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The fall months are ideal for hearing the best of hogaku. This is partly owing to the natural increase in musical activity after the slow, sultry summer months, but also because of an annual arts contest, sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, from Oct. 12 to Nov. 10. Winning this contest can ensure a successful career for hogaku performers.

Tohru Fukuhara began studies of the shinobue (Japanese transverse bamboo flute) under the tutelage of Sanzaemon Takara, a designated living national treasure. Fukuhara graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts in 1984 and embarked on a professional career. As one of the leading shinobue players in Japan, he is representative of a generation of younger hogaku musicians who, after having mastered the traditions, successfully explore new musical arenas.

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