Japan’s young musicians rally to save dying art of shamisen music

The makers of this ancient instrument were near to closure. But could it get a new lease of life?

Katsuhiro Otaki confesses he can’t play a note on the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument whose sound has been the backdrop to Japanese traditional theatre for centuries.

But tens of thousands of men and women who do know their way up and down a shamisen neck have Otaki to thank for their exquisite instruments, hand-crafted by three generations of his family.

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