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Japanese musicians get a head start ahead of Union Chapel concert

03 August, 2018 — By Emily Finch

A traditionally attired musician playing the shakuhachi outside the Union Chapel before the event started

THE sounds of a traditional Japanese instrument filled Upper Street on Tuesday night as dozens of musicians gathered for a concert at the Union Chapel.

Masters of shakuhachi, a Japanese wind instrument made from the bamboo plant, played at the concert to mark the start of an international festival this week.

The packed-out hall heard from Buddhist monk Suto Shuho alongside talented players from Britain and America. Many top Japanese players have flown to London for the festival, which runs every four years.

Tanabe Shozan playing the shakuhachi at Union Chapel with Miyazaki Mieko playing the koto, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument

Traditional players of the instrument in Edo, Japan, wore a large straw basket covering their face to symbolise the absence of an ego.

Although many people may not recognise the sight of the instrument, it has proved popular with film score composers who have used it in the soundtracks to Jurassic Park, The Sacrifice and Harry Potter.

The festival runs until tomorrow (Saturday) at Goldsmiths University in New Cross. For more information go to


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