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Sagari Ha (Nezasa Ha)

下り葉 (根笹)

This is a piece of genre Koten from the Chikuho Ryû and Nezasa Ha / Kimpu Ryû Schools .

History (Tajima Tadashi):

In falling, a leaf is momentarily floating free from all restraints, headed for rebirth as newly decomposed nutrients for the tree.

Sagari Ha (Nezasa Ha) appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Ajikan Taniguchi Yoshinobu

    The Japanese characters used to depict this title are "sagaru" . ("fallen" or "falling") and "ha" ("leaves"). The song is easily recognizable because of the sasabuki blowing technique used frequently by the Nezasa sect of shakuhachi. Sasa are the leaves of the small bamboo bushes or thickets. The technique aims to imitate the sound of the leaves rustling against one another as the wind blows through the thicket. Sagariha was played along with another song, Sagari no Kyoku, during the parade procession of the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto. "Sagaru" is also the word used during the Edo Period (1603-1867) to indicate movement away from the capital (Tokyo) and also used to indicate the direction away from a shrine. Since shrines were often built on hilltops, one would be going downhill (sagaru) when exiting the shrine. The words "sagaru" ("down" or "south") and "agaru" ("up" or "north") are peculiar to Kyoto vocabulary and suggests the origin of this song.

Bamboo Grass - Yearning for the Bell Volume 2 Riley Kelly Lee

    Sagari ha / Falling Leaves is one of the most widely performed among the Nesasa ha honkyoku. This autumn piece alludes to the impermanence of existence.

Bamboo In Zen Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos


Breath-Sight - Yearning for the Bell Volume 1 Riley Kelly Lee

    Falling Leaf

    Another honkyoku transmitted through the Nesasa sect of northern Japan. The title of this piece is also pronounced "Kudari ha". The slow falling of a leaf from its branch on an autumn day to the ground below is no idle affair. Played on a 2.1 shaku flute.

Empty Bell, The David Duncavage

    After prolonged practise, a Nezasa-ha monk experienced enlightenment upon seeing a leaf fall. Sagariha commemorates this event.


Ensemble Nipponia - Kabuki and other Traditional Music Miyata Kohachiro

    The Sound of Wind Through the Bamboo Leaves

    One of the most distinctive of the purely instrumental traditions is that of the shakuhachi. A vertical bamboo flute which, like the shamisen, became prominent during the Edo period (1615-1868). Whereas the shamisen eventually found its life among the townspeople, the shakuhachi belonged first to komuso priests of the Fuke (Zen) sect, and later was shared with ex-samurai who used it as both a club and a musical instrument; between 1759 and 1868 it was forbidden to any but these two groups. Shirabe-Sagariha belongs to the classical shakuhachi tradition, called honkyoku (original music), specifically to the Nezasa-ha branch. Which was founded by a head of the Tsugaru clan. The inward, meditative nature of the honkyoku repertory, and the geographical isolation of the groups that transmitted it, resulted in the development of different versions of the same pieces. It is in the spirit of this freedom of interpretation that the present performance embellishes a solo piece with an improvised part for a second shakuhachi. The piece evokes the sound of wind blowing through bamboo leaves. It is preceded by a short introduction which serves not only as warm-up for the performer but also as purification of the instrument itself.

In Dead Earnest Ishikawa Toshimitsu

Japan - Splendour of the Shakuhachi Ishikawa Toshimitsu

    This work comes from the Nezasaha School of the Tsugaru (the northern area of Honshu island) region of Japan. The unique characteristic of this piece is a technique called komifuki. This breath technique gives the feeling of the wind blowing through the leaves of bamboo grass. Most classical honkyoku pieces begin in the low range, gradually move to the high range, and then climax in the high range.

    However Sagariha begins with an abrupt strong high pitch which is followed by a sweet, lyrical melody reminiscent of a lullaby.


Japanese Masterpieces for the Shakuhachi Yes

    Drooping leaves

    This is perhaps the oldest and most fundamental work of the 10 pieces making up the Kimpu ryu music. The rhythm also suggests waves.

Japanese Traditional Shakuhachi Yokoyama Katsuya

    From the repertoire of the Nezasa-school of Tsugaru district. Employs special effect of komibuki, which depicts a north wind blowing through a bamboo grove. This piece had been especially loved by the lords of the Tsugaru clan.

Japanese Treasures Yes

    Sagariha for solo shakuhachi means "Drooping leaves" and is perhaps the oldest and most fundamental work of the 10 pieces ma king up Kimpu ryu music. The rhythm also suggests waves.

Jin Nyodo No Shakuhachi 01 Jin Nyodo

    Nezasa-ha: SAGARIHA ("Falling Leaves")

    1-shaku 8-sun
    3 min. 52 sec.

    1. About the title:

    Besides the Nezasa-ha piece, there are also pieces with the same name such as Kinko-ryu Sagariha and Kyoto Myoan-ji Sagariha (with some variations in the Chinese characters), but these are all different compositions. According to the traditions of Nezasa-ha, a famous member of that school received enlightenment while listening to the wind blowing through bamboo brush or the sound of waves, so the piece was also called Sagarinami ("Falling Waves").

    2. Structure of the piece

    The piece has a two-section structure [A - A - Tsuyuharai]. From the start, there begins immediately a melody similar to the takane section of other pieces; this high-pitched melody lasts for ten breaths. The exact same melody is repeated again and then the piece ends with a three-breath tsuyuharai. (In shakuhachi honkyoku it is a principle that one phrase is played in one breath. Even if one has to take a breath in the middle, one should play with the sensation of one breath.) A tsuyuharai ("brushing away the dew") is a two or three-breath short closing melody.

    3. Special features of the piece:

    When it is played connected with Shirabe, there is a feeling that, rather than Shirabe being a separately composed introductory piece, Shirabe-Sagariha was constructed as a single piece. That is, Shirabe fills the same role as the honte in other pieces so that we can recognize a structure of [Shirabe (honte) - Takane - Takane gaeshi - Tsuyuharai]. Thus from former times Shirabe and Sagariha were linked together not from simple routine practice but rather because together they had an extremely natural feeling of structural unity.

    If one can handle the playing of Shirabe and Sagariha, then one has mastered the basics of the artistic style of Nezasa-ha, and one can comfortably proceed to the other Nezasa-ha pieces.

Katsuya Yokoyama Plays Shakuhachi - 1 Yokoyama Katsuya

    From the repertoire of the Nezasa-school of Tsugaru district. Employs special effect of komibuki, which depicts a north wind blowing through a bamboo grove. This piece had been especially loved by the lords of the Tsugaru clan.

Koten Shakuhachi Gaku Zen Shu - 5 Takeuchi Chiko

Kyorei Tokuyama Takashi

    The Tsugaru Peninsula of northern Honshu island is a unique cultural stronghold of Japan. Apart from a distinctive local dialect, the Tsugaru Peninsula has also produced unusual styles of shamisen and shakuhachi playing known as nezasaha Kinpu-ryu. Two techniques used in Shirabe - sagariha include the rhythmic blowing technique known as komibuki and a technique for using the chin to produce a low tone known as chigiri. It is said that this Tsugaru style of musicianship was influenced by the severity of the northern winters. Legend has it that when one played the shakuhachi in the winter icicles would form at the end of the flute. Shirabe-sagariha is further distinguished in the honkyoku repertoire in that it is associated with the Tsugaru samurai rather than Zen. The Tsugaru samurai were very independent and the Tsugaru daimyo even went so far as to proclaim the nezasaha kinpu-ryu as a strictly local school. This piece is actually a combination of two short pieces, the first of which was composed by a man called Ban; otherwise, the exact origins of Shirabe-sagariha are uncertain.


Meditative Shakuhachi Solos Daniel Nyohaku Soergel


Mizuho Andrew MacGregor

    In northern Japan the first snowfalls of autumn have arrived. Chill winds herald the coming winter, and the swirling snow and falling leaves form spirals and eddies.


Priests and Samurai Ryan Sullivan

    Played on Suikyo 2.1

Shakuhachi - Ryudo - 01 Takahashi Ryudo


Shakuhachi Zen John Singer

Shika no Tone Shakuhachi Koten Meikyoku Shusei - 1 Yokoyama Katsuya

    This piece was originally used for the festival of the Shinto Shrine. The authentic Honkyoku style was developed over the centuries by a gradual refinement of the playing.


Shingetsu Tajima Tadashi

    In falling, a leaf is momentarily floating free from all restraints, headed for rebirth as newly decomposed nutrients for the tree.


Spirit of Wind, The Iwamoto Yoshikazu

    "Sagariha" (Hanging Leaves) is said to capture the atmosphere of far northern Japan where there is heavy snow fall in winter.

Sui Zen - Blowing Meditation on the Shakuhachi - 04 Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin

    This piece is also pronounced Kudari-ha, and is also attributed to Ban Yasuyuki. On the recording, this piece follows Shirabe, without a break. It is usually the second Neza-Sa-Ha piece studied, and is considered to be the oldest in its repertoire. It is usually prefaced by Shirabe, for reasons of musical structural integrity. Once these two pieces are mastered, the remainder of the Neza-Sa-Ha repertoire holds few secrets or technical difficulties.

    There are other pieces from other schools, that have the same name, "Sagariha." There also are Kinko and Kyoto Meian versions of this piece. Their names are written using different Chinese characters, and they appear to be totally unrelated, different compositions.

    According to Nesa-Sa-Ha tradition, this piece was composed by a famous member of the school, perhaps a priest, who received enlightenment while listening to either the wind blowing through the bamboo brush, or the sound of waves. Since we are no longer sure if it was the brush or the waves, the piece can also be called "Sagarinami." "Ha" means "Leaves;" "Nami" means "Waves;" "Sagari" is "Falling."

    There are several stories about the origin of this piece. One attributes only the introduction to Ban Yasuyuki, and says that the piece came from the samurai, not the Zen monks of the Tsugaru area.

    Legend states that the piece was inspired by having achieved enlightenment while listening to the sounds of nature. Since we are no longer sure if it was inspired by wind blowing through the bamboo brush, or the sound of waves, the piece can also be called "Sagarinami." "Ha" means leaves, "Nami" means waves; "Sagari" is falling.

    Kuma Sasa bamboo is a small, trunkless, low bamboo bush that grows on top of the seaside cliffs in Nigata. "Kuma "means "bare," and "sasa" is the same root word for bamboo found in "sasabuki." bamboo-leaf shaped breath. This type of bamboo, which is said to be "fallen to the ground," (because it never grew up) makes a rustling sound, like the sound of the waves, as the wind gusts through it. While listening to Sagariha, one can imagine meditating on the harshness and impermanence of existence, sitting on top of the cliffs in Nigata, among the "fallen" bamboo plants, surrounded by the pulsation of wind and waves blown by the cold winds coming across from Siberia.

    Others say that Sagariha is meant to evoke a very different image: the passing of a festival cart containing drum and flute players, with the sound growing, then retreating into the distance.


Tajima Tadashi Shakuhachi no Sekai I Tajima Tadashi


Traditional Music For Two Shakuhachi Juerg Fuyuzui Zurmuehle


Tsugaru no Take no Oto Nezasa Ha Kimpu Ryu Shakuhachi Goto Seizo


Tsugaru no Take no Oto Nezasa Ha Kimpu Ryu Shakuhachi Goto Seizo

Tsuru no Sugomori - Komuso Shakuhachi Zenyoji Keisuke

    Nezasa-Ha Kimpu-Ryu is a shakuhachi school in Tsugaru-Han (Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture) and is also called "Oie-ryu" (Tsugaru family school). It is said that Yasuchika, 9th century feudal lord of Tsugaru family sent Yoshizaki Kodo Hachiya ( 1778-1855) to learn from Kurihara Kimpu in Edo (Tokyo) and that Yoshizaki returned to Tsugaru and taught this style of Shakuhachi playing. Kimpo-Ryu is also called "Dai Nezasa-Ryu" or "Nezasa-Ha". It is said to have roots in the Nezasa-Ha school based in Jijo-ji temple, a Komuso temple in Takasaki of Gunma Prefecture. However the relationship to Nezasa-Ha in Fuke sect is unclear.

    There are two distinctive techniques of the school, that is "Komi-Buki;" and "Tsugiri (chigiri)". Komi-buki is a strong breath vibrato by pulsating the breath to blow into shakuhachi and can not be found in other schools. The "Komi-buki" technique is used in the entire repertoire of the school and shares same rhythmical feeling as in Tsugaru-shamisen (percussive shamisen music popular in Tsugaru). "Tsugiri" is a consequent note pattern from Tsu to Ro with special color sound and timing which can be achieved using jaw movement. An example can be found at 0' 57" or 2' 27" on this album.

    "Shirabe" is a prelude to all the Kimpu-Ryu tunes except "Matsukaze" and means to tune the flute, the sound, the space and the player's state of mind "Sagariha" is an independent tune from "Shirabe", but has a structure and feeling to he played together with "Shirabe". Indeed these two are quite often played together.


Words Can't Go There John Kaizan Neptune

World of Zen Music, The - Shakuhachi Music from Tsugaru, Nezasa-ha Kinpu-ryu Nakamura Akikazu

    Waves rolling in and ebbing with surging energy are depicted employing the technique of "komi-buki". The title literally means "ebbing waves". The piece is reputed to have acquired this title through its association with an outstanding player belonging to the Nezasa school of shakuhachi performance who achieved enlightenment after hearing the sound of wind and waves blowing through a bamboo thicket. Another legend has it that the piece is intended to represent the sound of a festival performance group consisting of drums and flutes mounted on a festival cart gradually retreating into the distance.

    This is one of the most energetic pieces in the repertory of the Nezasa school. But at the same time the delicate melody is one of great beauty. Despite its brevity, the piece fully conveys the features of the Nezasa school. It is thought to be the earliest piece in the school's repertory.

Zen - Katsuya Yokoyama - 01 Yokoyama Katsuya

    This piece was originally used for the festival of the Shinto Shrine. The authentic Honkyoku style was developed over the centuries by a gradual refinement of the playing.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2014