“Sankyoku: Layered Resonance”
Japan has four beautiful seasons. Throughout history, the Japanese people admired the natural change of seasons and developed a sensitivity which exemplifies their feelings for and infuses their expressions of the natural world. That sensitivity lives today in the unique chamber music style known as “sankyoku”.
Sankyoku (meaning literally “three melodies”) is performed generally by three instruments: “shamisen” (also known as “sangen”), “koto” and “shakuhachi”. The shamisen is a three-stringed instrument played with a plectrum which became widely popular among the Japanese populace from the Warring States period (1467-1568). The koto is a 13-string zither which has its roots in the much older “gagaku” court music originally from China. The shakuhachi, a vertical flute made from bamboo, was used as part of certain Buddhist Zen ascetic practices during the Edo period (1603-1868). Sankyoku was born of these three instruments coming to be performed together in ensemble, creating a style which now has been loved by many for generations.
In this video, three well-known performers of sankyoku perform one of its famous pieces and briefly introduce the techniques which gave birth to its unique sound, offering a glimpse into the music’s fascinating appeal.
Presented by The Japan Foundation (JF) (https://www.jpf.go.jp/e/)
Performers: FUJIWARA Dozan, FUJIMOTO Akiko, OKAMURA Shintaro
Production Assistance: Kokyo Gaien National Garden, Yozan Mei Shakuhachi
Additional Materials: National Diet Library
Supervision: NOGAWA Mihoko
Video Image Production: NHK ENTERPRISES, INC.
Video Image Producers: HAMANO Takahiro
Video Image Director: OKAUCHI Hideaki
English Translation: Richard EMMERT
Chinese Translation (Simplified): Hanqing ZUO
Chinese Translation (Traditional): Yunhsien LIANG
French Translation: NAKAJIMA Naoko
Indonesian Translation: Dewi ANGGRAENI
Russian Translation: Tatiana SOKOLOVA DELUSINA
Spanish Translation: Mauricio MARTINEZ (https://www.japonartesescenicas.org)
End date of distribution: 23/12/2026