Perhaps no other instrument in the traditional music of Japan is as easily recognizable as the shakuhachi; an end-blown, bamboo flute. Originally played by itinerant monks as a form of meditation, it has endured centuries of change throughout Japan’s history. For six generations, the Araki family has shepherded this tradition under the name of Kodō. Named for his great-great grandfather, Hanzaburō made his professional debut in 1988 in Japan only four months after his first lesson from his father. In 2009, the name Kodō was bestowed upon him by his father to become the sixth in his family’s lineage to bear this title. This legacy continues to be the most influential in the genre, offering an unbroken connection to the roots of this haunting music. In the midst of a catastrophic year for the performing arts, there was a silver lining: Araki was able to take possession of an extremely rare flute made by his great-great-grandfather. The unexpected reunification with a shakuhachi made by his namesake, the isolation of the pandemic, and over 30 years in the music industry, created an apt circumstance for a recording to honor the flute, his father, and grandfathers. In January of 2021, he released an album titled Hankyō (Reverberation) with both traditional and more contemporary compositions.
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