Dr Jim Franklin encountered the shakuhachi during studies in composition and musicology in Australia, Germany and Holland. After learning the instrument with Dr Riley Lee and with Furuya Teruo and Yokoyama Katsuya, he received the title Shihan (“master”) in 1996 from Yokoyama-sensei.
Franklin has specialized in the honkyoku of the Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshukan and in modern music. His concert activities extend throughout Germany as well as other countries in Europe and beyond, and he has performed and taught at all the World Shakuhachi Festivals since 1998. His CDs include honkyoku recordings (Hearing Stillness and Zen Garden Meditations), his own solo pieces (Butsuga), and several CDs of compositions and improvisations with other musicians (Water Spirits, Moon Road to Dawn, Abundance, Aurora, Nine-Elemental Songs, Journey of Simurgh).
As a composer, Franklin combines shakuhachi with contemporary and electroacoustic music. The interface between shakuhachi and live electronics is a key area of interest. His works Three Treasures: Columns and Webs (realized 1996 in the Centre for Computer Music, Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo) and Songs from the Lake No.2 (premiered at the Prague Shakuhachi Festival 2011) are representative of this direction.
Since 2004 Franklin has lived in Germany. He teaches and offers workshops (beginners to advanced students) in numerous cities, including Mainz, Stuttgart, Hannover, Bergisch Gladbach, Heidelberg, Bamberg, Munich and Nuremberg.
Franklin was instrumental in the founding of the European Shakuhachi Society, and was its foundation chairperson, from 2006 to 2009. He has taught and performed at many of the European Shakuhachi Summer Schools.