Ōkurauro [ōkuraro; okraulos; flutahachi]
- Henry Johnson
[ōkuraro; okraulos; flutahachi]
End-blown flute of Japan. The name refers to the instrument’s inventor (Ōkura) and the instrument type: auro (aulos). It is a modernized version of the shakuhachi but with a Boehm key system instead of open holes, and a metal tube extending from a bamboo headpiece that maintains the shakuhachi’s distinctive, oblique blowing edge. It was devised by the Japanese industrialist, philanthropist, and art collector Baron Ōkura Kishichirō (1882–1963) in 1923, but not called ōkurauro until 1936. Its launch was disrupted by the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, and in 1936 Ōkura tried again but this time with several versions of the instrument, made for him by Rudall Carte & Co. in London. Rudall Carte’s workers made nine examples in silver of different sizes and pitches. Ōkura was reportedly involved in founding the muramatsu flute company, which possibly made more instruments of this type, some examples of which are anonymous and terminate in an expanded distal end like that of the ...