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Sanshin marks Friday Highlight

Date Posted: 2005-03-04

The unique and distinct sounds of the Okinawa sanshin are heard across Okinawa daily.

Often called the Okinawa guitar, the sanshin is special in the Ryukyu Kingdom’s rich cultural history. Friday is even more special, because it’s March 4th.

Sanshin no hi means “sanshin day”, derived from san…Japanese for three, and shin…Japanese for four. March fourth!

The day will feature a variety of performances across the island, hosted by television networks, clubs and music groups. The Ryukyu Broadcasting Company first began its annual recognition of the sanshin’s vitality back in 1993 with concerts. The idea came from artist and radio personality Naohiko Uehara who appeared regularly on RBC programs. RBC officials that at least 100,000 people throughout the prefecture will play sanshin on Friday.

The sanshin connects to all music forms ranging from pop to minyo, the traditional storytelling, often in Okinawa’s native ‘hogan’ language.

The sanshin is gaining international recognition today thanks to musical groups such as Begin, an Okinawa trio from Ishigaki. The group’s lead singer is virtually never without his sanshin, which adds a special flavor to their contemporary pop music.

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