A four-stringed instrument introduced from China in the 18th century. Plucked with picks (to the right). Used to accompany folksongs and other traditional music, and with instruments such as the koto.
Gagaku, the music and dance of the Japanese imperial court, is Japan's oldest performing art. A kangen ensemble (wind and strings) accompanies the dance. The main instruments are yokobue, sho.
A New Years Haiku. Text: "Shaved up and ready (Sori-tatete)/ Pines by the door and breezes, (kadomatsu kaze-ya)/ Happiness, Wealth, Long Life (Fukurokuju). [Signed] Buson [seal]"
This five-string musical instrument decorated with mother-of-pearl and carved out of sandalwood is one of the items stored at the Shoso-in treasure house of Todai-ji. This is one example of the excellent, handcrafted articles brought to Japan.
The kangen ensmble plays the world's oldest orchestra music. See gagaku, soc000113.