Yamauchi Seihin

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  • Born: 1890
  • Died: 1986
  • Japanese: 山内 盛彬 (Yamauchi Seihin)

Yamauchi Seihin was a scholar of classical Okinawan music.

Born in 1890, he was able to study the music of the Ryukyuan royal court directly under individuals from the Kumemura scholar-aristocracy who had experience or training from prior to the fall of the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 1870s.

In the 1910s-1920s, he wrote down a number of the court's classical pieces in Western musical notation, providing a record which remains invaluable for scholars today. These include notation for a number of Chinese-style uzagaku (lit. "seated music") pieces learned from Kokuba Kôken, and a number of rujigaku (processional music) pieces taught to him by Chinen Saburô, the last surviving music master (gakushi) of the Ryukyuan royal court.

Some of Yamauchi's most famous scholarly works were published in the 1950s. These include Ryûkyû no ongaku geinô shi (琉球の音楽芸能史, "History of Music and Performing Arts of Ryukyu," 1959), and Ryûkyû ôchô koyô hikyoku no kenkyû (琉球王朝古謡秘曲の研究, "Studies of Ancient Songs and Esoteric Pieces from the Age of the Kingdom of Ryukyu," 1959).


  • Uchida Junko 内田順子, "Ryûkyû ôken to zagaku" 琉球王権と座楽, in Uzagaku no fukugen ni mukete 御座楽の復元に向けて, Naha, Okinawa: Uzagaku fukugen ensô kenkyûkai 御座楽復元演奏研究会 (2007), 16.
  • Higa Etsuko, Robin Thompson (trans.), "Uzagaku: The Vanished Tradition of Ryukyuan Court Music," CD liner notes, Uzagaku fukugen ensô kenkyûkai (2007), 23.