consulted Yuko Sonji and Taigen Sonji and changed the title to 'Kin San Kyorei' (according to 'Kinko Techo').

    It is probably that the secular melodies were arranged in different contours, for the piece as performed today is a sacred as other pieces of Kinko-ryu Honkyoku. But one does find a unique part around two-thirds from the beginning. And the formal design follows the three-part structure (high register, low, and high), while the other pieces three-part (low, high, and low).

    Despite of the title words 'Kin' and 'San' the metrics is not regulated (regular pulsation) as seen in Koto and Shamisen music, but it is a free as in other Honkyoku pieces.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017