Types of shakuhachi: Jinashi and Jimori vs. Jiari Jinuri and cast-bores

(Note: people both inside and outside of Japan do not always adhere to the strict definitions for Jinashi and Jimori types of shakuhachi.)

Jinashi 地無し types of shakuhachi

Strictly speaking, the types of shakuhachi known as Jinashi are crafted by working with each unique bamboo bore via subtraction only, i.e., by carving or sanding away at it. In so doing, they try to achieve their desired level of tuning and tonal balance or resonance. Additionally, makers will often paint the bore of Jinashi with lacquer (traditionally urushi lacquer). Jinashi is the most limited approach to crafting shakuhachi, and as a result, it’s often the case that some acoustical issues cannot be harmonized through subtraction alone…

When a Jinashi becomes a Jimori 地盛り type shakuhachi

When subtraction can’t fix an issue with a Jinashi, addition is what’s required. This is done by applying small amounts of paste in just the right spots on the inner bore. Just like with subtractions in Jinashi, these spots of paste in Jimori are carefully worked to achieve the desired results. In the end, additions and subtractions are two sides of the same coin. Lastly, just like Jinashi, Jimori bores can either be left raw or lacquered over, but they’re usually lacquered.

Jinuri 地塗り aka Jiari and cast-bores types of shakuhachi

Conversely, the inner bore of Jinuri aka Jiari and ‘cast-bore’ type shakuhachi are completely filled and formed with plaster or glue. The resulting bore shape or ‘profile’ is not found in bamboo naturally. This entirely human made bore is repeated inside each piece of bamboo, essentially making the bamboo a veneer; a ‘shell’ or ‘container’ for the same repeated/fabricated bore (Jinuri Jiari type shakuhachi bores do vary by maker). Additionally, they often have joints or joining work (see below). Thus, Jinuri, while bamboo on the outside, are not the shape of bamboo on the inside.

One-Piece Shakuhachi vs. Jointed

Like the Japanese craftspeople of the Edo period, I mostly craft nobé or ‘one-piece’ Jinashi and Jimori shakuhachi. Taking a look at the pictures above, we can see that the total length/pitch for the Nobé one-piece shakuhachi is mostly decided by nature. Specifically, the natural distance between the topmost node, where the blowing edge goes, and the bottom roots. Conversely, in the picture of the Jinuri we see that cutting and joining allows the craftsperson to change/select the length/pitch (note that some Jinuri type instruments may not have a center joint but can often have hidden joining work underneath inlaid rattan binding wraps). Lastly, some Jinashi or Jimori may have joining work or joints as well, though more rare.

Advantages of quality Jinashi and Jimori vs. quality Jinuri

Advantages of quality Jinuri vs. quality Jinashi and Jimori