International Shakuhachi Society Logo

The International Shakuhachi Society

Kokû Reibo

虚空鈴慕

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

History (John Singer):

This is one of the "Bekkaku" (traditional three) pieces. This piece, along with "Mukaiji Reibo" came to the monk Kyochiku Zenshi (Kichiku) in a dream and was transmitted to Kinko Kurosawa by Ikkei.

Kokû Reibo appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky, A Yamaguchi Goro

    Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky - of the Kinko school, is one of the three oldest pieces, known as the koden-sankyoku, of the fuke shakuhachi tradition. Respected as sacred pieces, these are the most difficult to play in the repertoire, since they are so profound in religious expression. Koku-Reibo is said to have been originally composed by a Zen priest named Kyochiku when he attained enlightenment in a dream; in the Fuke shakuhachi, it is called simply Koku, The Empty Sky, portraying a happy, peaceful feeling of awakening. Kinko Kurosawa heard this music in one of the temples at Nagasaki in Kyushu. He was very much moved by its depth and clarity, and arranged it into a musical piece which is to this day the most played piece of all the repertoire of shakuhachi music.

Complete Collection of Honkyoku from the Kinko School - Vol 2 - Disc 1 Aoki Reibo II

Emptiness of the Sky, The Andreas Fuyu Gutzwiller

    This is one of the three central pieces in the Kinko school of shakuhachi playing. The title means 'The emptiness of the sky'. According to legends, this piece has its origin in the monk Kichiku, who lived in the second half of the 13th century. The piece is
    said to have been imparted to him in a dream on Mount Asama. The additional designation Reibo ('Yearning for the bell [of the Zen master Fuke]') indicates a piece that enjoys a high standing in the hierarchy of the music of the Kinko school.

Hogaku Meikyoku Sen; Shakuhachi Aoki Reibo II

Kinko Ryu Honkyoku - 5 Aoki Reibo II

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi - Hogaku Vol 19 Aoki Reibo II

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi - Koten Honkyoku - Kindai Shakuhachi Gaku Aoki Reibo II

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi Honkyoku Senshu - 2 Yamaguchi Goro

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi Meikyoku Sen Aoki Reibo II

Kokuh Aoki Reibo II


Kou Aoki Reibo II


Music For Two Shakuhachi Andreas Fuyu Gutzwiller

Musique Zen - 2 Notomi Judo II

    Koku signifie le ciel vide. Piece religieuse, composse pout exprimer les sentiments surnaturels ressentis en entendant d'exquises cloches dans le ciel, et l'aspiration vers ces cloches.

Nihon no Dento Vol 2 (Japanese Traditions) Yamaguchi Goro

Shakuhachi - Japon Notomi Judo I

    Koku means "the empty sky". This is a religious work, composed to express the supernatural feelings experienced on hearing the beautiful bells in the sky and the aspiration towards these bells.

Shakuhachi - Reibo Aoki Aoki Reibo II


Shakuhachi Bell John Singer

    Koku Reibo, one of the most highly regarded Zen pieces, is also one of the most technically demanding. This Honkyoku was performed at ceremonial events where the Shakuhachi took the place of sutra chanting and was used in Blowing Zen, an aesthetic practice in every Fuke Sect temple.

Shakuhachi Koten Honkyoku Shusei - 2 Aoki Reibo II

Shakuhachi Meijin Sen Yamaguchi Goro


Shakuhachi Meijin Sen 39 Yamaguchi Goro

Shakuhachi no Shinzui-Shakuhachi Honkyoku - 03 Yamaguchi Goro

Traditional Music of Japan, The - 02 Aoki Reibo II

    The most representative composition of the thirty six instrumental solos or duets which make up the repertoire of the Kinko school is called Kinkoryu Honkyoku. This is also one of the representative Shakuhachi solo pieces adapted from the repertoire of the Fuke Shakuhachi. Regarding the title, Koku means heaven, and Reibo means to yearn. Actually, this music was composed by an unknown priest yearning to ring the bell previously rung by Fuke Zenji, the founder of the Fuke sect. It can be heard, as the story goes, in heaven.

    There is no specific musical form in the Western sense for this piece. The composition was definitely composed by Kurosawa Kinko (1710-1771). The recording here is an abbreviation of about one third the original composition.

World of Shakuhachi Yamaguchi Goro

World of Shakuhachi, The Yamaguchi Goro

Zen Music Yamaguchi Goro

    They say that this piece was composed symbolizing longings for bell (Taku) ringing in the empty sky. A legend says that in the T'ang Dynasty Fuke Zenji, founder of Fuke-shu (a sect of Buddhism), used to walk to the streets with bell ringings, and after his death a disciple of his composed the music in memory of him and bells.

    They also say that this was composed by Kichiku, a disciple of Hoto Kokushi who introduced Fuke-shu into Japan in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). Kichiku was practicing austerities in Asama-yama, Ise, when he heard some strange beautiful music in his visionary state. Afterwards he composed the piece.

    Whichever the truth may be, this piece is the oldest among the Kinko-ryu Shakuhachi repertory. It is (or, was) highly religious in character. KUROSAWA Kinko, founder of the school, is said to have been instructed form Ikkeishi of Shoju-ken, Nagasaki.


Zen Music - II Notomi Judo I

    This is among the three oldest pieces in the Honkyoku tradition and therefore is important. Koku means 'the empty sky', and Reibo 'longing for the sounds of bells'. It is religious in nature, composed to express the unearthly feelings in hearing bells ringing exquisitely in the sky and yearning for them.


Zen Music with Ancient Shakuhachi - Disc 1 John Singer

    (Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky) Miyagi Ikkan was a disciple of Kinko Kurosawa (1710-1771) Originally the Kinko school had no name, however, when the Ikkan Ryu was established the term “Kinko Ryu” began to be used. This is a “Kaete” (alternate melody) version of the Kinko Ryu “Koku Reibo”. This piece is called “Koku” in other schools (see information on “Myoan Taizan Koku”.


Zen Shakuhachi Duets John Singer


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017