In September 2013 Joshua began playing the hichiriki, which is a double reed pipe instrument and the main melody instrument in Gagaku, which is traditional Japanese court music.

Joshua plays hichiriki in the Columbia Gagaku Ensemble which is sponsored by the Japanese Institute for Medieval Studies.

Traditional Gagaku style hichiriki playing involves a lot of pitch bending patterns, called embai. These embai are a specialty of hichiriki, that is, a distinctive characteristic of the instrument.

On March 29, 2015, the hichiriki and percussion version of John Cage's Ryoanji (1983) was performed by Hitomi Nakumara, Thomas Piercy, Joshua Mailman, and Sean Statser, at Columbia University's Miller Theatre.

On April 19, 2015, Joshua Mailman's composition Drunk Dragonfly Blues (2014) for hichiriki and piano will be premiered by Thomas Piercy and Taka Kigawa at the Tenri Cultural Institute in NYC.

Below are some audio clips from some performances by Joshua Mailman while he was in Tokyo in the summer of 2014, in an intensive Gagaku study program sponsored by the Japanese Institute.

Hyojo No Netori J. Mailman: hichiriki;
Bryanna Williams: sho (mouth organ)
mp3 0:33
excerpt from Etenraku Columbia Gagaku Trio:
J. Mailman: hichiriki;
Bryana Williams: sho;
Arias Davis: ryuteki (flute)
mp3 2:07
Banshikicho No Netori J. Mailman: hichiriki mp3 0:17