40+Year-Old Madaké Bamboo


Each winter I travel to Japan for the purpose of harvesting and otherwise acquiring bamboo. Of special interest is a supply very old old madaké of exceptional quality for shakuhachi that I had the good fortune to came upon during a recent visit. This madaké was the complete stash of bamboo belonging to a retiring shakuhachi maker in Osaka. Noticing that each culm had a small piece of newspaper stuffed into the top to retard the drying process, my wife Kayo removed one of these scraps of newsprint to discover that the date imprinted on it was 1968. Selecting several other pieces at random revealed that this bamboo had been cured for 40+ years. This is quite unique as many shakuhachi in Japan today are made with bamboo cured for only one or two years.
The advantage of this aged bamboo is that it has been around for this long without cracking. The patina of this madaké is quite beautiful and the material very hard.

The date on the newpaper pictured is Showa 45, Shigatsu Ju San Nichi (April, 13, 1970)


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