The Charms of Shamisen

The Charms of Shamisen

Developed as a culture of the townsfolk in the Edo period

The first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, established the Edo Bakufu in 1603.  From this time the Edo period lasted for about 260 years up until 1867 when the 15th shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned and returned the power to the Emperor.

The Sengoku period (“Age of Warring States”) ended. With a politically stable environment, many unique cultures developed their identity. At the center was Edo (modern-day Tokyo), a great lively city, said to be the largest city in the world at that time.

At the heart of Edo culture is the townsfolk or the common people, and at that time, the popular instrument which ordinary people could enjoy was the shamisen.

From the traditional to the glamorous performing arts of the Kabuki, the shamisen blended into all aspects of the life of the ordinary townsfolk.

 As the mainstream music of the townsfolk, the shamisen has been loved and developed by the lively people of Edo. The expressive power and the diverse sounds of the shamisen were full of fun and free elements for the enjoyment of life.

 It was, of course, a very popular skill to learn especially for the ladies, the shamisen was considered an “elegant hobby for a lady”.


The Expressive Power of The Shamisen

Shamisen is a traditional Japanese instrument created to accompany people’s voices when they sing or speak.

The charm of the shamisen is in its mysterious sound. In the three strings lies an infinite variety of tone and expressive power. For example, it can express people’s feelings and even the sounds of nature, such as the sound of the wind or how the snow falls.

 There is no other single instrument in the world with such a variety of expressive power. In addition, it can be conveniently carried and enjoyed and played easily by anyone. 

 And most of all, it is the perfect instrument to discover Japanese etiquette and manners (For example, greetings, gestures and conducts, the posture of seating and importance of all things).


SHAMIKO, while inheriting the DNA of the conventional shamisen, has been improved and evolved to integrate into the life of a modern person seamlessly.


2月 27, 2020