Justin Senryu Williams

Justin Senryu Williams, originally from England, has been living in Asia since he was 18, studying Buddhism in and around the Himalayas. Drawn to the sound of the shakuhachi and specifically the Buddhist repertoire of shakuhachi honkyoku, he started studying Kinko Ryu Chikumeisha with Michael Coxall while in England for a year. Eventually Justin moved to Japan for full time study of both playing and making, where he has been living since 2005.

He studied the full repertoire of Yokoyama Katsuya’s school Chikushinkai under Furuya Teruo and Yokoyama Katsuya and was awarded the rank of Shihan and the professional name as a performer and authorized maker, Senryu (泉龍) by Yokoyama Katsuya in 2007. He went on to study sankyoku and the complete Kinko Ryu honkyoku repertoire from the head teacher of Kinko Ryu, Araki Kodo V, from whom he received his second Shihan. Araki Kodo also authorized his instruments with his own prestigious hanko, “Kodo sen”, “Chosen by Kodo”.

Justin has paid particular interest to the older styles of honkyoku and has traveled across Japan researching old instruments and playing styles, searching out the most authentic and capable players of the various often rare lineages spread across the country. In particular he has studied the complete Seien Ryu lineage (the original lineage of Fudaiji temple) from the iemoto Iwata Seien, and the rare Myoan Shimpo Ryu lineage (the original lineage of the Kyoto Myoan temple) from Takahashi Rochiku and Otsubo Shido – these are two of the most rare and yet most historically important styles. He has studied extensively with Fujiyoshi Etsuzan, the lineage holder of Takahashi Kuzan’s school, and Jin Nyodo’s school with Jin Nyodo’s top student Sato Jokan, and with Kurahashi Yodo II. In addition he has studied the 10 honkyoku of Nezasa Ha (aka. Kimpu Ryu), the Oshu-kei pieces, the Kyushu pieces, Taizan Ryu pieces, and others, often learning the same piece from a number of teachers to gain deeper understanding and perspective.

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