Shakuhachi Terminology

lit. "long-pipe." Generally applied to flutes over two shaku in length.

The maker's stamp

a small "ledge" added to the top of a shakuhachi in the back, where the chin rests, to decrease the size of the hole at the top; done when the natural dimensions of the bamboo require it.

a pasty mixture of tonoko, a gypsum-like material, and urushi, Japanese lacquer, used to smooth out and fine-tune the bore of shakuhachi. The application of ji is what gives ji-ari shakuhachi their rich, powerful, smooth tone, but generally speaking the less ji applied the better.

lit. "having-ji." Shakuhachi used to play modern music, ensmble music, and honkyoku of the Kinko, Tozan, Chikuho, Ueda, and other schools over the last 150 years have been overwhelmingly of this type.

lit. "without ji." Ji-nashi shakuhachi characteristically have a softer, earthier, less penetrating tone than ji-ari shakuhachi.

lit. "nothing(ness), negation, not" Ko/kara/kuu means empty.

no name, from "mu" or empty, and "mei"or name. A flute whose maker did not put a hanko on the instrument.

a traditional Japanese length , equal to 30.3 cm.

one-tenth of a shaku, or 3.03 cm.

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