Akihito Obama

A unique shakuhachi star player with a purely distinct sound of his own

Obama studied various styles of shakuhachi under leading musicians such as Toshimitsu Ishikawa (traditional shakuhachi) and Satoshi Yoneya (minyo shakuhachi). After graduating from the NHK Hogaku Gino-sha Ikusei-kai, the premier one year course for hogaku musicians aspiring to be professional performers, Obama won the Second Annual Shakuhachi Newcomer Competition (2000).

In recent years, Obama draws on his musical experiences and incorporates these influences into his own music. In 2005, he undertook a walking pilgrimage concert tour to the eighty-eight temples of Shikoku Island and revealed his second album Nami to Tsubaki to [Waves and Camellias and] consisting of his original compositions. In 2012, Obama lived in New York for six months as a fellow of Asian Cultural Council and released SUI [Water] with his band. He released LOTUS POSITION with Yosuke Yamashita. In 2018, Obama was invited to the World Shakuhachi Festival London. He released the honkyoku album The Light in the Silence. In 2019, Obama was invited to La Folle Journee de Nantes in France.

He often appears in concerts overseas and has performed in over 36 countries. Obama has developed and refined his technique by performing in venues from small clubs to large concert halls with artists playing hogaku instruments and Western instruments. This has allowed him to penetrate traditional barriers and discover his own distinct sound. He is a part-time faculty member at Gakushuin University and a member of The Shakuhachi 5 and Japan Shakuhachi Professional-players Network (JSPN).



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