Upper school Japanese language students received a special visit from musician Baisho Matsumoto on May 17. Wearing a black kimono, Matsumoto played a series of musical pieces on the shamisen, a traditional Japanese instrument resembling a guitar, and the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese flute.
“We learned a lot of interesting information on these instruments,” said Japanese language teacher Yumiko Aridomi. “For example, shamisen has been played for about 800 years in Japan, and tsugaru shamisen artists are expected to play their original pieces of music for their customers.”
Matsumoto played traditional Japanese folk, pop and jazz music, among other styles.
“It was really fun watching the shamisen player play different instruments that you do not get to see in the United States,” said Scout McNealy, grade 10.
“It was an interesting aspect of Japanese culture that I never took the time to investigate before,” added junior Liana Wang. “I have heard of the shamisen before, but I didn’t know it was such a complex instrument. I was quite impressed.”