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Kiso Bushi

木曽節

This is a piece of genre Min'yo from the Min'yo School.

Kiso Bushi appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Flower Dance - Japanese Folk Melodies


    The folk song in Kiso, in the central part of Japan. It is about Ontake mountain, which the travelers had to climb to reach other parts of the country. After a better road was built to link the eastern with the western region of Japan, Kiso bushi was adopted into Bon-dance music to accompany the July Bon festivals.

Japan Revisited


Journey of the Wind


Koto Melodies of Japan - Hogaku Yonin no Kai (The Four Players Group)


    In the middle part of the Japanese mainland there are the beautiful wooded Kiso Mountains. To all people who live in that district this tune is like a theme song. The music starts with a free arpeggio of koto. Next shakuhachi plays a melody which reminds us of a quiet heart of mountains. Then koto and seventeen-stringed koto change into a delightful melody that symbolizes the beginning of day.

Memories of Japan Riley Kelly Lee

Shakuhachi Folk Tunes - Vol 3


Traditional Music of Japan, The - 03


    This is a folk song of the Kiso mountain district in Nagano prefecture northeast of Nagoya. It was a song for a Sake party and called, Nakanori-san. Later, at the end of the Meiji Era, a Bon-dance was devised for the song and the name was changed to Kisobushi which became popular throughout Japan. Bon or Urabon as previously mentioned is an old Buddhist festival held in the summer throughout the country to call upon the spirits of the dead. In town and country people gather to the dance festival in which they enjoy the Bon dance of their own district.

    Nakanori-san, the older name of the piece, means raftsman and appears again and again in each stanza. The first stanza is as follows.

    Raftsmen of Kiso
    That great peak in Kiso
    Is freezing even in summer
    We wish we could give it
    Some warm clothing
    And warm stockings, too.

    The song is accompanied by the Shamisen tuned in Honchoshi and the Taiko. It is composed in the Yo-mode.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018