1st Edition

Jiuta Sōkyoku Lyrics and Explanations Songs of the Floating World

Edited By Christopher Yohmei Blasdel Copyright 2024
    362 Pages 25 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    362 Pages 25 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Jiuta Sōkyoku Lyrics and Explanations is a compendium of seventy-three representative songs from the well-known genre of traditional Japanese Edo-period sankyoku ensemble music.

    Including extensive annotations along with commentaries and notes on their musical and performative aspects, the collection begins with an overview which traces the history of the jiuta sōkyoku genre and the various socio-political influences at work in its formation. The translations and analyses are followed by a substantive glossary and bibliography, allowing for a deeper understanding of both the literary and musical aspects of jiuta sōkyoku compositions.

    Jiuta Sōkyoku Lyrics and Explanations is a comprehensive anthology that will be of great interest to researchers, including ethnomusicologists, Japanese studies scholars and poetry lovers who are fascinated with the literary and musical impact of the Edo period.

    Lists of Figures



    1.  Introduction

    2.  Introduction to the Art of Jiuta Sōkyoku

    3.  Aki no Koto no Ha秋の言の葉

    4.  Aki no Kyoku 秋の曲

    5.  Akikaze no Kyoku 秋風の曲

    6.  Azuma-jishi 吾妻獅子

    7.  Chaondo 茶音頭

    8.  Chidori no Kyoku 千鳥の曲

    9.  Chikubushima 竹生島

    10.  Chiyo no Uguisu 千代の鶯

    11.  Chōgonka no Kyoku 長恨歌の曲

    12.  Echigo-jishi 越後獅子

    13.  Enoshima no Kyoku 江ノ島の曲

    14.  Fune no Yume 舟の夢

    15.  Fuyu no Kyoku 冬の曲

    16.  Godan-ginuta 五段砧

    17.  Hagi no Tsuyu 萩の露

    18.  Haru no Kyoku 春の曲

    19.  Hototogisu ほととぎす

    20.  Imakomachi 今小町

    21  Iso Chidori 磯千鳥

    22  Kaede no Hana楓の花

    23  Kaji Makura楫枕

    24  Katsura O 桂男

    25  Keshi no Hana けしの花

    26  Kogō no Kyoku 小督の曲

    27  Konkai こんかい(狐今、吼噦)

    28  Kotobuki Kurabe 寿くらべ

    29  Kurokami 黒髪

    30  Kyoku Nezumi 曲鼠

    31  Mama no Kawa ままの川

    32  Matsukaze 松風

    33  Meiji Shōchikubai 明治松竹梅

    34   Mitsu no Keshiki 三つの景色

    35  Mitsuyama三津山

    36  Miyako no Haru 都の春

    37  Miyama-jishi 御山獅子

    38  Nanakomachi 七小町

    39  Nasuno 那須野

    40  Natsu no Kyoku 夏の曲

    41  Nebiki no Matsu 根曳の松

    42  Onoe no Matsu 尾上の松

    43  Ōmi Hakkei 近江八景

    44  Ōuchiyama 大内山

    45  Saga no Aki 嵯峨の秋

    46  Saigyō-zakura 西行桜

    47  Sakura-gari 桜狩

    48  Sakura-gawa 桜川

    49  Sasa no Tsuyu 笹の露

    50  Shiki no Nagame 四季の眺

    51  Shin Aoyagi 新青柳

    52  Shin Musume Dōjōji 新娘道成寺

    53  Shin Takasago 新高砂

    54  Shōchikubai 松竹梅

    55  Sono no Aki 園の秋

    56  Sue no Chigiri 末の契

    57  Suma no Arashi 須磨の嵐

    58  Sumiyoshi 住吉

    59  Tama no Utena 玉の台

    60  Tama-gawa 玉川

    61  Tōru融

    62  Tsuru no Koe 鶴の声

    63  Uji Meguri 宇治巡り

    64  Ukifune 浮舟

    65  Usu no Koe 臼の声

    66  Wakana 若菜

    67  Yachiyo-jishi 八千代獅子

    68  Yaegoromo 八重衣

    69  Yotsu no Tami 四つの民

    70  Yoyo no Hoshi 夜々の星

    71  Yūbe no Kumo 夕辺の雲

    72  Yūgao夕顔

    73  Yuki ゆき

    74  Yuya 熊野

    75  Zangetsu 残月








    Christopher Yohmei Blasdel began the shakuhachi in 1972 under legendary shakuhachi master Yamaguchi Goro, completed his MA in ethnomusicology from Tokyo University of Arts in 1982 and received his shihan license from Yamaguchi in 1984. As a scholar and performer, Blasdel focuses both on traditional and contemporary music. He has released several CDs, shakuhachi reference books and has composed music for NHK documentaries and various films. He co-organized the Boulder World Shakuhachi Festival (1998), the Sydney World Shakuhachi Festival (2008) and was co-founder of the Prague Shakuhachi Festival. He presently lectures at University of Hawai’i and holds a fifth-degree black belt in Aikido.

    Gunnar Jinmei Linder came to Japan in 1985, with a BA in philosophy and Japanology, and began studies of shakuhachi with Yamaguchi Goro. He received an MA in shakuhachi from the Traditional Music Conservatoire at Tokyo University of the Arts in 1997, and the traditional license shihan in 1998. After many years in Japan as stage and recording artist, as well as teacher of shakuhachi, he returned to his native Sweden and received a PhD in Japanology at Stockholm University in 2012 (Deconstructing Tradition in Japanese Music). In 2016 he received a diploma from the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs for his artistic and academic activities.

    “Christopher Yohmei Blasdel gives us a handsome publication that is more than just a translation of shamisen and koto songs (jiuta sōkyoku) from 17th to 19th century Japan. For the English reader, this title adds a visual and literary appreciation to the sonic beauty of these songs. A combination of sensitive English imagery and insightful cultural commentary, its content is illustrated by a stunning series of woodblock prints related to the songs. In performance, the addition of shakuhachi (bamboo flute) enhances the aesthetic of the shamisen and koto performance. It seems therefore fitting that the author, an internationally known shakuhachi artist, enhances our understanding of these songs through this celebration of his lifelong engagement with them.”
    Ricardo D. Trimillos, Ph.D., Editor of Asian Music journal, Professor Emeritus in Asian Studies and Ethnomusicology, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

    “Christopher Yohmei Blasdel deserves enormous credit for his prolonged dedicated research along with deep cultural exploration and for the clarity of presentation of such a copious amount of detailed explication of this important repertoire that has received so little attention from scholars of Japanese literature and culture. His knowledge and experience of jiuta sokyoku stems from study of and performance on shakuhachi in Japan for over fifty years. Contextualization of the genre permeates the book: in a guiding overview in Chapter 1; in a beautifully written, succinct tracing of its history and its artistic expressivity through time in Chapter 2 by Blasdel and his colleague in the shakuhachi world, Gunnar Jinmei Linder. Of fresh significance here is the rare attention given to expression of sympathy in the texts for the indentured women entertainers in the pleasure districts of Edo Japan, one of the contexts where these songs would have been heard.”
    Bonnie Wade, Professor Emerita (Ethnomusicology), University of California, Berkeley and specialist in Asian musics