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Kokû (Fudaiji)

虚空

This is a piece of genre Koten from the Fudaiji School.

History:

Written by 13th century priest Kyochiku Zenji, who heard this music in a dream.

Kokû (Fudaiji) appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen

Japanese Masterpieces for the Shakuhachi Yes

    This long piece is played by two shakuhachis and a gong at Meianji, Kyoto, originally the headquarters of the Fuke sect. It was composed by a priest named Kyochiku in the 12th Century while meditating at a temple in Nara. In a dream he found himself floating in a boat. Suddenly thick mist rolled down the sky and blocked his view of the moon. On hearing the moving melody of a flute, he reached out for his favorite bamboo flute to accompany the ethereal melody. The music is long and simple, and the listener is expected to forget everything and "sleep in nothingness".

Japanese Masterpieces for the Shakuhachi (LP) Yes

    This long piece is played by two shakuhachis and a gong at Meianji, Kyoto, originally the headquarters of the Fuke sect. It was composed by a priest named Kyochiku in the 12th Century while meditating at a temple in Nara. In a dream he found himself floating in a boat. Suddenly thick mist rolled down the sky and blocked his view of the moon. On hearing the moving melody of a flute, he reached out for his favorite bamboo flute to accompany the ethereal melody. The music is long and simple, and the listener is expected to forget everything and "sleep in nothingness".


Japon Yokoyama Katsuya

    Vacuity

    This piece is considered to be one of the oldest in the Shakuhachi repertory. Its title suggests an imagery of Sunyata (Vacuity); the performer tries in his execution to attain that state of Sunyata where, stripped of his personal Self, one arrives at an identifying with the Absolute in being neither subservient to material things nor released from them. One can see from this an example of how Japanese musicians since the middle ages have sought spirituality in their art.

Jin Nyodo No Shakuhachi 05 Jin Nyodo

    Fudai-ji: KOKU

    2-shaku 1-sun
    10 min. 52 sec.

    1. About the title:

    This is one of the Three Traditional Pieces (Koten-Sankyoku): please consult the section of that name in "Commonly Used Titles." All of the Koten-Sankyoku have been passed down in a superior form within Fudai-ji.

    2. Structure of the piece:

    It has a five-part structure. In a broad sense sections I and II as well as sections III and IV are related as variations of each other, repeating almost the identical theme. Suction V is made up of a takane and musubi. A more detailed examination follows:

    I: The piece opens with the most characteristic melody of the piece which begins with the Ko-no-re tone repeated three times. It is a transparently beautiful melody; the use of this melody alone is common to all koku pieces and it can be said to be the most typical melody of these works. Section I is constructed of two large phrases beginning with this melody.

    II: This section repeats the two phrases of I with only some alteration of the last half of each.

    III: It begins with a new melody which changes the mood, but in the middle section the characteristic melody from the beginning of the piece appears briefly again. Then the second characteristic phrase is spelled out again, proceeding in a subtly sinuous manner utilizing yuri.

    IV: This begins with the same melodic pattern as the opening of III, only transposed and with some variation. Continuing, it moves to a melody utilizing the horo-horo sound pattern and after a transitional melody, the second characteristic phrase which occurred in the latter half of III is repeated again in a lengthened form.

    V: This section corresponds to the takane and musubi. After a resonant takane melody is repeated twice, the melody descends somewhat. Then again reversing itself, the music proceeds with strong blowing reflecting the exalted feeling of
    a takane and then ends with a weaker tone which has risen to the highest range. With that the mood of the piece has become tranquil, and as the musubi, the second half of IV is repeated. The piece then concludes with a gentle closing ro-tone.

    3. Special features of the piece:

    This work possesses a feeling of vast and hazy infinity quite appropriate to its title, and can be considered one of the superior versions of koku. It has both a highly polished and remarkable musical structure and a beauty of high quality
    which conveys a spiritual transparency. Seen in either of these aspects, it is a famous work which has deserved to become highly valued as one of the Koten-Sankyoku. If we suppose that there existed a Gen-Koku (gen = original/proto-), we can also assume that the spirit and shape of that works manifested itself most beautifully in Fudai-ji Koku. Moreover, the Koku of Myoan Taizan-ryu is of the Fudai-ji lineage so that it is naturally the same piece. Likewise the piece in the Itcho-ken tradition is the same work.

    It is said that if this piece is played in a penetrating manner, all delusion will fade away and a quiet spirit of fusion with the great void (koku) will arise.

Kaze no Kai; Shakuhachi Koten Honkyoku Shu


Meianji Shoden Shakuhachi Honkyoku Shu 03 Yoshimura sôshin Fuan

Shika no Tone Shakuhachi Koten Meikyoku Shusei - 2 Yokoyama Katsuya

    Kokuu means literally sky, but it also has the more profound meaning of the sublimity of the mind. This piece is said to have been composed over seven hundred years ago and is regarded as one of the three oldest classical works of Shakuhachi music.

Sokkan Taniguchi Yoshinobu

    Koku, Kyorei and Mukaiji are the three oldest songs (Koden Sankyoku) for shakuhachi. There are at least half-a-dozen different transmissions of this song from various temples and sects in Japan. Fudaiji Koku is played in order to experience the boundaries of mu. Mu is often translated as "nothingness", but in reality is the illusionary aspects of various phenomena of existence "there" or "not there", "still" or "moving", "alive" or "dead", etc.

Yonin no Kai Ensemble - Japan Sankyoku Kitahara Kozan II

    Vacuity

    This piece is considered as one of the most ancient in the repertoire for shakuhachi. Its title identifies it as a musical evocation of Sunyata (Vacuity). As he plays, the musician tries to attain a state of selfless detachment where he is no longer enslaved by this material world, although not yet liberated from it, and he strives to merge with the universal consciousness. This shows how much the artists playing shakuhachi were committed, through music, to their quest for spirituality.

Zen - Katsuya Yokoyama - 02 Yokoyama Katsuya

    Kokuu means literally sky, but it also has the more profound meaning of the sublimity of the mind. This piece is said to have been composed over seven hundred years ago and is regarded as one of the three oldest classical works of Shakuhachi music.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018