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June 06, 2005

College Teacher Goes Solo on the Shakuhachi

American English teacher John Daly (54) gave his first public solo performance on the shakuhachi on Saturday. An English conversation teacher at Sano Junior College in Tochigi Prefecture, he performs under the stage name of Deirii Eishun. Though his repertoire consists of traditional Japanese tunes and the occasional western classic, such as "Greensleeves," the Philadelphia native says he'd like to improvise in a blues style. "I'd like to change the image most Japanese people have of the shakuhachi, that's it's old-fashioned and boring." Daly first came to Japan in 1980, attracted to Asian culture through the works of Hermann Hesse, and worked at an eikaiwa school in the prefectural capital of Utsunomiya. He first encountered the shakuhachi when working as a part-time lecturer at Nihon University in the Shizuoka Prefecture city of Mishima. He started studying with a teacher of the Tozan school, and reached the level of apprentice teacher. Since his return to Tochigi to teach at Sano J.C. in 1990, he has studied under Nishimura Tekizan.

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