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Musical Instruments
Fue Flute
Chanpon Cymbals
Hyoshigi Wooden clappers
Taiko Large drum
Surigane Gong
Kotsuzumi Small drum
Fue or flute

The fue 笛 or flute is one of the nine Narimono or instruments for the Service. It is the only wind instrument among the Narimono.

Fue, in a narrow sense, refer to transverse flutes.[1] The etymology of the term fue is believed to be a abbreviation of fuki-e 吹枝 (literally, “blown branch”).

Fue in history

Instruments called "Ten no toribue" (bird flute of heaven) and "Ten no iwabue" (stone flute of heaven) are mentioned in ancient texts, but details regarding what these instruments may have looked like are unknown.

The oldest extant flutes preserved in the Shosoin include those made from bamboo, stone, and ivory. However, an archeological dig of the Hoshizuka Kofun in Tenri unearthed pieces of pine wood believed to be flutes dating back 200 years earlier than those preserved in the Shosoin.

The major types of transverse flutes in Japanese music include:

  • Kagurabue 神楽笛, used in kagura music
  • Ryuteki 龍笛, used in gagaku pieces transmitted from mainland China
  • Komabue 高麗笛, used in gagaku pieces transmitted from the Korean peninsula
  • Nokan 能管, used in Noh
  • Shinobue 篠笛, used in folk kagura, rituals, and dances

These flutes are mainly made from bamboo.

Use within Tenrikyo

The fue used in Tenrikyo services is a shinobue. It averages 48 cm in length, has a embouchure hole, and seven finger holes. Shinobue come in 12 pitches, ranging from numbers 1 to 12. The shinobue pitch used in the Tenrikyo service is number 4, which is closest to the western pitch of F.


  1. Unless noted, most of the information on this page comes from 『改訂 天理教事典』 Kaitei Tenrikyo jiten, pp. 783–4.