Gazan Watanabe (渡辺 峨山, Watanabe Gazan, born in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture) is a Japanese shakuhachi player. His father mentored him for the instrument during his childhood, yet Watanabe was not passionate about music until he was twelve and first listened to The Beatles. In his words, their music inspired him to "keep the music of Japan alive".
He studied under Sanzan Sawai in 1973; when Sawai died three years later, Watanabe transferred to Hozan Yamamoto's mentorship. Watanabe studied at Aichi University of Education (Elementary School Language Arts curriculum) and Tokyo University of the Arts (Music Education major) simultaneously, regularly entering competitions and winning awards during his studies. He graduated from both colleges four years later and became one of the members of traditional instrument band Koto-Za. Watanabe spent the next three decades traveling the world with his instrument. He is currently a shakuhachi instructor at EYS Music School.
Watanabe describes his performances to be "warm and welcoming". He advocates dispelling the predisposed idea of Japanese instruments being too difficult to learn, seeking to always find methods of easing in newcomers to traditional music. If he receives Western music scores, he must rewrite his music sheet to conform to older music notes. Watanabe can ad-lib for those unfamiliar with these intricacies, which assists his collaborative projects with jazz, pop, and other music genres. He takes the same approach during his contractual work with Koei as a shakuhachi player and their current Japanese Instrument Supervisor. Kensuke Inage and Kenji Nakajo became his professional contacts through their work for Koei.
Works with KoeiEdit
- Nobunaga's Ambition series (Zengokuban, Bushou Fuuunroku, Haouden, Tenka Sousei, Tendou)
- Inindo: Way of the Ninja
- Samurai Warriors series (Samurai Warriors, Katana ~ 4)
- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5 (Kazahanaki)
- Toukiden (Kiwami)
- Computer Entertainment Developer Conference 2014 Japanese Instruments Promotional Committee
- Nobunaga no Yabou 30 Shuunenkinen Concert
- Sengoku Musou 4 Kansei Happyoukai