The Shamisen


Octavi Arrizabalaga aka Aryz completed a mural paying tribute to ‘The Shamisen’ a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument for the Tennoz Art Fest in Tokyo, Japan.

" Back in the 90’s my father used to go pretty often to Japan for work. He always came back home with such incredible gifts and food...ever since I was a kid Japan has been on top of my destination list, but I’ve never really found time to visit. It has been an amazing opportunity to visit Japan and leave a part of myself in the landscape of Shinagawa."


The shamisen or samisen also sangen, is a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument derived from the Chinese instrument sanxian. It is played with a plectrum called a bachi.

The construction of the shamisen varies in shape, depending on the genre in which it is used. The instrument used to accompany kabuki has a thin neck, facilitating the agile and virtuosic requirements of that genre. The one used to accompany puppet plays and folk songs has a longer and thicker neck instead, to match the more robust music of those genres.