Mon Oct 30,2017 23:00 pm

Komatsuya Posts Videos of Shamisen Featuring Artificial Leather

Komatsuya, Ltd.

Shamisen Manufacturing and Sales Company Wishes the Attractiveness of Shamisen to be Known to Foreigners who are Interested in Japanese Instruments and Culture

For Immediate Release
October 30, 2017

Komatsuya, Ltd., a Shamisen (three-stringed traditional Japanese instrument) manufacturer, on October 6 posted videos of the instrument being hand-made by a craftsman using synthetic skin known as Ripple on its website at http://shamisen-komatsuya.com/ and YouTube at https://youtu.be/JAAnH0_eN7U and https://youtu.be/B2C0xbx89mk.

Shamisen has been a part of the traditional Japanese culture over the past 500 years. The instrument has a neck and strings stretching across the resonating body, whose skin was customarily taken from cats and dogs until being replaced by synthetic materials due to social stigma. The number of Shamisen lovers is increasing in Japan and overseas whether they are professional or amateur musicians.

At Komatsuya’s workshop, master craftsmen assemble each and every unit of Shamisen by hands. They also develop other products that will help Shamisen be handed over to the next generation with no interruption. For those who have never played Shamisen, Komatsuya sells a small replica under the name of “Shami Komachi” as a reasonably priced souvenir. This product represents Komatsuya’s desire to get more people to be familiar with Shamisen.

One of those products is synthetic leather “Ripple”, which was invented in consideration of animal protection. Ripple is an excellent alternative for animal skin since it does not break as easily as the latter. For its high quality and distinctive function, Ripple goes into circulation on the domestic market.

Founded in Tokyo in 1992, Komatsuya originally engaged in the manufacture and wholesale of top-notch Shamisen. Since its sales were on the decline due to a decrease in the population of Shamisen players. However, Komatsuya decided to invent Ripple and other products that could trigger a revolution in the closed Shamisen industry. Though there were other kinds of artificial Shamisen leather, the sounds that they created were too awful to entice any professional players.

Ripple is now used not only for Tsugaru Shamisen, originating from Aomori Prefecture, but also for Nagauta Shamisen, mainly played as an accompaniment in Kabuki, and for Jiuta Shamisen, often played with the 13-stringed Japanese Zither or the five-holed vertical bamboo flute known as Shakuhachi.

Komatsuya spares no effort day in day out to develop innovations in pursuit of high quality. As a part of such effort, the company collaborates with the Japan Acoustic Laboratory, whose experts are committed to scientific research on animal skin and analyses of sounds.

With the posting of the video of Shamisen being assembled, Komatsuya intends to appeal to people overseas to get in touch with the sophisticated craftsmanship of Japanese Shamisen workers and Shamisen itself that symbolize classical Japanese culture. Japanese people generally care so little about Shamisen that its players’ population is falling dramatically. In fear of such a trend, Komatsuya attempts to appeal to people abroad to increase the population of Shamisen players. The company is also determined to expand sales channels overseas and revive the boom of Shamisen culture in Japan by the re-importation of the culture.

Komatsuya dreams of its Ripple-made Shamisen playing a role in the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For now, Komatsuya sets its sales target at 10 million units of Shamisen per month by 2019.


For more information, please contact:
Mihito Akazawa
Public Relations
Komatsuya, Ltd.
Mail address: info@s-ripples.co.jp
Phone: +81-42-780-8518
URL: http://shamisen-komatsuya.com/