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Recorded Live Streaming Performance

The Shamisen in Japanese Art and Music – Recorded June 17 2021

The Shamisen in Japanese Art and Music

Toyoaki Sanjuro

豊秋三寿路

I was born in 1957 in Tokyo, Japan into an artisan family called TOYOAKIMOTO, traditionally categorized as OKIYA, meaning a booking and training agent for geisha ladies in downtown Tokyo’s designated area. While the economy and social environment forced many of those traditional artisan family businesses to close down in the 1960s, I was fortunately able to receive some of the important essence of traditional Tokyo geisha cultural training and studies at age 4, and became a part of the performing crew in early childhood. After my grandmother passed away, I continued the Tokyo music training until my early teens when I shifted my musical focus to American pop music and experimental music. I was active performer during the early 70s in the midst of the Tokyo underground arts movement. I also became a member of a Japanese experimental music ensemble called GINTENKAI which presented a mixture of traditional music and new western music.
Toyoaki Sanjuro - Tatsu Aoki Playing Shamisen

Toyoakimoto 豊秋本

The Music of A Tokyo’s Okiya House

Aki Aoki took over the Okiya business which originated in the mid Edo Period, during the Taisho Period (1912 – 1926).

ARAKICHO YOTSUYA TOKYO 四谷荒木町

Geisha at Age of 16

Takako Aoki, debuted as a Tokyo downtown geisha from the Toyoaki family.
Takako Performed at various occasions and many stages.

CD Toyoakimoto

I wanted to create the music in the most raw and realistic manner. Something so real and so refined to coexist with roughness and rawness can constitute beauty as in handmade crafts. I longed to be honest in performing this distinctive style of music as I heard and felt it. I would hope that people are still interested in the truth.