A home for wayward shamisen?


I see a lot of questions here on Bachido about used shamisen on eBay and other auction sites (and have asked them myself). One thing that strikes me is that there are a lot of good or slightly abused shamisen - mostly nagauta or other non-tsugaru-style - for really, really cheap. For instance, @Norumba asks about one in this thread that he got for around US$30 shipped!! I’ve seen them that cheap myself.

My question is: Why? I’ve heard there’s a glut of used low-to-midrange shamisen in Japan, but what about the rest of the world? Is there just no conduit for these goods from Japan to other countries? Is it too expensive to buy them, patch them up, and ship them back out? There are lots of places in this world (including my house) where US$700 (about the minimum that I figured out I would have to pay) is too much for a new entry-level shamisen with no accessories.

Bachido/Kyle’s Made in Santa Cruz shamisen may go a long way to fix the problem of no affordable entry-level shamisen problem (for tsugaru shamisen, at least), but what about all those poor shamisen carcasses collecting dust in warehouses across Japan (I may very well be exaggerating the extent of the problem :wink:)? Can’t we, perhaps as a community, do something to get them into the hands of people who want them?


You are absolutely right, I think that with the prices of shamisen being fairly steep for the younger crowds, it makes them inaccessible in a way. I’ve seen tons on yahooauctions that are not too expensive. We should pool in the $$, send them ALL to poor Kyle to refurbish, and get more shamisen out there.
Kyle, hope your schedule is clear. haha. (I am NOT being facetious here, just want more sham shams) There is like one other person that plays here in Victoria, perhaps I am suggesting this for selfish reasons. haha.



I know Kyle has bought and refurbished them in the past. I’m guessing there just isn’t any money to be made there.

This is dreaming really big (probably too big), but I wonder if you could form some kind of non-profit for this and get some kind of cultural grants or something?


Hmmm, this is something potentially worth looking into. Perhaps cultural grants are the way to go, but the one issue I see is how would we do this if we live in different countries? (Meaning Canada and USA)


It’s a good question!
Initially, I wanted to buy the Beginner Shamisen, then I waited for the Santa Cruz release. But few days ago I found on Etsy a nagauta Shamisen without skin for only 60 euros! It seemed in good conditions, so I bought it! I think it would be nice to give a new life to old Shamisen!

Now I’m waiting for Kyle to answer my email so I can ship it directly to him and get new skin :slight_smile: