The Shamisen Sessions, Vol. 3
A Salute to Tradition

November 20, 2014
past event image
Performance past event

Tsuruzawa Yumi.

Imafuji Chotatsuro.

Hanayagi Genkuro.

Immerse yourself in the diverse styles of traditional shamisen music! The instrument, originally from China, reached Japan in the 16th century, where it underwent changes in shape, size and sound. The shamisen has become a central element in Japan’s unique performing arts and entertainment culture, featured in kabuki and bunraku theaters, salon, folk and vaudeville music, and more. This evening showcases three traditional shamisen musical styles–nagauta (kabuki), gidayu (bunraku) and jiuta (tatami salon concerts) —  as performed by Japan’s preeminent shamisen players and chanters, including a Living National Treasure and a traditional nihon buyo dancer.

Artists include: Fujii Hirokazu (jiuta chanter/shamisen), Takemoto Komanosuke (gidayu chanter, Living National Treasure), Tsuruzawa Yumi aka Yumiko Tanaka (gidayu shamisen), Tsuruzawa Tsugahana (gidayu shamisen), Imafuji Chotatsuro (nagauta shamisen), Kineya Katsujuro (nagauta shamisen), Kineya Mitsuya (nagauta chanter) and Hanayagi Genkuro (nihon buyo traditional dancer). 

Program to include: Kanjincho (nagauta style), Zangetsu (jiuta style), Tamagawa (nagauta style) and Komochi Yamamba (gidayu style). 

Tickets: $40/$33 Japan Society members

Pre-Performance Lecture led by Dr. K. Natasha Foreman, Lecturer in Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Wayne State University. One hour before curtain. FREE and open to ticket holders only.

Thursday, Nov. 20 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception.

The Japan Society produced tour of A Salute to Tradition includes: The Clark Institute, Williamstown, MA

Purchase tickets to two The Shamisen Sessions events and save $4, purchase tickets to three and save $6, purchase tickets to all four and save $8 (available for general and member-priced tickets). Discount is only available by visiting or calling the box office at (212) 715-1258 or by downloading the Ticket Order Form (PDF).

The Shamisen Sessions
From traditional stages to contemporary rock, pop and jazz concerts, this three-stringed instrument has forged art and entertainment culture in Japan for centuries and continues to shape new spheres in world music. These four sessions spotlight leading shamisen musicians from Japan performing the full gamut of today’s musical styles.


The East Coast tour of A Salute to Tradition is co-produced by NPO Kaibunsha and Japan Society.

The Shamisen Sessions series Vol. 1-4 is supported by Doug and Teresa Peterson.

A Salute to Tradition is supported by The Japan Foundation and the Arts Council Tokyo.

MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception support is provided by MetLife Foundation.


Top images: Takemoto Komanosuke © Tomohiro Fukuda; Fujii Hirokazu, courtesy of the artist. Inset images: Tsurusawa Yumi (Yumiko Tanaka) © Julie Lemberger; Imafuji Chotatsuro © NIPPON STEEL & SUMITOMO METAL Arts Foundation; Hanayagi Genkuro, courtesy of the artist.

  • Thursday, November 20, 2014
  • 7:30 pm