History of Seikado

Kitahara Seikado was founded in 1908 (Meiji 41) in Osaka (Nishiku,Edobori) when the first Kozan Kitahara gathered the best shakuhachi craftsmen from around the entire country. The first Kozan Kitahara (he was also the first to become a Tozan school teacher and inducted into the Hall of Fame) keenly realized that the shakuhachi of those days was too incomplete as a musical instrument, and thought about the future development of shakuhachi music. He believed that it is necessary for the development of the shakuhachi to progress in three areas at the same time: composition, performance, and the musical instrument itself.

The first Kozan Kitahara thus began to make his own shakuhachi with the goal of the creation of "a shakuhachi that could be said to be a superior musical instrument". In 1945 (Showa 20), as a result of war damage, he moved to Kyoto. The second Kozo Kitahara completely remade the production tools which were lost through war damage, and reestablished the base of the Seika brand with the first generation Kozan Kitahara, sending many shakuhachis out in the world. Furthermore, the tools he invented as a craftsman are still used in our workshop.

Presently, the third Ikuya Kitahara and the fourth Hiroki Kitahara inherited the techniques to create the highest standard shakuhachi from the second generation Kozo Kitahara and advice from the second generation Kozan Kitahara (the other son of Kozan Kitahara I). On this basis, the current generations continue the process of further study and trial and error, in order to adapt to changing times and the sound that the players demand.


  • 三代目 北原 郁也(きたはら いくや)

    Third generation: Ikuya Kitahara

    Born in 1953, he started to learn shakuhachi in his childhood. While attending university, he commenced his carrier as a shakuhachi maker. At present he is engaged solely with making shakuhachi, and during his lifetime has brought many shakuhachi into the world. His invention as a high school student of the analysis system for the pattern of Utaguchi fitting(the embouchure fitting), established the foundation of today’s Utaguchi fitting system.

  • 三代目 北原 郁也(きたはら いくや)

    Fourth generation: Hiroki Kitahara

    Born in 1980, he started to learn Kinko style shakuhachi as a high school activity. Following his university studies, he took a sales job with a company, but then he decided to undertake steps to become a shakuhachi maker. Presently, he is also an active performer within the Tozan school (Kyoto branch). He strives for excel-lence in shakuhachi making as the fourth generation in the Kitahara Seikado atelier.