"Obscure Japanese woodwind"? Shakuhachi
is THE Japanese woodwind!
I personally play the xiao
, which is its Chinese equivalent (and origin). It's a particularly difficult flute to play, and I'm far from being brilliant at it.
But its rich, deep sound is just beautiful...
In China, it's considered as the most noble wind, and usually the only instrument to be allowed within the intimacy of China's most emblematic instrument, the guqin
(although, as in Japan, it remains a mostly solo instrument).
I have loads of Asian music on my hard disk, including some very good shakuhachi
. If you're interested, just PM me your e-mail and I'll send it to you.