Tsugaru Shamisen

Shamisen, Japan’s three stringed spiked lute, is one of the post popular stringed instruments (if not the most popular one) to come out of Japan, due in part to the music that has come from the Tsugaru region and several virtuoso players such as (Takahashi Chikuzan, Agatsuma, Shinichi Kinoshita, and The Yoshida Brothers) in the last several decades.


Shamisen has its origins perhaps in Central Asia, coming to China and eventually to the Ryukyu Islands (present day Okinawa) and finally to Japan proper via Osaka, sometime in the 16th century. Various genres emerged including jiuta, nagauta, gidayu, minyou which all use a specific size of shamisen for their music. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the shamisen reached it’s largest and loudest size, and flowering of it’s famous solo music of the Tsugaru Shamisen which is the style I focus on.


Although I live on the Sunshine Coast of BC, I often travel in to Vancouver to give private shamisen tutoring sessions for beginners who wish to try out what shamisen is all about. Please contact me for more information and to set up a meeting time.  Come and join me in enjoying the beauty of Tsugaru Shamisen!

Al Shamisen 1