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Dr. Josh Smith - Shakuhachi Player

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I have lived in Japan for 12 years now and recently returned to the Western New York Area. I study the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute, under Okada Michiaki, who is a student of the famous Yokoyama Katsuya. I focus mainly on the traditional Zen solo pieces called honkyoku, but also play modern and traditional classical music with the koto and shamisen and have recently been experimenting more. I received my Master's from Osaka University with my graduation thesis entitled "Shaped by the Wind: Artistic and Cultural Identity Formation of Shakuhachi Players." I received my Doctorate in March of 2010 in their Doctoral program in the Cultural Sociology department. In December, 2009, I was ordained (tokudo) as a Koyasan Shingon Buddhist priest at Taimadera Nakanobo temple in Nara Pref. The kemyou, or publicly used Buddhist name, I received was "Joshu" (??).
In February 2009, I received the title of "Master Performer" (??) from Taimadera Nakanobo. In August and September of 2006 I did the Shikoku 88 Temples Pilgrimage, playing at all of the temple's Daishi-do and the Hondo (main temple). It was a tough 1 1/2 months of hiking (1,400 kilometers) and sleeping in my tent, except when the typhoons came and I kept refuge at some of the temples, a well needed rest. That following winter I returned for a week and walked Tokushima prefecture again, my fingers were freezing playing in the cold!
I have concentrated on performing mostly around Nara and the Kansai area, but recently have moved back to Grand Island, NY and am concentrating on Buffalo and the WNY area and Japan. I am a member of the Komuso Kenkyukai or research group, as well as a friend of Ishikawa Toshimitsu's "Ishi no Kai". The 2008 World Shakuhachi Festival was held in Sydney, Australia. On July 5th I took 2nd place in the S-1 Grand Prix Young Players Competition World Final’s Concert.

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