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Torsten Olafsson

Olafsson, Torsten

Torsten Olafsson - musician, composer, musicologist, writer, editor, graphics designer, and Japanologist - entered the path of music when taking up the piano, the recorder and dancing in his early childhood. While exploring new instruments such as the acoustic guitar, vibraphone, Indian tabla and percussion, Torsten also studied Chinese Culture and Eastasian music at the University of Copenhagen since 1968.

Becoming deeply fascinated with Eastern music forms and philosophies, he decided to learn the shakuhachi and the extraordinary Zen Buddhist tradition of that instrument commonly known as 'Fuke Shakuhachi'. After three years of intensive Japanology studies, Torsten finally made his way to Japan. Enrolling as a special research student in Japanese Arts & Aesthetics at Kyôto University (1977-78), he was also accepted as a Fuke Shakuhachi student at the Kyôto Zen temple, Myôan-ji. There, under the guidance of Ozawa Seizan, Torsten was initiated into the secrets of the particularly ascetic, Buddhist shakuhachi tradition known as 'Myôan Shakuhachi'. While doing research in Tokyo in 1986, Torsten also studied the shakuhachi with Yokoyama Katsuya.

His solo album "Standing Waves - Zen Shakuhachi Meditations", recorded in 1983, was successfully re-released on CD by Fønix Musik, Denmark, in November 2001. Along with several decades of contemporary music research and music publishing activities, Torsten Olafsson has undertaken thorough academic studies in the history and ideology of the Japanese shakuhachi. Torsten has written a number of essays and radio lectures on the subject of Far Eastern music, philosophy and art, and performed as a shakuhachi soloist.

Full title of website:
禅尺八真理研究 ホームページ
The Zen Shakuhachi Truth Research Web Pages
Introduction & Critical Guide to the Study of Early Ascetic Shakuhachi History & Ideology in Particular
Torsten Olafsson • 無穴笛• オーラフソン トーステン • デンマーク • Denmark



Standing Waves (CD)

Deep meditative clarity of great beauty. A deep and rich experience is waiting for everyone who choose 'Standing Waves'.

Tracks Recorded

Choshi (Taizan Ha)Standing Waves (CD)
Hachigaeshi (Taizan Ha)Standing Waves (CD)
Hi Fu Mi Cho (Taizan Ha)Standing Waves (CD)
Kyushu Reibo (Taizan Ha)Standing Waves (CD)
San'ya (Taizan Ha)Standing Waves (CD)
ShizuStanding Waves (CD)


Early Seventeenth Century Ascetic Shakuhachi Ideology. The Kaido Honsoku. A Komoso's Fuke Shakuhachi Credo. Dated 1628. M.A. thesis in Japanology. Also published on CD-rom by Tai Hei Shakuhachi, Willits, CA, 2003.

University of Copenhagen1988146English

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018