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Shochikubai

松竹梅

This is a piece of genre Jiuta in the style of Tegotomono from the Ikuta Ryû - 生田 School. This piece was composed for Shamisen by the person Mitsuhashi Koto.

History (Tsuge Gen'ichi):

This piece is one of the best-known jiuta compositions of the Osaka style. The song-text consists of three parts, featuring the plum tree (with the warbler), the pine tree (with the cranes), and the bamboo (with the moon) respectively. Hence the title Sho-chiku-bai, literally meaning 'Pine, Bamboo and Plum.' These three plants are traditionally considered as symbols of happiness and is often performed on congratulatory occasions.

At the end of the second song (featuring the pine tree), a long interlude (tegoto) consisting of three sections is inserted. Here a distinctive ostinato pattern on the koto which imitates the cries of cranes is heard.

Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

Mist trailing
Across the sky
Is a sign of spring.
A peaceful light on
New Year's morning is
Brightly shining.
A warbler,
Flying through
The mountain paths
Has come to Mitsu (1)
And sings the First Song.
The plum tree begins to smile
From its southernmost branches.
Attracted by the fragrance,
The warbler sings gloriously,
The color and scent of
The flowers blown and scattered
By his feather-breeze
Are flourishing in this village-
Naniwa (2) renowned
For blossoming plums.

May your reign, my Lord,
Last forever serenely
Like the unmuddied streams
In the palace garden.
May your people, too,
Prosper all over
The Empire of the Four Seas.

A pine tree of
One thousand years,
Now decorated and
Celebrated by everyone,
Will live for endless generations,
With the sound of the wind.
On the venerable pine branches
Thriving, freshly green,
A pair of cranes
Nest and dance
In celebration
Of the everlasting reign.

And in autumn,
How delightful
Is the sight of the moon!
Passing through the treetops
The moonbeams
Filter into the bedchamber
In the early evening.
Outside the darkening night
Is filled with the voices of crickets.

How many autumns
Will they sing on?
With the distant sound
Gathered by the wind,
Bamboo clumps
Rustle at the window.

(1) Old Osaka
(2) Another name for Osaka
(maebiki)

Tachiwataru
kasumi wo sora no
shirube nite
nodokeki hikari
aratama no
haru tatsu kesa wa
ashibiki no
yamaji wo wakete
ootomo no
mitsu ni ki naku
uguisu
minami yori
waraisomu
kaori ni hikare
koe no uraraka
hakaze ni chiruya
hana no iroka mo
nao shi hae aru
kono sato no
naniwa wa ume no
nadokoro

(tegoto)

Kimigayo wa
nigorade taenu
mikawamizu
sue sumikerashi
kunitami mo
geni yutaka naru
yotsu no umi
(ai)
Chitose kagireru
tokiwagi mo
imayo no mina ni
hikarete wa
ikuyo kagiri mo
arashi fuku oto
eda mo sakayuru
wakamidori
oitatsu matsu ni
su wo kuu tsuru mo
kisashiki miyo wo
iwaimoo

(tegoto)

Aki wa nao
tsuki no keshiki mo
omoshiro ya
kozue kozue ni
sasu kage no
fushido ni utsuru
yuumagure
sotomo wa mushi no
koegoe ni
(ai)
kakete ikuyo no
aki ni naku
ne wo fukiokuru
arashi ni tsurete
soyogu wa mado no
muratake

Shochikubai appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Ikuta Ryu Sokyoku Senshu Volume 03



Japanese Koto Orchestra


    (Music of Pine, Bamboo and Plum Blossoms) is a trio for koto, shamisen and kokyu or shakuhachi. Today the kokyu is seldom heard because of its strange sound. The instrument looks like a shamisen with a violin bow, although the sound is quite different from that of any other string instrument.

    This piece is composed by Mitsuhashi Koto, representative of the classic form of composition. Sho, the pine tree, represents ever-lasting prosperity. Chiku, the bamboo,. symbolizes formality and honesty; bai, the plum blossom, represents elegance. This music is gay and happy, and yet also elegant.

    The Kokyu is played by Sadako Nishimura; the I7-string koto by Hiroko Mitsuike, and the shamisen by Shukin Noda. The koto ensemble is of the Ikuta School.

Japanese Treasures


    Shochikubai (Pine, Bamboo and Plum Blossom) is a trio for koto, shamisen and kokyu (an ancient instrument somewhat like a violin, now frequently replaced by the shamisen). This piece is in the nature of a tone painting.

Koto and Shamisen Gendai Meikyoku Shu 04


Le Koto de Yusen Kuzuhara et le Shakuhachi de Teiji Itoh Itoh Teiji Kuzuhara Yusen

Sankyoku Aoki Reibo II Takemura Ayako Satô Chikaki
Sokyoku Jiuta Taikei 25
Yonekawa Fumiko Tomizaki Shunshô
Togashi Noriko - 05 Aoki Reibo II
Togashi Noriko


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017