The Shamisen in Japanese Art and Music

The Shamisen in Japanese Art and Music
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art Virtual Presentation 
Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 6:00 PM CT (7:00 PM ET)
Register Here
Curator Kit Brooks with Tatsu Aoki (Toyoaki Sanjuro), Kioto Aoki, Miyumi Aoki, and special guests Chizuru Kineya and Nobuto Yamanaka Follow one of Japan’s oldest musical instruments through its roles in kabuki and puppet theater, in the folk music of itinerant musicians, and in the geisha houses of Tokyo’s Yoshiwara district. Understand how Japanese aesthetics moved from informal to more standardized styles by viewing paintings, photographs, and woodblock prints, and by hearing three masters of the shamisen. Our guides will be curator Kit Brooks, who specializes in the Edo and Meiji periods, and musician and filmmaker Tatsu Aoki, who learned his family’s shamisen repertoire before moving to the United States to pursue a career in jazz, film, and experimental music. 

Tatsu Aoki will be accompanied by Kioto and Miyumi Aoki on drums and flute. Nobuto Yamanaka, a specialist in the tsugaru shamisen style of Japan’s itinerant musicians, and Chizuru Kineya, a master of the nagauta shamisen music that accompanies kabuki theater, will join from Tokyo.

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