“Passing” of the Nesasa Sect
A piece transmitted by the Nesasa (‘bamboo grass’) sect of northern Japan, where the winters are long and harsh. This piece was traditionally played by the komuso (shakuhachi-playing mendicant priests) while passing down the road during pilgrimages of alms begging.
Tori / Passing was traditionally performed by the mendicant ‘priests of nothingness’ as they walked down the road while on their pilgrimages or while begging for alms.
Kadozuke 門附 (根笹)
“On the Corner” was performed before an establishment, such as a house or store, where potential donors might reside. Most of this piece is played in the high register in order to call the people to come outside.
Monks of the Fuke sect would play Kadozuke as they wandered from door to door gathering alms. It is generally performed as one of a set of three pieces together with Tori and Hachigaeshi.
Hachigaeshi 鉢返 (根笹)
“Returning the Bowl” is performed after the ‘priest of nothingness’ received alms, usually a bowl of uncooked rice. The priest would empty the rice into his collecting bag, return the bowl and then perform Returning the Bowl. This piece is therefore an expression of gratitude, on the part of the priest for the food which gives him life, and on the part of the donor for the opportunity to give.
Hachigaeshi is the last of the set of three alms-gathering pieces. After a monk had received rice or some other form of alms in his bowl, he would then play this piece in thanks for the charity bestowed upon him.