Japanese Traditional Music Program
Summer 2020
Sponsored by Batchelor Foundation and Residence Inn Boca Raton by Marriott


The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens established a yearly Japanese traditional music education program in 2017 aimed at the general public and school children. This groundbreaking program includes hands-on workshops and a youth music camp.

Program content includes practical instruction on the Japanese shakuhachi and the 13-string koto for both children (grades 3-12) and adults. In addition, the program will feature special classes on Japanese music theory and history, culture, and an introduction to Japanese traditional arts.

Led by Dr. Joseph Gashō Amato, coordinator of the program and koto teacher, the faculty also includes ethnomusicologist and shakuhachi performer Professor Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and Morikami Education Staff. The Japanese Traditional Music Program was proudly supported through special grants received from the Toshiba International Foundation, Japan Foundation, JM Family Enterprises, Inc. and the Morikami Wisdom Ring Members.





This project is sponsored in part by the The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation, State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

Instructor Bios

Dr. Joseph Gashō Amato

Coordinator, Japanese Music Program
Koto Instructor

Joseph Gashō Amato received his Ph.D. in composition in 1998 from New York University with primary studies in Italian contemporary music. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Bunka-chō Japanese Government Artists Fellowship to pursue formal study of Japanese music history and Japanese traditional musical instruments at Seiha Hōgaku-kai. Since then, he continued studies receiving his teaching license (junshihan) and his professional name Gashō in 2003.
Currently, he is founder and director of the International Center for Japanese Culture since its inception in 2011. Before ICJC, Dr. Amato founded the Yokohama International School Japanese music program in 2003 and served as its director until 2011.
Pursuing his work on sharing Japanese traditional music and culture on the international level, in 2017 Dr. Amato founded and serves as President of Japanese Culture Promotion and Management an NPO dedicated to supporting Japanese traditional arts and culture. He is  the coordinator of the Morikami Museum Japanese summer traditional music program located in Delray Beach, Florida, USA. In addition, he continues as director of the Seiha Hōgaku-kai International Summer School which he established in 2016.
Teaching positions and special lecturer posts have been held at Robert Stockton College of NJ, Fukuoka International School, Heidelberg College, Seiha Hōgaku Gakuin and Yokohama National University.

Professor Christopher Yohmei Blasdel 

Shakuhachi Instructor

Christopher Yohmei Blasdel began the shakuhachi and studies of Japanese music in 1972 with Living National Treasure Goro Yamaguchi. In 1982 he received an MFA in ethnomusicology from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and is one of only two non-Japanese to be accredited as a shihan master by Yamaguchi. Performing in Japan and around the world, Blasdel maintains a balance between traditional shakuhachi music, modern compositions and cross-genre work with musicians, dancers, poets and visual artists. His discography includes numerous CDs of traditional and contemporary music. He has also composed and performed music for NHK documentaries and various films. He was the Artistic Director of the International House of Japan from 1987 to 2013, co-organized the World Shakuhachi Festival ’98 held in Boulder, Colorado and the Sydney World Shakuhachi Festival in 2008. He was a founder of the annual Prague Shakuhachi Festival. His semi-autobiographical book, The Single Tone—A Personal Journey through Shakuhachi Music (2005) and The Shakuhachi, A Manual for Learning (1988) are two of the most important English language resource books on the shakuhachi. Presently, he is an adjunct lecturer at University of Hawai’i, Mānoa and holds a fourth-degree black belt in Aikido.

Fushu Daiko Taiko group

Taiko Instructors

Top performers from South Florida’s Fushu Daiko will conduct the workshop. The group is recognized by Seiichi Tanaka, the master of San Francisco Taiko Dojo, who brought taiko to the United States and who trained senior members of the Fushu Daiko group.

JCPM – Japanese traditional arts for modern audiences

Youth Summer Music & Culture Camp

The program is for students in grade 3rd to 12th.

Campers will learn to play traditional Japanese instruments from professional musicians, experience Japanese culture, and participate in fun craft activities. Dr. Amato will lead the basic koto workshops, teaching the students how to use tsume (finger picks), how to read Japanese musical notation and how to execute basic koto performance techniques through simple compositions. Members of the local Fushu Daiko Taiko group will teach the basics of traditional Japanese drumming. There will be one special introduction class to shakuhachi (bamboo flute) by professional musician Kyle Kamal Helou.

2019-2020 SCHEDULE

DATES: June 22 – June 26, 2020

1-week session: 9:00am – 4:00pm

REGISTER NOW Summer Camp Application Here



  •  $250


  • N/A


  • For grades 3rd – 12th


  • Throughout the Morikami Museum & Gardens


  • Instruments and sheet music will be provided for participants to use in the class.


Campers will be immersed in Japanese culture participating in fun craft activities, Japanese cultural arts and exciting music classes which include the 13-string koto (zither) and taiko drums, taught by professional musicians, Joseph Amato, Kyle Kamal Helou and members from the Fushu Daiko Taiko group. All materials and Instruments that campers need are provided for their use at camp. The program will allow students to have both practical and knowledge-based (theoretical/ historical) classes all while having fun learning.

The curriculum will allow students to have both practical and knowledge-based (theoretical/historical) classes. The knowledge-based component is a Japanese culture class, with topics that include the following:

  • Introduction to Japanese language and culture
  • Introduction to the history of Japanese traditional music
  • Learn from special teaching artists about a Japanese cultural art
  • Learn about our exhibits and gardens
  • Create a variety of Japanese craft projects
  • And having fun!

Summer 2019 schedule for your reference.  The schedule will be updated as we get closer to the start of camp.

Time Koto   Culture Taiko
8:30am – 9:00am Check-in
9:00am – 10:30am Group A


Group B
10:30am – 11:00pm Break
11:00am – 12:30pm Group B Group A
12:30pm- 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm-2:30pm Group A- Cultural Activity Group B – Cultural Activity
2:30pm – 2:45pm Break
3:00pm -4:00pm Group A – Cultural Activity Group B – Cultural Activity
4:00pm – 4:30pm Pick-up time

*Schedule subject to change in order to accommodate all camper enrollments.

2019 Summer Campers

Koto Class

Taiko Class

Shakuhachi Class

Block Printing Class

Calligraphy Class

Mini-Garden Class

Recital Day – Graduation















Guest Artist Workshops: Japanese Traditional Music


There will be two opportunities for adults to take the Japanese traditional music workshops at the Morikami Museum with our professional musicians from Japan. Instruments and sheet music will be provided for use in the workshops.

Participants will choose which instrument they would like to study: 13-string koto (zither) or shakuhachi (bamboo flute). The program is aimed at beginners, those with no or little experience with the shakuhachi or koto. An intermediate course is be offered on the weekends for those who have taken the beginners course and want to go to the next level.

Weekend Workshop Schedule:

Dates: June 27 & 28, 2020


Cost: $200

  • 9:00am-12:30pm (10am-10:30am break) (Beginners)
  • 1:30pm – 5:00pm (2:30pm – 3:00pm break) (Intermediate)*


  • Morikami Theater (Koto class)
  • Tea House/Classroom A (Shakuhachi class)

Advance registration is required
*prerequisite is the beginners course or prior experience with the instrument


Sessions Date Time Total Hours Cost
Weekend (2 days)
June 27 & 28 9:00am – 12:30pm
(10am –10:30am break)
6 $200
Weekend (2 days)
June 27 & 28 1:30pm – 5:00pm
(2:30pm -3:00pm break)
6 $200

TIFO Morikami Music Program Grant Results

Click on the year of the results you would like to see.