At the time of transfer of the capital to Tokyo in1886 at the beginning of the Meiji era, aimost all the gagaku performers of the Court, Nanto, and Sitennnoji unfortunately had to go to Tokyo by the government order. This caused great damage to local traditions, because the performers of Tennojigakuso lost the support of the government and their pride in keeping the long held traditions. But a Buddhist priest, Shoin Ono, who was so sorry for the disappearance of the Tennojigakuso that he did his best to try to rivive the Tennojibugaku (dance accompanied gagaku) . He organized into a group those gagaku performers and connoisseurs who remained in Osaka. At last in 1884 he managed to establish Garyokai in order to maintain the tradition of the Tennojigakuso. For about 110 years Garyokai has kept alive the tradition of the Tennojigakuso.

During World War ll, many members died , and a lot of instruments and costumes were lost. Since the end of the War, in spite of these setbacks, the members have gradually increased in number, owing to the efforts of devotees of gagaku to preserve the tradition of Tennnojibugaku, there are more than 140 persons at present. In order to educate junior members we established the Gagaku Training School in 1956. Those who have learned and studied there are the leading members of Garyokai today.



As mentioned above, Garyokai performs mostly religious rites not only of Shitennoji but also of other shrines and temples. And since1966 we have held an annual performance in a large cocert hall ( the Festival Hall in Osaka) in order to educate the public and promote gagaku . Lovers of gagaku have steadily increased in number since then. And in 1993 our group was asked by Osaka city to give an annual concert at the Naniwanomiya-ato ( an ancient site of the Court in Osaka) . More than two thousand persons enjoy our concert at the place every year.

In1974, for the first time we held Gagaku Seminar for students who wanted to study the gagaku, and for those who wished to gain deeper knowledge of gagaku. The Seminar has been held once a year since then. In this way Garyokai has contributed greatly to musicology and the study of musical history.

The merit of our group's activities was recognized by the government in 1976, at the time when the Tennojibugaku , to which Garyokai had inherited was disignated as an important national intangible folk culture property.

In 1978, with the assistance of the Japan Foundation and the Asia Society in New York, Garyokai visited for more than a month New York at Carnegie Hall and fourteen other cities for gagaku performances. Our concerts were greatly acclaimed by the audience. In 1981, sponsered by UNESCO we visited Seul to give the first formal performance of gagaku in Korea at the 26th International Council for Traditional Music Conferance. In June 1987, sponsered by the Japan Foundation , we made a three weeks tour of six European cities: Stuttgart, Muenchen, Koeln, Muenster, Frankfurt, and Paris. The tour began with a performance at the openning ceremony of Theater der Welt at Stuttgart. We toured Poland and Netherland in1994. Especially the Poland tour was realized with cooperation of Polish Government; this was the first performance of gagaku in Poland.
In1996 we gabe concerts in New Zealand (Wellington, Christchurch, Oakland ). For New Zealander it was the first opportunity to enjoy gagaku.
They were suprised at the different culture of music, but many people appreciated the thought that lies behind the gagaku music.

We are now performing gagaku and bugaku not only in Japan, but also abroad.

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