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Does anyone have any info/history on the shakuhachi maker Ichijo Kobayashi?
Ichijo Kobayashi (his real name) is a famous maker who lives in Suita city, Osaka (his adress and contact info is at the bottom). He was born in Yashiro town, Hyogo prefecture and graduated from Kansai Gakuin University in physics. He started playing the shakuhachi at the hougaku, japanese music, club on campus under the guidance of Tanaka Yudo (whose teacher was Araki Kodo III) of the Araki style of Kinko Ryu. In his second year of university he started to learn how to make shakuhachi from Shinzan. He said he started to make them because he needed repairs done on his shakuhachi but couldn't afford to pay for it so he was working it off as a helper to the maker. He soon became a live in student of Nagahiro Shinzan. Eventually he received permission from his teacher Tanaka sensei to go and take lessons with Aoki Reibo, which he still travels to Tokyo to do.
Because his flutes have a very good balance and are pretty easy to play many teachers recommend them to beginning serious students (around $2,000). But he also makes high-end performance flutes as well, all the way up to $10,000 or more. He is a classical Kinko ryu player but people from various styles often use his flutes. I have one of his 1.8s.
Here is a link to an essay written about him by Yoshimura Doumei. (It's in Japanese but you can see pictures of him making shakuhachi and the sign on the front of his house)