Friday, November 28, 2008

Scouring the groves

I've been involved in searching madake bamboo groves in central Kyushu, Japan for suitable bamboo to make shakuhachi for the past 22 years. My interest began when my teacher, Tsurugi Kodo, asked me to join he and his father (master maker Tsurugi Kyomudo) in the bamboo hunt. The more hands, the easier the task was. I came to enjoy the atmosphere offered in the quiet of a large bamboo grove. Typically every year we harvest about 40 or 50 culms (pieces of bamboo including the root) for making shakuhachi. It's hard work, but very enjoyable. In recent times, my teacher Tsurugi Kodo and I have been hosting an international group headed by shakuhachi maker/teacher Alcvin Ramos from Vancouver, Canada.. We take the tour members through the process of choosing a suitable piece of bamboo according to their needs, and doing initial preparation like aburanuki which is a process of removing the oils and resins from the bamboo and begins the long curing process. We are very pleased to share our time and knowledge with those who seek it out. In this way we are perpetuating this ancient craftAlcvin Ramos from Bamboo-In, Canada


  1. Hey Jeff it's me Jon Ronnie's student. I was happy to find your blog here. Would you like to share links with me here and maybe also on your site? My site is

    Hopefully I can come on my own one day to learn how to harvest bamboo and start teaching people here in the states. All about keeping it alive.


  2. It sounds nice. I want to try to that work. In Japan, there is story which is about be born from bamboo. Japanese also use bamboo to "Shishi-odoshi". I found that bamboo root our life.

  3. Hi Lily,
    Hunting for bamboo is wonderful and I would be happy to introduce it to you at some time.

  4. Oh the wonderful, captivating beauty of "Take Hori". Every nerve aware... the sweet, pungent scent of bamboo, silent wind shattered by hatchet and saw, crackling of roots, a metamorphosis beginning.

    Thank you, Jeff! Were it not for yourself, I would never have experienced it.

    (I still think you and the Tsurugi's intentionally dulled the hatchet, though, as my hazing :).

    In deep gratitude...