José Seizan VARGAS

Madrid, Spain

Jose Seizan VARGAS is a musician and guitar player. He encountered shakuhachi and Japanese traditional music in 2004 and began learning traditional Japanese music with Antonio Olias in Madrid. At the same time he began to experiment making shakuhachi. From the beginning, he was fascinated by the sound of the shakuhachi and the honkyoku repertoire. Vargas pursued shakuhachi making, for which he has researched through all available sources, trying to understand better the mysteries of bamboo tone. He has also tried to understand and adapt to the very different musical requirements depending on which of the many schools a performer belongs.

In 2008, VARGAS traveled to Japan, learning honkyoku from TANAKA Komei, OKUDA Atsuya and KODAMA Hiroyuki, and taking jinashi shakuhachi making lessons from KODAMA and John Kaizan NEPTUNE. In 2010 he began learning Fuke style shakuhachi with FUJIYOSHI Etsuzan, and also the study and practice of jiari shakuhachi making.

Also in 2010, VARGAS started organising jinashi shakuhachi making workshops in Europe, with KODAMA HIroyuki in 2010 and 2012 in Madrid, and 2011 in London for the ESS Summer school. In 2013, VARGAS organised and assisted the making workshops directed by John Kaizan NEPTUNE at the ESS Summer School in Barcelona. Since then he has lead the ESS jinashi shakuhachi making workshops in Paris 2015 and Barcelona 2016, and in 2017, the making clinic at the Vejle festival, and at a workshop in Madrid.

In 2014, he received the licence to teach, and the shakuhachi name Seizan (West mountain), from FUJIYOSHI Etsuzan sensei. In 2016, VARGAS started taking jiari shakuhachi making lessons in Tokyo from TAKAHASHI Toyomi, and honkyoku playing from ZENYOJI Keisuke.

During all these years, VARGAS also received invaluable lessons from other teachers, such as Horacio CURTI, Justin Senryu WILLIAMS, KAKIZAKAI Kaoru, Jim FRANKLIN, FURUYA Teruo, among others. Currently, VARGAS lives in Madrid, making jinashi flutes, teaching shakuhachi playing, and performing traditional Japanese and improvised music.