A concert of traditional and contemporary works on the Japanese Koto. Free, registration required.

The Koto no WA ensemble will perform at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art on July 7th! This hybrid performance will include history, detailed explanations, and visual aids that share the history and tradition of koto, and after the concert we will open the floor to Q/A.

The koto is a string instrument that originated in China and was brought to Japan by cultural emissaries between the 7th and 8th centuries. Throughout its long history, the instrument has changed into a uniquely Japanese form and has become an integral part of Japanese culture.

The koto is about six feet long and consists of a hollow body made from Paulownia wood (kiri). Most koto have 13 silk or nylon strings, and movable bridges, called ji, are placed along the length of each string.

Until Japan was modernized in the 19th century, koto music was very popular only among aristocrats, daughters of samurai and wealthy merchants. After Japan was modernized, western musical styles started to influence Japanese culture, and the koto gradually lost its popularity, especially during Japan’s rapid economic growth period after World War II. In recent years, with Japanese government’s efforts to promote traditional arts, koto has been taught at schools all over Japan. Nowadays, the instrument is played by people from all walks of life.

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