Artist Interview アーティストインタビュー
Interview with Kojun Arai -- Bringing the music of the thousand-year-old shomyo chant tradition to concert hall audiences
Among the religious music traditions of the world that have been handed down over the centuries, the Japanese Buddhist chant form known as
has a 1200-year history, which ranks it along with the West’s Gregorian chant as one of the oldest living forms.
Until recently, shomyo was only heard in temples, as monks chanted the Buddhist scriptures in chorus as a form of meditation, but now there is a group of priests who have undertaken the challenge of bringing performances of shomyo to the concert hall and enlisting the talents of contemporary music composers to create new works for the shomyo repertoire. We spoke with Kojun Arai, Head Priest of Hogyokuin temple of the Buzan branch of the Shingon sect and a leading member of this performance group called “Shomyo-no-Kai – Voice of a Thousand Years” to learn about the past and present of shomyo.
(Interview by Junko Hanamitsu on April 27, 2007 at Hogyokuin temple, Tokorozawa city)