Accomplished flute and whistle player and traditional singer Hanz Araki is the son of Irish and Japanese parents. His mother’s family left Ireland in the early 20th century and traveled across the Atlantic; landing first in Canada and making a second long journey across North America before arriving in Seattle, Washington. Hanz’s father is shakuhachi grandmaster Tatsuya Kodo Araki, the fifth generation to inherit the name Kodo, one of the most important names in the world of traditional Japanese music. “Hanz” is short for “Hanzaburo,” the name of his great-great grandfather who developed the notation used in shakuhachi music even to this day.
In April of 1988, Hanz began his apprenticeship with his father, to make his professional debut in August of that same year. He taught at his father’s alma mater (the prestigious Keio University in Tokyo), as well as making concert appearances throughout Japan. In 2009, in a private ceremony in Tokyo, the title of Kodo VI was conferred on Hanz as is customary in the tradition.
Upon returning to his hometown of Seattle in 1992, Araki and a group of close friends with a shared love of Irish and Scottish music started a band called The Whyos. The discipline, techniques, and mechanics he learned on the shakuhachi translated very well to the tin whistle and the Irish flute. Seattle being home to respected stalwarts like uilleann piper Tom Creegan and fiddler Dale Russ gave Hanz no shortage of guidance in his exploration of traditional Irish music. His uncanny grasp of Celtic music, both instrumental and vocal, quickly led to opportunities for touring across the United States and Canada, the UK, Spain, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, and an annual tour of Japan.
In a career spanning over 25 years, Araki, amassed an impressive body of award-winning Celtic music albums, including his most recent critically lauded Foreign Shore, released in 2014. A project to collect, remix, and remaster recordings of his father, grandfather, and great grandfather is also currently in production in Japan.
Instructor – Flute, Whistle