Nagauta Shamisen Performer Hiroshi Hozumi



-You experienced working as a software engineer before you chose to become a professional performer, isn’t that right?

It was the time of the I.T. bubble so the wages were good, but it was not unusual for there to be about 200 hours overtime a month.

I would spend the whole day in front of a computer and take the last train home. When I got home, I would play the Shamisen even if only for a little while.

I also had rehearsals and other performance activities on the weekend, so I was able to forget about work completely. By making this time, I was able to feel refreshed as opposed to being exhausted.I was able to have a change of mood.

I think this experience is useful for when I practice with the other students. Even if I am able to make the students forget their work for even 15 or 30 minutes by becoming absorbed in Shamisen for a while, it may be an exaggeration to say it was “healing”, but if I am able to give this time to the students, then I am glad that I worked in this field.


-What was the reason you thought about becoming a pro?

At one point the feeling that the possibility of pursuing the Shamisen got larger and I entered an audition for “Pro Musica Nipponia”.

At that time I had been been performing as hobby level, so when I suddenly tried an audition, I failed it. However, the representative at the audition suggested that I meet with the Shamisen director at that time, who was Mr Shiro Minoda (Goshiro Kineya), so that is how I was introduced to my Shamisen master.

So after that, I met with Mr Goshiro Kineya and I remembered how much the Shamisen moved me. So I decided to aim to become a pro, and even though I had not started yet, I handed in my resignation at the software engineering company.

*Pro Musica Nippon: Since it was founded in 1964 it has persistently desired new people in Japanese classical music and up until now they have performed in 31 countries and 151 cities, and gained popularity even outside of Japan. They received the Arts Festival Encouragement Award in 1967, the Arts Festival Grand Award in 1970, the Arts Festival Excellence Award in 1971, the 2nd Ongaku no Tomo Sha Remy Martin Award in 1978, Matsuno Arts Special Awards in 1988, Mobile Music Awards in 1990.
Pro Musica Nippon HP:

-Even though it was quite a large turning point, it was a very sudden decision, wasn’t it?

I decided that I shouldn’t work while aiming to be a pro Shamisen performer.

Mr Goshiro Kineya suggested that I should be able to make something of myself by the time I am 30, as I was still 25 at the time, so why don’t I try to enter Tokyo University of Arts.

So from that May onwards for about a year, I practiced with the intention of getting into Tokyo University of Arts and I studied there for 2 years.

Following that I studied at the “Touon Association” for 3 years. This was the clear path to become a pro by the age of 30, which Mr Goshiro Kineya had pointed out for me.

*Touon Association: “Nagauta Touon Association” was founded in 1957 by a group of graduate student musicians and teachers from Tokyo University of Arts. Peers expect a high level of skill from one another and after graduation they focus on a specific research topic at the research center. after being examined by a board of directors, they’re able to become part of the Touon Music Association.
Touon Association HP:

Mr. Hozumi received the Excellence Award at a contest during his university days!

At Hosokawa Mansion in Kumamoto Castle. About 2 years after He knocked on the door of Mr GoShiro Kineya, He won the Kumamoto Japanese Classical music contest with this piece.

“Usually this area is restricted so people cannot enter. However, contest winners were allowed to use this area as their stage as a bonus. I felt so happy to receive my award and play in the mansion.”


The characteristics of “Jiuta Shamisen”, “Nagauta Shamisen”.

We asked Mr Hozumi, who first discovered the Jiuta Shamisen at the traditional music club at university and currently plays the Nagaura Shamisen, about the characteristics of each kind of Shamisen.

“First the size of the “bachi” (Shamisen plectrum) is different. The Jiuta Nachi is large and the top is thin. The aim is to pluck calmly and beautifully with the bachi, so it is not really designed for harsh or fine movements. The Jiuta is mainly used when playing pieces which require slow bachi movements.

The Nagauta bachi is much smaller in comparison and it is used for pieces which require precise movements, or when playing with multiple performers.

The Nagauta is mainly used as an accompaniment during Kabuki performances. Whereas the Nagauta is suitable for the Kabuki stage, the Jiuta is more suitable for performances in Zashiki (Japanese style rooms). So each Shamisen has a different use.”