Recently recieved my first shamisen, it arrived with a clear plastic strip stuck to the skin and running from the top edge of the dou to to about 2/3rds down, am I supposed to peel this off or leave it on? I figure it’s to protect the skin when you’re sliding the koma into place, I’ve seen it on at least one shamisen actively being played, but many also seem to lack it.
To my knowledge, that strip is there to minimize scratches and potential tears on the skin. I would leave it on. It might damage the skin of you try to take it off!
It’s just there to keep the skin safe while still being able to use the bachi to its full potential. Good luck with your new shamisen!
That is a bachigawa.
A bachigawa is an additional strip of plastic or leather used to protect the primary skin from bachi strikes and string friction. It lengthens the lifespan of the skin. It may also help with the koma - but a properly applied bachigawa will not go down far enough to be under the koma’s standard position.
Do not remove it.