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Sanshin professionals turn to Asoviva

Date Posted: 2011-05-11

Ebony, oak, rosewood and ironwood are the foundation of Youta Yamazaki’s dream, and his business, in creating original, custom crafted Sanshin.

Yamazaki is the owner of Asoviva, a Yomitan Sanshin shop that specializes in creating Okinawa’s signature musical instrument that is sought after for the rich, beautiful sound. He started the business in 2006, fulfilling his dream to be part of the industry that’s making the Sanshin recognized and played internationally. Working with a small number of dedicated staff, Yamazaki and Asoviva draw upon their talents in producing classic Sanshin. Necks of the Hongawa sahsin are supplied by master Sanshin craftsmen in Koza, then paired with the ebony, oak, rosewood or ironwood, then wrapped in snake skin, to create a distinct sound.

Asoviva’s gallery in Yomitan offers more than 30 types of Sanshin. The New Wood Sanshin lines, with 16 different models, start at $115 and are designed for beginners. Yamazaki says they’re also perfect Okinawan gifts to take back home. Each Sanshin comes complete with strings, doumaki, karakui, case and strap, along with a handbook and Sanshin music CD. The Tropication lines, which start at $348, are Asoviva’s original morden-style Sanshin that reflects the spirit and beauty of island culture.

Asoviva provides everything a musician—or would-be musician—needs to get started and to play. Yamazaki says “the originality of the Sanshin helps promote this fascinating instrument all over the world.” He quietly assures patrons that “among the large number of Sanshin on display in my shop, there’s sure to be one that suits your taste.”

Asoviva is located in Yomitan, and is open daily 9 am. 6 p.m. The Sanshin gallery is easy to find, following Route 6 toward Cape Zampa from Route 58. Stay on the right fork of the road where the Kanehide supermarket is located, going straight. At the Takashiho Intersection, with the gas station on the right, turn right and follow the Asoviva signs. An English website, www.asovivasanshin.com is available for more information, or Sanshin enthusiasts can call (098) 958-7750.

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