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100 Year Commemoration Concert
Honoring Seifu Yoshida's 1923 USA Shakuhachi Concert Tour

The date was September 1, 1923, and the event was the Great Kanto Earthquake, at the time considered the worst natural disaster ever to strike quake-prone Japan. The initial jolt was followed a few minutes later by a 40-foot-high tsunami. A series of towering waves swept away thousands of people (410,000 houses were burned or destroyed). Many foreign countries including the U.S.A. rushed to help the people and government of Japan.

At the time, Seifu Yoshida (1890–1950), born in Nagasu, Kumamoto-ken, Japan, was a well known Shakuhachi Grand Master. He not only performed all over the islands of Japan, China and Korea, but also taught shakuhachi music whenever and wherever invited to instruct.


The people of Japan were very grateful for the assistance they received during their recovery and so Seifu Yoshida offered a Japanese music concert tour to the U.S. to express Japan’s deep feeling of gratitude and appreciation. Also, he believed that Japanese music was unique and well worth sharing with westerners. He toured the U.S. playing Shakuhachi and Koto music with his wife, Kyoko Yoshida, starting from each island of Hawaii then to California. With his straight forward actions, it is easy to assume that the musicians of the U.S. respected his spirit of motivation and immediate action.  And so began the introduction of Shakuhachi to the Western World.

In 1931, he was formally invited by the USA (Pro-Musica Society), and again performed in Honolulu, Hilo, Maui, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Boston, and other cities.

One of our featured performers and the founder of the Japanese Music Institute, Masayuki Koga's, father Kiichi Koga (1907-1983) was one of Yoshida’s students in Omuta City.  He has organized this concert to express his own deep appreciation for Yoshida's transmission of the profoundly spiritual Shakuhachi tradition to the Western World where he has continued that effort over the last 50 years since moving to the United States in 1973.  

Seifu Yoshida.jpg

Seifu Yoshida (1890-1950)

1925 Unpo Takashima Woodcut Cropped3.jpg

Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall - October 18, 2023 8PM


Section I - Traditional and Semi-modern Music

1. Rokudan

Written by Yatsuhashi Kengyou (1614-1685) Music of Six Steps (Rokudan) is a representative style of Koto music composed by Yatsuhashi Kengyo (Kengyuo is an honorary title given to blind Koto masters). Yatsuhashi was an epic figure in the koto universe, and his compositions have been widely handed down.

Shakuhachi: Jordan Simmons, Takeo Uetsuhara, Stuart Goodnick, Masaru Koga

2. Dawn in the Forest

Original composition by Masayuki Koga. The song represents a dawn in the forest and shows that during the dawn, while the complete darkness of the night still remains, there is a feeling of something approaching; a feeling of anticipation that the morning sun will arrive.

with Morning Dew

You can see the light and dew on the leaves as it begins shining. This song represents the final transition from night to day, with the view of the multiple rays of the morning sun touching the earth.

Shakuhachi: Masayuki Koga, Jordan Simmons, Takeo Uetsuhara, Stuart Goodnick, Masaru Koga 

3. Distant Cry of Deer

Traditional shakuhachi solo written in 1650's depicting two deer calling to each other in the woods.  You can feel the excitement build as they approach each other, eventually joining together and then parting ways as they once again travel along their own paths.

Shakuhachi: Masayuki Koga

Dance: Ranko Ogura

------------- Intermission ------------

Section II - Improvisation

4. Duet: Shakuhachi and Piano/Saxophone

Shakuhachi: Masayuki Koga

Piano/Saxophone: Masaru Koga

5. Duet: Taiko and Piano/Saxophone

Taiko: Kenny Endo

Piano/Saxophone: Masaru Koga

Dance: Ranko Ogura

6. Trio: Shakuhachi, Taiko and Piano

Shakuhachi: Masayuki Koga

Taiko: Kenny Endo

Piano: Masaru Koga

Dance: Ranko Ogura 

7. Duet: Shakuhachi and Taiko

Shakuhachi: Masayuki Koga

Taiko: Kenny Endo

8. Trio: Shakuhachi, Taiko and Piano

Shakuhachi: Masayuki Koga

Taiko: Kenny Endo

Piano: Masaru Koga

Dance: Ranko Ogura


Jordan Simmons

Stuart Goodnick

Takeo Uetsuhara

Masaru Koga

The signal of the end of the Trio:

“Kōjō no Tsuki" Old Castle in the Moon

A Japanese song written in the Meiji period.  Japanese pianist and composer Rentarō Taki composed the music as a music lesson song without instrumental accompaniment in 1901.

Then finishing the program with final Melody of the:

“Akatonbo“ with all performers

Lyrics by Miki Rofu (poet)

Melody by Yamada Kosaku (one of the most well known Japanese composers), 1927.

The subject of the song is of a red dragonfly (akatombo) gliding over the beautiful sunset on a fall day.  The melody and the words are very nostalgic and associate a childhood in the countryside with the brilliant red of the akatombo.  For each of us, the memory the song brings back is different, and puts gentle fingers around the heartstrings and squeezes hearts as we remember.  A popular song much loved in Japan.

Greeting: All performers appear on the Stage.


Japanese Music Institute of America

The Japanese Music Institute of America (JMI), a non-profit, was founded by Masayuki in 1981 to introduce the highest quality of Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) music to the U.S. Since then, JMI has fostered the appreciation and study of both traditional and contemporary musical practice with private instruction and ensemble training, comprising the core of JMI’s offerings. In addition, JMI presents concerts, produces recordings and publishes music texts.



Get Tickets and Join Our Celebration!

If you would like to join our celebration at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on October 18, 2023 - 8PM, please follow the link below to our Carnegie Hall's performance website.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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