Saito sensei and Rokudan

During a visit to Kyoto, my wife, Yoko and I went to visit her koto teacher, Saito-sensei. Saito-sensei has been blind all her life and is a tiny lady, well into her 80s now.

We had bento boxes brought by her helpers and then Saito-sensei said she would play a piece. She began to play the koto masterpiece, Rokudan. We all watched and listened in silence. At about the third dan, I noticed tears coming from Saito-sensei’s eyes. She finished her exquisite rendition, full of ease and poetry, and when we asked why she shed tears she replied that as she played this piece, she had had a sudden revelation about the music and it moved her to tears. Saito-sensei has been playing Rokudan for over 75 years.

The shakuhachi path
Shakuhachi lessons