~ Timbre of Japanese Music and Soul for You ~

From ancient days, Japanese have lived in harmony with nature, believing that gods are everywhere.  There are gods of the mountains, gods of the seas, gods of the rivers, gods of everything.  These beliefs may be rooted in a deep gratitude to nature and the cosmos that ancient people surely felt for the natural resources that both sustained life and provided endless sources of beauty everywhere.

My love and passion for Gagaku was likely instilled when I first heard a very old Japanese flute song, "Niwabi" (garden fire) played by Mr. Sukeyasu Shiba.  "Niwabi" predates Gagaku, which was introduced from China in the 7th Century and is an authentic flute solo music for Kagura dancing.  Kagura was performed to purify places and to invite the gods to come down to our land.  Hearing Mr. Shiba's beautiful flute music felt like getting hit by a thunderbolt; it touched my soul and I felt strongly that the gods truly had descended.  From that moment, I became interested in using a Western approach to play music for authentic Japanese spirits.

My performance at the special dinner show for the 1400-year historical celebration for the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima, was one of the important milestones in my traditional Japanese music.  After successfully working on the fundamental differences between Gagaku and Western music in terms of music scales, pitch and expression styles, I had an opportunity to perform at the first world music festival in Hiroshima, and release "MIYABI." Following that, I have formed a Japanese traditional music band, KIMOTO IZUMI "YAMATO", rooted in and focused on Hiroshima.

We probably will not create worldwide peace anytime soon, given the suffering and aftermath from September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, religious wars in the Middle East, and threats from China, North Korea, Russia and Iran.  We may even be moving in the opposite direction.  There is a lack of tolerance for other cultures and other religions and some people are unlikely to accept differences and treat everyone with gentility and respect.  We also are facing looming natural disasters related to climate change and our inability as a species to slow the pace of planetary warming and prepare for fires, floods, food shortages and more.  These threats are seems like a reminder for us to respect and protect nature and diversity; and to be more open-minded and compassionate to everything and everyone.  In 604 in Japan, Prince Shotoku Taishi decreed that harmony is the greatest of virtues and should be valued by all people.

My hope is that our music along with our prayers for world peace and nuclear disarmament become one with Hiroshima's Peace Spirit, which symbolizes Japan's ancient souls and ancestors.  We hope our music and prayers reach you and peace-loving people everywhere.


Izumi Kimoto
Founder/Leader of KIMOTO IZUMI "YAMATO"