"I have known Jem Klein since he was a youngster.
He grew up nearby in the hills of Mendocino County, California and lived just down the road from me. As a young child, Jem would stop by my workshop with wonderful creations he crafted from organic materials collected from the surrounding forest. I immediately recognized his exceptional ability to render art from the natural world. At the age of 15, Jem came to work for
me as a shakuhachi apprentice. We have worked together extensively over the years since that time.
"I cannot say enough about Jem's ability as a craftsman and, also, about his exceptional character. He is a natural-born craftsman blessed with a very special gift and a wonderful, sensitive person. I have been making shakuhachi for over 35 years and had the opportunity to train and work with many young people aspiring to the art. Amongst these many helpers, Jem excels in his ability as a craftsman, his calm, patient demeanor and his aesthetic sensibility. It has truly been a pleasure and an honor to collaborate with him. The commonly-held assumption is that, in a relationship like ours, the student learns everything from the teacher. The truth of the matter is that this special interaction is reciprocal. I personally have learned as much from Jem as I have endeavored to teach him. There is no false humility in this statement. Jem Klein represents the best of his generation endeavoring to keep traditional art and craftsmanship alive in the modern world.
"Now that the time has come for me look ahead to the future, I am delighted to see Jem still in my gaze. His desire to carry on our mutual passion for working with bamboo and shakuhachi is immensely appreciated and a great gift to me. In the traditional Japanese world of shakuhachi, an apprentice is acknowledged by his teacher to be an independent maker ready to start out on his own, once he has proven his ability to take on the task with honor and integrity. Jem has clearly established himself in this regard beyond all expectations. I am honored to have him stand beside me as a colleague and equal. To acknowledge this, I have given Jem the name Hosetsu derived from my own, in the Japanese tradition, Ku Setsu. He is the first and only one of my apprentices to receive this designation.
"I urge everyone to support Jem's work fully without hesitation. In this way, we can nurture the growth and continuity of traditional art and craftsmanship into the distant future."
Monty H. Levenson
Tai Hei Shakuhachi