Sankyoku workshop: discover the Yamada style


The 21th Chikumeisha France Shakuhachi Workshop

May 12, 13, and 14, 2023

Shinan: Gunnar Jinmei Linder

with Christophe Kazan Gaston (shakuhachi)

Fumie Hihara (shamisen, vocals) and Etsudo Chida (koto, vocals)

Organized by Chikumeisha France Lesson Center        フランス竹盟社教場


Centre Rudolf Noureev
3 rue Romain Rolland
91700 Sainte Geneviève-des-Bois


Friday 12: Teachers concert

Saturday 13: Lecture concert (conference by Gunnar Jinmei Linder with musical excerpts)

Price and registration

Total beginners and audit only30€

All participants can audit all parts of the workshop and listen to the concerts. The level indication is an indication of teaching level. Intermediate-advanced means that the instruction will be based on the assumption that the participants are acquainted with basic and most of the more advanced techniques.

For beginner level, the assumption is that the participants can make a stable sound in at least the two basic registers, and are acquainted with basic techniques.

Total beginners will have a total of 3 hours of instruction on Friday. Instruments will be available to borrow for the whole workshop. Instruction will be in French (or English if required).

Total beginners are also welcome to audit other parts of the workshop.

Registration is mandatory by email to Please indicate the level you choose (total beginner, beginner, or intermediate/advanced).

You will then receive detailed information about the workshop and payment.

When payment is complete, you will receive a link to download the material studied during the workshop.

This price does not include accomodation.

Pieces taught at the workshop

Honkyoku (kinko-ryū fundamental pieces)

  • Intermediate-Advanced: “Shimotsuke Kyorei” 下野虚霊 3 hour Workshop
  • Intermediate-Advanced: “Koro Sugagaki” renkan 転菅垣 3 hour Master Class
  • Beginners: “Akita Sugagaki” 秋田菅垣 3 hour Workshop

“Shimotsuke Kyorei” is a fairly short honkyoku of less than 15 minutes duration. We go through special features, and finally play the whole piece together.

“Koro Sugagaki” (renkan) is an approximately 10-minute honkyoku duet. We go through special features, and finally play the whole piece together.

“Akita Sugagaki” an important honkyoku at the beginning of the repertoire, consisting of three parts: the Akita part in the beginning and at the end, and the Sugagaki part in the middle. This piece can also be played as a duet (renkan) version.

Gaikyoku (repertoire of sankyoku ensemble pieces, with strings and vocals)

  • Intermediate-Advanced: “Enoshima no Kyoku” 江の島の曲 4 hour Workshop
  • Intermediate-Advanced: “Matsukaze” 松風 3 hour Workshop
  • Beginners: “Hototogisu” 郭公 3 hour Workshop

“Enoshima no Kyoku” is an intermediate yamada-ryū sōkyoku piece, and supposedly the first piece by Yamada Kengyō (1757–1817), composed in 1777. Enoshima is a small island close to Kamakura, dedicated to Benzaiten (Sarasvatī), the goddess of music and wisdom, in Japan often depicted playing the lute biwa. Technically it is not an extremely difficult piece for the shakuhachi, but it requires stamina and mental focus on the vocal part, as do all Yamada pieces.

“Matsukaze” is a typical yamada-ryū sōkyoku piece, composed towards the end of the Edo period by two composers, Nakanoshima Kengyō (1838–94) and Yamaki Kengyō (1838–73), probably in the 1860s or at least before 1873. It gives a good introduction to the Yamada school, which is quite different from the sankyoku pieces we have studied so far. Matsukaze is the name of a nicely ornamented koto, presented to a young woman by her parents, as a gift after her young husband had passed away.

“Hototogisu” is another well-known piece by Yamada Kengyō, most likely composed in 1809. Famous as this piece may be it is not included in the Chikumeisha curriculum, but as lovely as it is I find it a suitable introduction to the yamada-ryū sōkyoku style, It is fairly short and does not contain many difficult sections for the shakuhachi.

Different levels

Beginner level Friday + 2 hours on Saturday

Beginners will work on the honkyoku piece “Akita Sugagaki” for two hours and on the gaikyoku piece “Hototogisu” for two additional hours. This session on “Hototogisu” will be with shakuhachi only.

Beginners have one hour each on “Hototogisu” and “Akita Sugagaki”, and should also try to audit the other parts of the workshop. Technically, it should be possible to follow the flow of both “Enoshima no Kyoku” and “Matsukaze”. The Yamada pieces contain a lot of vocal parts that demand a sensitivity on behalf of the shakuhachi player. Please note, though, that the tempo in teaching will be aligned towards the intermediate-advanced participants.

The renkan session of “Koro Sugagaki” is technically rather difficult, but beginners are welcome to audit.

Total beginners Friday 3, up to 3 hours

Even total beginners are welcome for separate instruction on Friday. Instruments will be available to borrow for the workshop. Instruction in French, or English if required.

Total beginners are also welcome to audit other parts of the workshop.

Program of the workshop

Friday, May 12

Saturday, May 13

Sunday, May 14