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The International Shakuhachi Society

Saji

薩慈

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

Saji appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Chikusei


Hotchiku (CD) Watazumi Doso Roshi

    Saji is a rhythmic piece from Kyushu, and is the genesis for all of Watazumi's playing. The song expresses the Way of Nature of Watazumi-Do, and has been rendered here into something uniquely Japanese.

    This song's purpose is to immerse oneself in the workings of the heart and spirit, and its tone should be reminiscent of the wide, unbound sea.

    The transmission of Saji might occur only once in a lifetime. First one trains with the song Saji, then progresses to Saji, then finally to the pinnacle Bosatsu. To complete this discipline is so difficult that the transmission of Saji and Daibosatsu may not occur, and these pieces may end with Watazumi.

    Since Saji is the most challenging of all the pieces, Watazumi tried and discarded many hocchiku before finding one capable of playing it. The hocchiku he finally settled on was a piece named So made especially for him by someone who, if he were alive today, would be over 100 years old. It is a 2.4 shaku hocchiku.

Ichion Jobutsu Matsumoto Kyozan

Koku Monden Tekiku

Kyotaku Nishimura Koku

    A song about the love of Boddisatva. Arrangement by Koku Nishimura.

Shakuhachi - Ryudo - 01 Takahashi Ryudo


Spirit of Wind, The Iwamoto Yoshikazu

    "Saji" (Compassion of Bodhisattva) belonged to the komuso tradition of Itchoken temple in Kyushu (southern Japan). The title brings to mind compassionate acts of Kannon Bosatsu (Sanskrit, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, Goddess of Mercy) who, on hearing the call of the suffering in the world, immediately extends her helping hand in versatile ways. The title might also cause one to think of Jizo Bosatsu (Sanskrit, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva) whose statue stands by the roadside in Japan as a guardian deity of children.

World of Zen Music, The - Saji Nakamura Akikazu

    This is a piece which was introduced into the Itchoken komuso temple at Hakata in Kyushu by a monk named Shinshichi. It is the most dramatic piece in the repertoire. It was eventually transmitted to Kyoto and to the Kanto region where variants of the original piece became known Aji no kyoku and Ajikan respectively.

    Three versions of the piece were performed at the Itchoken, differentiated according to the classification commonly used in Japanese calligraphy and the performing arts into shin (orthodox), gyo (intermediate) and so (unorthodox). These versions are known respectively as Bosashi (or Yamagoe), Yurisashi (or Saji) and Nerisashi (or Daibosatsu).

    The title of the piece is taken from the Sanskrit syllable sa, which symbolises the manifestation of bodhisattvas. The music is thus intended to depict the rigorous austerities undergone by an aspirant until his emergence as a bodhisattva.

    The shakuhachi became internationally known during the 1960s primarily on account of a performance of this piece by Watazumidoso. However, owing to its enormous technical difficulty, the piece has been only very rarely performed over the past three decades. Akikazu Nakamura has now revived Sashi and added it to his repertoire. He uses the
    technique of circular breathing to enhance the dramatic and technical qualities of the music.


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

    This is the "semi-cursive" (gyo) version of the three Saji pieces, also known as Yuri-saji. Some take the view that the title of the piece is taken from the Sanskrit syllable sa, which symbolizes the manifestation of bodhisattvas, and that the music is thus intended to depict the rigorous austerities undergone by an aspirant until his emergence as a bodhisattva. On the first album in this series, The World of Zen Music: Saji, the piece was performed on a 2 shaku 3 sun length shakuhachi, but in this performance it is given an even deeper and more forceful tone through use of the very long 3 shaku 1 sun instrument.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017