World Sanshin Festival

For the first time, a World Sanshin Festival will be held in the fall to coincide with the 7th Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival (10/30 to 11/3). Looks like they’ll do a “tour festival” in an effort to reduce crowds due to the ongoing pandemic and the World Sanshin Festival will be held every five years after the 2025 WUF. If you’re interested in learning more about the different genres of our music and looking to buy a sanshin (it sounds like sanshin makers/stores will be participating in the festival), this is the event to go to.

World Sanshin Festival PR Movie

Anly’s Upcoming Single “Alive” for au Okinawa Cellular 5G

Singer-songwriter Anly who happens to be sponsored by both Fender and Yamaha, has been on a streak with new single releases. Her next single is called “Alive” and has a tie-up with Okinawa Cellular’s 5G service. Anly tweeted that the sanshin that can be heard on the song is performed by none other than Nakasone Hajime who has been performing as R∞2 (Roots). We’ll share more on the song as soon as it’s released.

Anly’s “Alive” for au Okinawa Cellular CM

By the way, the actress starring in the CM is Matsuda Ruka from Okinawa.

“Shima Uta” 30th Anniversary

Miyazawa Kazufumi Interview for “Shima Uta” 30th Anniversary

It’s the 30-year anniversary of THE BOOM’s mega-hit song “Shima Uta” (1/22/92). In the video interview, Kazufumi talks about the song and his model makabi sanshin (yes, there’s such a thing) which has a beautiful chiiga (that’s sadly not available on its own). Kazufumi has been involved in many Okinawa music and culture projects since then one of which is the excellent YouTube series “Toki no Sui Saiga” with musician Oyakawa Haruka.

Miyazawa Kazufumi Model Sanshin

h/t Sanshin Kumiai on Twitter

Awamori Sanshin — No, It’s Not What You Think

Via Twitter

In the “what can be more Okinawan than” department comes something so spectacular (and colorful) from the Sanshin Partners Project: Sanshin with designs from 39 different awamori breweries! You can now sip your favorite (or your favorites) awamori while playing with the bottle sanshin that looks just like it! The 88,800 Yen (ones with a semi-hard case are available for 93,500 Yen) sanshin are being sold online and comes with a special sticker set and a special cloth bag that aren’t available separately. We’ve ordered from the store many times and they also offer online classes from top sensei of shimauta and classical music. Be sure to check them out and let us know in the comments if you bought one!

2021 Tubarāma Taikai on YouTube

via Ishigaki City’s website

This year the Tubarāma Taikai was held at the Ishigaki Shimin Kaikan Dai Hōru (it was originally scheduled to be held outdoors at Shinei Park) without a live audience due to the pandemic. So in place of canceling it, they did a YouTube livestream and although the video is 3 hours 46 minutes long, the program actually starts around the 1 hour mark. The contestants range in age from the 10’s to the 70’s and come from Yaeyama, Uchinaa, and Japan.

“Tubarāma” is one of the representative folk songs of Yaeyama and is widely sung. The Tubarāma Tournament, which is held every year for the purpose of passing it on to future generations […]

The Sanshin Cafe Orchestra’s “Okinawan Cafe Music”

via Twitter

On August 11 The Sanshin Cafe Orchestra’s “Okinawan Cafe Music” album was released on music streaming services. The 2001 album is from a label created by Takara Records Store and they plan to release more of the catalog! The instrumental album is described as traditional meets ambient music — it’s definitely chill cafe music and it’s as fresh as it was 20 years ago.

Sanshin from Ichintou Arakaki Sanshin-ten

Previously. we posted about ordering sanshin and supplies from Okinawa from an online store that ships internationally. Now I’m happy to announce another established store that you can order sanshin to be shipped outside of Okinawa/Japan (please check with the store if your region is supported): Ichintou Arakaki Sanshin-ten. Although you still won’t be able to order a sanshin with real snakeskin (this is the same for both stores), they may be able to accommodate an order for an upgraded sanshin (i.e. an advanced one) and swapping the real snakeskin with a synthetic one for those who are looking to purchase a better sou (neck). Also note that due to the pandemic, shipping will likely be via ship versus by air so there may be a one to two month wait to receive your sanshin/goods but I believe it will be worth the wait! The alternative is to travel to Okinawa (which is unlikely at this time) and if you do have a chance to visit in the future, they do have a store in Uruma City.

Follow the Uruma City store on Twitter. Arakaki Shigeru-san on Twitter.

Suzuhana Yuko (Wagakki Band) Plays Asadoya Yunta

Suzuhana Yuko, the vocalist of the Japanese folk rock band Wagakki Band, recently shared on her YouTube channel that she’s a fan of the sanshin and Okinawan folk music. She performs Asadoya Yunta and talks a bit about how she came upon the instrument and her love of Okinawa. In the video’s description, she writes in English (probably for her worldwide audience) of how the sanshin is not the same as the shamisen that’s used in her band’s music. Maybe we’ll one day see an original Okinawan folk pop/rock song on a future album of Wagakki Band like The Boom’s Shima Uta and Heiwa no Ryuka from the Southern All Stars.

Online Store for Ryukyu Musical Supplies

Living outside of Okinawa and Japan makes it difficult to find sanshin and supplies (kunkunshi, bachi, uma, karakui, etc.) so I’m always looking for online stores that service musicians outside of Okinawa/Japan. While you may not be able to have a real snakeskin sanshin shipped outside of Okinawa/Japan, you can a synthetic one shipped to you along with the aforementioned supplies.

An online store I’ve come across is the (bear with me as it’s a long name) Sanshin Craftsmen’s Business Cooperative Association of Okinawa (online store link). A great thing about them is what their name implies: they are an online store that features instruments and items from craftsmen with workshops in and outside of Okinawa. Another great thing about them is that they’re also active on YouTube, Twitter, and other social media platforms. They also have a sanshin class via Zoom (international students are also welcome to join) the intro of which is featured above.

They respond quickly to email messages so contact them with your questions. I can confirm the quality of the items and their shipping having recently received an order from them. There are other online stores out there but it’s difficult to tell if they’re still operating and it’s definitely something you don’t want to take a chance on.

If you know of any other online stores, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll take a look.