Tom Deaver went to Japan in his mid-twenties and fell completely under the spell of the shakuhachi. He stayed on to become a live-in apprentice to one of Japan's most famous and respected master Shakuhachi craftsmen, Tamai Chikusen, from 1969 until 1975. In late 1975 he founded his own craft shop with the hearty good wishes and support of his teacher.|
During his apprenticeship Tom also studied Shakuhachi playing under Hoshida Ichizan, a very senior teacher in the Tozan Sect of shakuhachi. At the end of 1973 he received the Jun Shi Han License. The licensing examination involved music composition, chanting of musical scores, playing in three different styles and writing notation as scores were played by examiners. Subsequently he received permission from Hoshida Ichizan to study the Koten Honkyoku under Sakai Chikuho, head of Chikuho Sect Shakuhachi. In May 1976, he further received permission from Hoshida Sensei to undertake study of the Kinko Sect Shakuhachi Honkyoku from Nakagawa Ginrei.
In March, 1977, received the Shi Han teaching credential from Sakai Chikuho. The following July he opened the Ichiyo School of Shakuhachi in Aspen, Colorado, at the Aspen Academy, where he taught shakuhachi playing each summer for three consecutive years. In late 1979, he moved his craft shop and family to the central valley of Japan, finally putting down roots high in the Japan Southern Alps. It is there where he continued his craft of fashioning bamboo into fine shakuhachi up until his death in the Summer of 2010.