Mr. Furuya was born in Osaka in 1949. His earliest exposure to the shakuhachi was an instrument that his father purchased out of curiosity but never learned to play.
Mr. Furuya was also quite taken with the shakuhachi and the kind of sound it made, so after enrolling at Tokyo Gakugei University he joined the student shakuhachi club and at that time began his career as a player.
Mr. Furuya’s relationship with Yokoyama Sensei came about in an interesting way. When Mr. Furuya was still in college, his father requested that he learn a piece by Fukuda Rando. Mr. Furuya did not have a written score for the piece however, so he wrote to a number of publishing companies to try to obtain the notation he needed.
For some reason, one of the publishers contacted the mother of Yokoyama Sensei to let her know that a young student was looking for a Fukuda score. Presumably this happened because Yokoyama Sensei had already been a student of Fukuda Rando for several years by that time, and of course would be likely to have copies of the notations for his pieces. In any case, Mrs. Yokoyama reached out to Mr. Furuya to let him know that her son – Yokoyama Sensei – had scores available and that Mr. Furuya should come for a visit. He accepted the offer and 6 months later became Yokoyama Sensei’s student.
Mr. Furuya relates another interesting story about the development of his early relationship to Yokoyama Sensei and his music. A short time after visiting Mr. Yokoyama to obtain the Fukuda notation, he was able to attend a concert of his. This was his first experience of hearing Yokoyama Sensei perform live, and he describes being overwhelmed by the richness and intensity of Mr. Yokoyama’s sound, saying that it gave him goose bumps and that it was literally spine tingling. He says that at that moment he decided to become Yokoyama Sensei’s student and to make his living in the world of that sound – somewhat over the objections of his friends and family it turns out. He persisted in pursuing shakuhachi as a career however, saying that even if he ended up poor, he wanted to devote his life to the singular sound of the shakuhachi and the satisfaction it gave him to play it.
As a performer, Mr. Furuya made his initial television debut on NHK in the late 1960’s and since then has performed publicly hundreds of times in many locations around the world. He has appeared in a number of videos and DVDs featuring the music of Yokoyama Sensei and has produced his own set of Shakuhachi practice videos as well as two CDs.
Mr. Furuya participated in the establishment of the International Shakuhachi Kenshukan in 1988 and was a central figure in the organization of the first World Shakuhachi Festival in Bisei in 1994, as noted above. Along with Mr. Matama and Mr. Kakizakai, he continues to be a primary teacher and administrator of the KSK in Japan. He also teaches shakuhachi at the NHK Culture Center and at Gakugei University in Tokyocontinues to perform on a regular basis within and outside of Japan.