The bamboo flute first came to Japan from China during the 6th century. The shakuhachi proper, however, is quite distinct from its Chinese counterpart – the result of centuries of isolated evolution in Japan.
During the medieval period, shakuhachi were most notable for their role in the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhist monks, known as komusō, who used the shakuhachi as a spiritual tool. Their songs were paced according to the players' breathing and were considered meditation as much as music.
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