John Kaizan Neptune


A prime number is a whole number that cannot be divided without a remainder by any whole number except itself and one. Of course prime also means first in rank or importance, original, fundamental. It just so happens that the traditional Japanese instruments used here all contain prime numbers: 3-stringed shamisen, 5-holed shakuhachi, 13-stringed koto, and 17-stringed bass koto.

This also points to a basic fundamental of Japanese arts in general: things are deliberately simplified, often understated, to create a very special kind of space. This is true of traditional Japanese music and the instruments themselves.... we have ten fingers, why only five holes on the shakuhachi? The contemporary music recorded here covers a broad range of textures some of which have definitely not been deliberately simplified. As with much of my music, there are influences from many parts of the world--- Japan, Europe, India, and Africa. You can find free rhythm, odd meters, polyrhythm, polyphony, pentatonic and diatonic scales, and even an imitation of African Pygmy yodeling in five.

"Simple" instruments made from natural materials, recorded in a natural wood hall, direct to digital 2-track recording, wonderful recording engineers, and good musician friends to share some sounds with.... add it all together and you get Prime Numbers!


Canyon View
Moon Spirits
Knock on Sky
Roots and Branches
Going to Town
Five and Thirteen are Prime Numbers

All music composed and arranged by John Kaizan Neptune
Recorded at Deutsche Schule Tokyo Yokohama-May 5,6, June 26, 1994



John Kaizan Neptune-Shakuhachi
Yasuko Watanabe- Koto
Hideaki Kuribayashi-Bass Koto
Akiko Nishigata-Shamisen
Watanabe Ensemble-Koto

How to Order Sheet Music for Prime Numbers
Available in Tozan Ryu and Western 5-Line Staff Notation

How to Order This Recording

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