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Shamisen Becoming Trend Among Young

Date Posted: 2001-01-07

All things Okinawan are fashionable in Japan, and one of the most Okinawan things one can buy is the shamisen, the three-stringed banjo-like instrument that one can hear where ever there is Okinawan music. It is said that in old times when a house caught fire, the first thing Okinawans rescued was their shamisen. With shopping on the Internet on the increase in Japan, it has become easy for anyone to purchase one. www.okinawamarket.com is one site that sells reasonably priced shamisens.

Music and instrument stores also report that the number of shamisens they sell is up 20 to 30 percent. At the same time the cost has gone down. It used to be that shamisens were made by hand by craftsmen. They were pieces of art and cost accordingly. “Now most are made in Vietnam or China and we only fine tune them here in Okinawa and that has enabled us to cut prices considerably,” Fumiko Higa, a music store owner confessed. But she also said that “Okinawan music is getting quite popular and people want to learn to play it themselves. For that you need a shamisen, and an imported one gets you started at a low cost. When you learn more you can go and buy a really nice one,” Higa said.

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