Yamato Chōshi 大和 調子
This version of Choshi is believed to have originated in the Yamato district of old Japan, what is now the Nara region, the site of the first capital of Japan, 13 centuries ago. Musically, Yamato Choshi differs greatly from the other Choshi pieces, but it functions in the same meditative and ‘searching’ way.
Many shakuhachi compositions are attributed to one’s aspiration in searching – searching of self, truth, an answer to a question. Yamato Choshi (Yamato prelude) represents an introspection of our relationships with the world around us and a renewing of the soul which allows us to venture forth on the pathway of life. Yamato, the name of the ancient capital of Japan, refers to a beginning – the first steps in the search for enlightenment.
The Zen tradition of shakuhachi holds that the shakuhachi plays you as much as you play the shakuhachi. This is a renewing of this relationship between the bamboo and the person.
This piece serves as a short prelude or warm-up to a larger honkyoku.
Source: The International Shakuhachi Society (www.komuso.com)
Here’s a practice recording of Yamato Choshi played on 1.8 shakuhachi for meditation (not a performance).