What’re the Best Japanese String Instruments?

Japanese String Instruments

Japanese string instruments are a wide range of traditional musical instruments that originated in Japan. These stringed instruments include the koto, shamisen, and taishogoto.

Some Japanese stringed instruments use silk strings while others use metal strings to produce sound.

There is also a particular type of Japanese harp called the sanshin which has only one string and was traditionally used by itinerant musicians for accompaniment or solo performance.

Anybody who loves music would love playing these beautiful Japanese String Instruments! They’re very special and they make such amazing sounds when you play them!

In this blog post, we’ll give you an overview of the types of Japanese string instruments, how they evolved from their Western counterparts, and what makes them unique.

Table of Content (Japanese string instruments)
What Makes Japanese Instruments Unique?
11 Best Japanese String Instruments That You Should Know
Biwa
Gottan
Ichigenkin
Junanagen
Koto
Kugo
Sanshin
Shamisen
Taishogoto
Tonkori
Yamatogoto
What’s your favorite Japanese string instrument?
Frequently Ask Questions

What Makes Japanese Instruments Unique?

Many Japanese instruments like koto, shamisen, and Sanshin have their origins in China and were introduced to Japan during the Asuka and Nara periods.

Japanese instruments are often noted for their beautiful designs and unique sounds. Japanese string instruments are some of the best in the world and are loved by musicians all over the globe.

11 Best Japanese String Instruments That You Should Know

1. Biwa

Biwa

Biwa is the Japanese name for a six-stringed lute that has its origins in India. The biwa is similar to the lute and mandolin and was first introduced to Japan in the 5th century.

The biwa is used in traditional Japanese music and is often played by shamisen players during kabuki theater performances.

2. Gottan

Gottan

Gottan is a Japanese bubble which is a Japanese stringed instrument that has its origins in China. The gottan was introduced to Japan during the Asuka and Nara periods and come with four strings and a membrane made from an ox’s ear.

3. Ichigenkin

Ichigenkin

Ichigenkin is a Japanese stringed instrument that has its origins in China. The ichigenkin is also known as the Japanese two-stringed lute and was introduced to Japan in the Asuka and Nara periods. The ichigenkin is similar to the erhu and comes with two strings that are made from silk or metal.

4. Junanagen

Junanage

Junanagen is a Japanese stringed instrument that has its origins in China. The junanagen is also known as the Japanese long-necked lute and was introduced to Japan during the Asuka and Nara periods. The junanagen is similar to the Japanese lute and comes with six strings that are made from silk or metal.

5. Koto

Koto

Koto is a Japanese stringed instrument that has its origins in China. The koto was introduced to Japan during the Asuka period and is now one of the most popular traditional Japanese string instruments. It has 13 strings that are made from silk or metal, comes with a bridge, and can be plucked or strummed.

6. Kugo

Kugo is a Japanese stringed instrument that has its origins in China. The kugo was introduced to Japan during the Asuka period and is also known as the Japanese fiddle. It comes with three strings, a moveable bridge, and can be plucked or strummed.

7. Sanshin

Sanshin

Sanshin is another one of the best Japanese string instruments that are Japanese harp that has its origins in China. The sanshin was introduced to Japan during the Asuka period and it is used by Japanese min’yō folk music performers. It has three strings, a movable bridge, and maybe plucked or strummed.

8. Shamisen

Shamisen

Shamisen Japanese string instrument is also known as the Japanese three-stringed lute. It has its origins in China and was introduced to Japan during the Asuka period. The shamisen is plucked with a plectrum, comes with three strings made from silk or metal, and has a distinctive forked pickguard design.

9. Taishogoto

Taishogoto 

The Taishogoto was created by musician Gorō Morita in Nagoya in 1912. He had been given a two-year scholarship by the country’s first prime minister to study musical instruments in Europe and the United States. He conceived of combining the mechanics of a typewriter with an instrument after returning from his studies.

10. Tonkori

Tonkori

Tonkori Japanese stringed instrument that has its origins in Siberia. The tonkori is a Japanese jaw harp and was introduced to Japan during the Jōmon period. It comes with a headstock, a comb-like tooth plate, and three strings made from animal gut or silk.

11. Yamatogoto

Yamatogoto 

Yamatogoto is a Japanese stringed instrument that has its origins in China. The Yamato got was introduced to Japan during the Asuka and Nara periods. It is half-tube-shaped and comes with six strings made from silk or metal and a moveable bridge.

What’s your favorite Japanese string instrument?

That’s all for the list of the best Japanese string instruments. We hope this article helped you.

Frequently Ask Questions

Q: What are the 3 string instruments of Japan?

A: Shamisen, sanshin, and kugo are the three Japanese string instruments.

Q: What is a Japanese violin called?

A: Kugo is Japanese violin. It has three strings and a movable bridge.

Q: What instruments did Samurai play?

A: Japanese harp, Japanese violin, and Japanese lute are the three instruments that Samurai play.

Q: How do the Japanese play their instruments?

A: Japanese play their instruments by plucking and strumming.

Q: What Japanese musical instrument is made of a gourd?

A: Japanese gekkin musical instrument is a Japanese musical instrument that is made of a gourd. It has five strings and is plucked with fingers.

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