Japanese instruments are as varied as western instruments, and many times much older. The music is decidedly different, involving micro-tones, overtones, and pressure on strings.


BIWA A pear shaped lute. The Biwa maker is testing his instrument.


TAIKO A drum ensemble, including a very large drum played by two performers with four drum sticks..


LIUQIN A mandolin.


SHAMISEN A three stringed banjo.


KOTO The Koto is a Japanese harp with a limited number of strings, tuned to sound Japanese. Notice that the right hand fingers wear three large picks. Some times the left hand wears picks or it may pluck strings without a pick. The left hand is also used to bend the strings so that they sound a microtone above the normal.


The Tonkori looks like a long zither. It is unfretted and has between three and five strings which are not stopped but are played open. The Auni peoples or northern Japan play the instrument. A picture of a fancy Tonkori shows a full view of the instrument.