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The International Shakuhachi Society

Kondô Sôetsu


1821? - 1867


Kondo Soetsu (1890 to 66) was born in Nagasaki. Very fond of music as a child, he excelled in the “charamala” street vendor’s flute, and was nicknamed “Charamela Soetsu” Soon he took to the shakuhachi becoming very proficient. As an adult, he moved to Kyoto and went to Myoan-ji where he studied under the supervisor priest Ozaki Shinryu. Soestsu later rose to position of Supervisor Priest and afterwards based himself in Osaka. He supposedly learned jiuta and koto pieces, but he was adopted into the family of the famous jiuta master Furukawa Kengyo and notated jiuta and koto pieces in order to create shakuhachi parts for them. From this time on, the number of his students grew. Before Soetsu, there was an Osaka shakuahachi player named Kachiku, who also had several students. When Soetsu arrived on the scene, however, most of Kachiku’s students decided they wanted to study with Soetsu. Kachiku himself went to learn from Soetsu, who by now had become an undisputed master of the instrument. His style, officially called the “Myoan Soetsu Style” included such persons as Majima Kakuo, Tsukahara Gyokudo, and Kida Kakushu who became the pliers of the post-Meiji Restoration shakuhachi world in Osaka. The Soetsu style doesn’t exist today, but many of the Kansai shakuhachi players where strongly influenced by the Soetsu style.

From Christopher Yohmei Blasdel’s and Yuko Kamisongo’s “The Shakuhachi a manual for learning”


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018