Traditional art lessons


Asakusa has always been a modern city and one of the busiest cities in Japan.
The newest cultures and customs of those days,for example,movies,operas,
revues and so on appeared in Asakusa,and those new things went out of fashon one after another,
and other new things appeared.

On the other hand,old cultures of Edo have been protected obstinately in Asakusa.
In Asakusa there is the history and culture as a cathedral town connected with the Sensoji Temple
protected by the shogunate,and one of the most prosperous and wide geisha girl areas in Tokyo
is at the back of the Sensoji Temple.
Besides the bright and joyful licensed quarters Yoshiwara was next to it.
Those formed the unique culture zone of Edo.
And,this culture zone,Asakusa, has preserved traditional cultures and entertainments of Edo.

In these days traditional Japanese cultures are fading away even in the minds of Japanese day by day.
So,to visit Asakusa and watch traditional skills and entertainments
is nice trip for rediscovering the identity of Japanese for ourselves.
The traditional skills and entertainments in Asakusa are still in good shape even now.
On this page we will introduce you some teachers who are active in the forefronts of the various circles.

They are all earnest teachers and teach even the beginners kindly.
Anyone can join regardless of age or sex.
We recommend the young people to try to master the traditional skills and entertainments freely.
It is very easy to start learning.
And,learning Japanese cultures is the first step to become a cosmopolitan.

The following titles are arranged in the Japanese syllabary.


This is the general term for the folk songs or the dances for the accompaniment of shamisen which prevailed among people from the Bunka era to the Meiji era.
Poor priests prevailed this entertainments by dancing or singing in the form of Sumiyoshi Odori dance in Edo city.
In the Meiji era this was also performed in the vaudeville theater.

The master Sakuragawa Pinsuke

The master Sakuragawa Pinsuke

She is the 2nd master after the 1st Sakuragawa Pinsuke(his father).
In the 40's of Showa the 1st master had more than 2000 pupils and named the training hall "Kappore Dojo".
The word "Dojo" means to train oneself every day.
So, "The 1st master gave the good name."the present master told us smiling.
She says " To please the people is the greatest joy for myself".
The ages of his pupils range widely from 3 to 80.
"Kappore by the children" is popular throughout the country.
You can see it from 12:00 on the 1st and the 3rd Sundays in "Sanja sama"(the Asakusa Shrine).
It is very funny to see it.

Accomplishments(Japanese only)HP

One of the kinds of the music for shamisen.
The words for the songs of Kouta are comparatively short and pun,irony and smartness in the words are the essense of the interest of kouta and the high technique is used in the way of singing,for example,to suppress the voice extremely.
It contains the elements of the other Japanese musics,for example,nagauta,kiyomoto,tokiwazu and other old musics.
So,its taste is profound.
It is sung in more rapid tempo than utazawa(famous Japanese music).

The master Kasuga Toyoseiyoshi

The master Kasuga Toyoseiyoshi

Accomplishments(Japanese only)

In a wide sense "Kokyu" is a popular name or a general term of string rubbed instruments,and in a narrow sense "Kokyu" is a proper noun for the musical instrument.
In the accompaniment for Japanese folk songs or Japanese ballad dramas shamisen,sho and kokyu were once used as the main musical instruments,but in these days they are replaced by shakuhachi.
In Kanto district kokyu of 4 strings is usually used and in Kansai district that of 3 strings is used.
And,they are quite different musical instruments from "Niko" in China.

The master Hara Kazuo

The master Hara Kazuo

When he was 12 years old,he was fascinated by the sound of kokyu resounding from the radio and started learning. We hear he has kept company with kokyu for 30 years.
He belongs to Nagoya group.
"The charms of kokyu are difficultness in playing by bow and its sound." he says.
He has about 20pupils.
And,70 % of them are women of 20s or 30s.
We hear he tries not to forget what the late his master said to him.
He says he respect the pupils' independence in his practice.

Accomplishments(Japanese only)HP

The string instrument of China,Korea and Japan.
Koto is the string instrument with 13 strings and small poles put under them and played with the plectrums put on the thumb,the forefinger and the middle finger.
This musical instrument was mainly handed down by the blind persons and in these days the Yamada school of round plectrum and the Ikuta school of dice plectrum are popular.
There is another style of 17 strings designed in the Taisho era.

The master Harada Toryu

The master Harada Toryu

He had been trained by his mother since he was 6 and half years old.
His wife and daughter also play koto.His family is just the family of art.
They are doing various activities as Tohokai group.
We hear they sometimes play with the orchestra or the Jazz group.
They appear on the NHK TV every year.
He says "I like koto next to the meal.
"He has the happiest time when he is writing music.
The most impressive event for him was the performance in the presence of the king of Saudi Arabia.
The ages of his pupils range from 20s to 80s.
Many of them are women.
His practice in homely atomosphere is always busy.

Accomplishments(Japanese only)

These are the artistic songs accompanied with mainly shamisen.
They originate from the accompaniment for "kabuki" dance in the Edo era and were influenced by the folk songs in Kamigata(the present Kansai district) and absorbed lyrical and narative elements from various songs and grew into the shape of today.
They were called "Edo Nagauta" in the old times.
The members for performance of nagauta are separated into singers and players.

The master Kineya Yaichiro

The master Kineya Yaichiro

aster Kineya was born and brought up in Asakusa, Daito-ku in Tokyo.
He apprenticed to his father, Tetsuo To-on Miyata, current 8th Grand Master Yakichi Kineya and a Living National Treasure. He succeeded to the previous name of the Grand Master Yaichiro Kineya in 1999.
He instructs at Tokyo International College of Music Therapy since 2000.
Tune of shamisen was always around him since he was born. Kineya is a young master with an attractive smile who devotedly strives for versatility. "I want various people to get familiar with Nagauta." says the master on a happy note. You can take lessons from him right in Asakusa where atmosphere of old Tokyo still remains. His father, Master Yakichi Kineya's lessons are also available at the same place.

Accomplishment(Japanese only)
Biwa(Satsuma biwa)

The string snapped instrument.
This string snapped instrument belongs to one of the kinds of lute.
The peach styled body is put two boards on the front and the back and a small pole is put on the curved neck.
And,the strings are stretched on it and played by big stick powerfully.
Biwa introduced in about the 7th century through West Asia and the Silk Road are roughly classified as gakubiwa,mosobiwa,Heikebiwa,Satsumabiwa and Chikuzenbiwa.

The master Tomoyoshi Kakushin

The master Tomoyoshi Kakushin

Born in Asakusa Tokyo in 1965.He had learned various kinds of traditional entertainments.
He became famous as an musician all over the world when he was 22 years old.He became a pupil of the player of biwa,Tsuruta Kinji,and succeeded to his grandfather's name.
In 1996 he won the 1st prize in the Japan playing contest of biwa and as a result of this he was awarded various kinds of prizes,for example,the prize for encouragement of Minister of Education,the prize of the Chairman of NHK and so on.
He tries to keep his policy"Protect the traditional things correctly and then create new things".
We hear he is now carrying out the performance by having sessions with various genres of music including the performance of his sponsorship in the National Theater and the sessions with Japanese old musics.
He has sessions with unexpected musicians,for example,Demon Kogure.
He says his motto is"Try not to dull the sensibility".
Many of his pupils are men because his performance is very powerful.

Accomplishments(Japanese only)

Folk songs handed down from people to people.The style is the songs accompanied with the musical instruments for the accompaniment,shamisen,drums,shakuhachi and so on.
And,some of the songs became the public entertainments and the local specialties.

The master Fujita Shujiro

The master Fujita Shujiro

He is from Akita prefecture.
He won the 1st prize in the 1st national meet of Japan Hometown Folk Song Association.
After that he made his debut as a singer belonging to King Record.
Now he belongs to Columbia Record.
And,he is leading the members of "Fjinamikai" group as the host of the group.
He appeared in Asakusa in the 34th year of Showa and has worked hard with a hope to be a respectable man.
The ages of his pupils range from school children and many of them are women.
Fujinamikai group is doing various activities,for example,a group tour per one year,the meeting in fall for announcement of folk songs and a monthly meeting for study.
"It is good for the young people of nowadays not only to study but also to sing a folk song which represents the mind of Japan and refresh our minds.
I hope them to have tender minds to respect their parents."he said.

Accomplishments(Japanese only)

"Hayashi" is unisons and accompaniments which compliment other music or dramas.
It is the word of which the verb"hayasu"(means to accompany) changed to the noun"hayashi".
It is the music mainly played by percussion instruments and wind instruments.
Pipes,kotsuzumis,ohtsuzumis,drums and so on are used.
In a wide sense three types of music,the music played by the above instruments,nagauta(songs) and the music played by shamisen should be called "Hogaku hayashi"(Japanese music hayashi).
Many of the"hayashi" musics as the folk musics are the sound for the festivals.

The master Mochizuki Tazae

Mochizuki Tazae The master

Born in Nihonbashi.His mother was born in Asakusa.
His father is the 10th master Mochizuki Tazaemon and started practice in Asakusa in the 30th year of Showa.
He started learning Japanese music in his childhood.
He graduated the graduate school of the faculty of music of Tokyo Art College.
He also works as an instructor of the training course of the National Theater.
The representative of Nigiwai(means bastle) college of Japanese music.
He teaches from the beginners class tsuzumi(Japanese percussion),matsuri bayashi(the accompaniments for the festivals) and so on.
He has about 70 or 80 pupils.The ages of them range from school children to 80s.
"I started teaching because I like Japanese music.
We always have to change ourselves",he says.
"In these days I often see the persons with the minds closed and I hope them to open their minds.Arts exist in our daily life.
Speaking Japanese is just equal to playing Japanese music",he said.
"In my practice the communication can not be seen is the most important",he also said.

Accomplishments(Japanese only)
Japanese Drum

The sound of Japanese Drums can express the spirit of Japanese.And,these musical instruments can move the people.
Everyone,regardless of age or sex,can enjoy the sound.
The shime daiko drums(the drums tightened by strings),the middle sized drums,the big sized drums,the okedo daiko drums(made of the tub) and the thin portable drums are mainly used.
Most of the drumsticks for the middle sized drums are made of evergreen oaks and most of the drumsticks for the big sized drums and the shime daiko drums are made of Japanese cypress or bracts.

The master Tosha Kiyonari

The master Tosha Kiyonari

He is a holder of diploma of the Tosha School of musical accompaniment for nagauta music.
He has been studying about playing drums for 40 years since he was 12 years old.
He is the first professional player of the ensemble of the drums in Tokyo.
He is also one of the originaters of performance of the drum in Sukeroku's style.
We hear he is always studying how to play the drum in different style from other players.
We hear he has now about 60 pupils and the ratio of men to women of them is 5 to 1.
He says brightly his pupils are all very good and has no problem to be careful about them.

Accomplishments(Japanese only)

Every inquiry and question about traditional entertainments are acceptable.

  • 時代屋ワンコインガイド時代屋ワンコインガイド
  • 変身遊び変身遊び
  • 今日の花嫁今日の花嫁
  • 人力車といえば浅草時代屋人力車といえば浅草時代屋
  • 時代屋メディア・芸能情報時代屋メディア・芸能情報
  • すみだいーとこすみだいーとこ