Yoshida Brothers (©May Zircus)

The Yoshida Brothers give a shamisen to the Museum

We visited Catalonia in 2016 to participate in the Akira Inoue project entitled: “RENGA. Cant dels ocells”. We noticed, while at the Museu de la Música [The Music Museum] in Barcelona, that there were no Shamisen instruments on display. That’s why we’ve now donated a Shamisen to the collection, coinciding with the premiere of the Concert for two shamisens and orchestra.

Yoshida Brothers amb l'orquestra OBC ©May Zircus
Yoshida Brothers with the orchestra OBC ©May Zircus

The Shamisen is a representative instrument of several traditional Japanese arts. Its origin dates to about five hundred years ago. The Sanxian (from China) and Sanshin (from Okinawa) instruments were brought to Kinai (now Kansai region) in Japan. Then, players of the Biwa instrument began to pluck it using a large plectrum. The Shamisen has three strings. It is played using a Bachi (a plectrum) and the Yubisuri (a small band that makes it easy to slide the hand up and down the neck). There are three types of Shamisen based on the thickness of the neck: Hosozao, Chuzao, Futozao (the type donated to the Museum).

As Ambassador for the Cultural Exchange of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, musician Kenichi Yoshida has been teaching Shamisen workshops at the ESMUC since 2015. We hope it serves to spread Japanese culture from Catalonia and Spain to Europe and the rest of the world. Our desire is for our activity and the exhibition of the Shamisen to contribute to making Japanese culture better known in an enriching cultural exchange.

Yoshida Brothers amb el Cònsul de Japó ©May Zircus
Yoshida Brothers with the Consul of Japan ©May Zircus