February, 2013: Restored 75+ Year Old Kyozan 1.8 Shakuhachi – Original Bore. Kyozan was a very prolific and very fine shakuhachi maker in the early 1900’s. This pre-war flute is a prime example of his skill and tonal honing expertise. “Non-invasive” repairs were done to the front face of the utaguchi (which had some chipping), all new sub-surface bindings were installed throughout, new mentori rattan was re-applied to the upper five (exactly the same as the old ones that were beginning to fail), and a new, inlaid rattan binding was added between #4 & #5. The center joint was re-bound and wrapped with decorative rattan, and one light coat of lacquer was all that was needed to snug up the joint. In keeping with its “unaltered nature”, I opted not to apply any aesthetic lacquer to the bore at the inside of the blowing edge, simply to cover up a tiny amount of wear from over a half century of use.
After a general clean-up, this is now an A-grade shakuhachi with a seasoned, warm, full bodied tone and very nice ro’s, all born from a beautiful piece of dense madake with great markings. The deep golden patina really underscores its age and history, and the wear at the finger holes only further acknowledges the appeal of this well-played instrument. I had been saving my last, vintage (1800’s) paulownia scroll box to mate with just the right shakuhachi, and this was it.