The Bamboo

Bamboo Used For Japanese Shakuhachis Flutes

Bamboo used for Chiku-shin Shakuhachis are made from high quality madake bamboo harvested in Japan. Good madake for shakuhachi is very difficult to find. It is usually found in the high mountain regions in Japan. Once collected, it needs to be placed over warm hot coals in order to (extract )the natural oils from the bamboo. Then, it must be left in the sun for several months to dry even more. Then, they are stored into a cool area and left for 2 to 5 years before it can even be used to make a shakuhachi. Therefore, just a bamboo shakuhachi blank can cost up to $200 or $300 US dollars.

Types of Shakuhachi Bamboo

Digging Bamboo/ Takehori in Kumamoto,

Searching for selected pieces of Madake, tools I brought with me were a simple Wood stick on each side of the stick I marked the finger hole placements. The placement of the holes needs to align correctly in between each fushi / nodes  and the length of Bamboo for 1.6, 1.8, 2.1, 2.4 were mainly the length of Shakuhachi I was looking for, and a measuring tape, looking for circumference measurements between 10.5 cm to 12.5 cm I had a long handled type of chisel which was flattened out at the end to create a larger area to cut through the roots, and a small sledgehammer to hit on the top of the long handled chisel, and a sharp Japanese saw, These were the main tools I needed for Takehori, it was very successful, I was able to dig a little over 40 pieces of Madake Bamboos. The Bamboo in Kumamoto was good quality, It had very nice ( Fu) / Coloration which occurs by fungus that grow on the Bamboo, it has a very beautiful look for shakuhachi. After digging I had the bamboo shipped to The house I stayed at in Osaka. Once I returned to Osaka and the bamboo arrived from Kumamoto, I was then able to start the aburanuki process aburanuki is the process of removing the oils from the bamboo by using fire, I went to a hardware store and picked up a big bag of charcoal. The house where I stayed has a rice Field a block away from the house, which was a perfect place for me to perform aburanuki, I made a fire pit and the aburanuki process took a couple days, Once the aburanuki was done I left the bamboo to dry out in the sun for a few days. this is necessary to bleach out the remaining green in the Bamboo. then I wrapped up securely in three different bundles and shipped to my Shakuhachi shop in the United States, One of the bundles did get opened up by customs. all of the green was gone you cannot ship green bamboo or plants. And in some cases they will not ship the bamboo, depending on what shipping company, I suppose they are not sure if it can be done or not. After I arrive back to the states and another week had passed the Bamboo had arrived which was a exciting moment to open the package, and see what I had worked so hard to achieve!