Hosozao Shamisen Set “Ume” | restored

set includes:

  • hosozao shamisen (sao width: 25mm, height: 25mm)
  • Skinned with natural skins
  • neo
  • doukake
  • strings
  • tenjin cap


Out of stock


If only this shamisen could speak – I am sure it would tell us about all the fantastic songs it has sung with its previous owner. This instrument has been played on a lot, and it is excited to join you on your shamisen journey. It’s more than ready for a brand new chapter with a new happy companion to make music with.

The slender neck is 25mm in both width and height at the narrowest point. With its slanted hatomune, it is typically used for Nagauta Shamisen style.

The instrument is made from deep brown shitan wood, a high-class hardwood that is popular for shamisen making due to its sound qualities and beautiful looks. The instrument comes with a vivid turqoise doukake covered in colorful plum blossoms (ume) and a contrasting red-and-white with a decorative tassle. Also included in the set is a set of attached strings. The doukake has some signs of use that will not show during play.

The dou is skinned with natural skins on both sides. Both skins are nice and tight and thus provide a beautiful tone. As shown in the pictures, there are some visible yellowish discolorations on the skin. This is a common phenomenon caused by the way it was stored that does not influence the sound. It also doesn’t indicate any sort of lower quality or age. It’s just a visual flaw that usually gets whitewashed with paint. If you don’t have one lying around to use, please consider getting a washi bag to protect your shamisen’s skin from humidity.

This neck is 25mm wide and thick at the top and widens slightly towards the dou. It has a sharp hatomune – the part where the neck enters the sound box – which allows you to play up to position 20 and slightly beyond. There’s some minor dents and scratches on the wood because it has been on so many adventures, but none of them affect playing at all 🙂

The tsukigata (the curved end of the tenjin) is in perfect condition, and the instrument’s wood has a beautiful grain that pops in direct light and sunshine. The neck is crafted in mitsuori style: It can be separated into three parts. This makes travelling with the shamisen very easy – even if you have to get by with light and small luggage.

The itomaki (tuning pegs) are made from ebony wood and are carved in a traditional way that makes them easy to grip despite their slender built.

All you need to add to your set to start playing are a koma, a bachi and a yubisuri. Depending on the style you intend to play and your personal preferences, you want to pick a certain kind of koma and bachi. Yubisuri come in different sizes, and I didn’t want to deprive you of the difficult yet fun choice between all the wonderful colors. I also recommend getting an adhesive dougomu or a hizagomu that will prevent the instrument from slipping off your thigh. Depending on your personal needs, you might want to consider getting a fujaku strip to mark the positions along the neck. Alternatively, you can mark positions individually or play without any markings.

If you need help with picking the right additions to this set, don’t hesitate to send a message and we will find the perfect match for you together.