Hosozao Shamisen Set “Ayuka”

  • hosozao shamisen (sao width: 22,5mm, height: 23 mm)
  • made from shitan wood
  • natural back and front skins

also included in the set:

  • neo
  • doukake
  • tenjin cap
  • strings


Out of stock


The style of this shamisen is hosozao, typically associated with Nagauta playing style. Due to its age, this instrument has a very slender neck. Older models usually are a bit more petite. I would only recommend it for players with slender hands and a not too tall build to assure you can play it comfortably. Don’t hesitate to send us a message if you need further assistance evaluating the fit 🙂

The fingerboard has been freshly flattened (kanberi) because it showed strong signs of use. Older instruments really have a special sort of charm that is hard to put a finger on. You can already tell by the deep shade of the wood and the more rectangular shape of the body that this instrument has been cherished for many decades already. Let’s add plenty more!

The instrument is made from shitan wood – a high-class hardwood traditionally used for shamisen. The instrument comes with a dark violet neo and reddish-orange doukake adorned with dragons and clouds which emphasizes its very classic feel. Also included in the package is a set of attached strings. The dou is skinned with natural skins that will wrap you in the authentic and warm sound of shamisen music.

This neck is 22,5 mm wide and 23 mm high/thick at the top and widens slightly towards the dou. It has an elegantly slanted hatomune – the part where the neck enters the sound box – which is typical for hosozao shamisen associated with Nagauta style.

The skins are in good condition and have a relatively low tension resulting in a mellower, warm tone. There’s an added patch on the upper left side of the front skin to reinforce a weaker spot. This part of the shamisen is not played with the pick and thus there won’t be extra stress on that spot.

The tsukigata (the curved end of the tenjin) in in perfect shape. The instrument’s wood has a beautiful deep chocolate brown shade. 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 joints are crafted in a more intricate manner that allows for an extra durable snug fit of the joints.

Some of the zagane (metal fittings that hold the tuning pegs) have been replaced over the course of time, so they don’t all match in style. This instrument has been played over a long time and can tell a real story.

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.