Depending on which legend one believes, Mukaiji is 300-600 years old. Together with Kyo Rei and Koku, it is treasured as one of the "three traditional masterpieces." One translation of this piece is "Misty Ocean Flute." According to legend, a medieval shakuhachi-playing Buddhist monk, Kichiku, took a long pilgrimage, finally arriving at the shrine of Kokuzo-do atop Mt. Asamagatake in present-day Mie Prefecture. He spent the night in devotional meditation. When he finally fell asleep, Kichiku had a vivid dream in which he found himself in a small boat, floating peacefully on the ocean and admiring the moon. Suddenly, a dense fog moved across everything and blocked out the moonlight. Through the fog, Kichiku heard the lonesome sound of the shakuhachi. The beauty of the music was indescribable. Upon awakening, Kichiku remembered his dream and the dreamy shakuhachi tune. He played it for his master Gakushin who immediately discerned that Mukaiji was a gift from Buddha, and named it. Sui-Zen players revere the site of Kichiku's dream at today's Kongo Sho Ji Buddhist temple.
(On Blowing Bamboo; solo performed by Robert A. Jonas. Recorded at Thomas Eaton Recording Studio, Newburyport, MA, 2002. Re-released in 2015.)