Join us as longtime HAJAS member John Lytton reflects on his 30 years of experience with traditional Japanese theater
Lytton grew up playing the piano (his mother was a piano teacher) before going to Japan in 1978. In Japan, he met shamisen master Minoda Shiro (Kineya Goshiro) and began studying with him as well as with Minoda's teacher, grand master Sugiura Hirokazu (Kineya Gosakichi). Soon he met and began studying with Mochizuki Tazaemon X and Mochizuki Tazae II of the Mochizuki hayashi (percussion ) tradition. In 1984, he received the performing name Mochizuki Tasajo. More recently, he returned to the study of the piano with prize-winning pianist Takemura Johko.
He has appeared as hayashi percussionist in kabuki productions by Tokyo's Zenshinza theater troupe, as well as Ichimura Manjuro's 'Kabuki for Everyone,' staged at the National Theater in Tokyo. He regularly appears in performances sponsored by Ichi Jo no Kai, as well as concerts by Shi Ko Kai, a nagauta shamisen performance group. He joins in a series of annual concerts that combine western piano music with traditional music for shamisen, voice and drums. His percussion repertoire is expanding from kabuki-related genres to koto music as well as gidayu music of the Bunraku puppet theater.
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