Kawa peeling off


Hello everyone. I recently noticed a small piece of my gawa starting to peel off the dou. To be exact, it is peeling on the opposite side of the sao. Nothing too bad at this time, maybe just 1cm wide and 2mm deep at the most. The glue is holding everywhere else, there are no bubbles and she skin is super taught like the day I got it. My question is wether I can do anything to stop this from getting worse or not.

Correction*** It has peeled off to the point where I can now press the gawa in a little bit where it is supposed to be taught. I don’t notice it anywhere else for now. The sound quality has not changed yet… yet…



Hi there.

Just to clarify, what is peeling off?

The bachigawa (the additional protective layer placed in the strike zone of the dou) or the actual skin (kawa)?

If the former, you can just reglue it. I don’t think I’d bother with that until it’s lifting off the skin entirely though.

If the latter ,you can reinforce the peeling edge with tape.


Hi, sorry, my mistake. The actual kawa is. Putting tape there might remedy it for a while.

I will correct this in the original post.


No worries.

If the skin is starting to peel off around the edges, it’s probably due to humidity starting to melt down the glue holding the skin on. It might stay at the edge, or it might start creeping further in. A bit of tape will help to seal it as a stop-gap solution.

As long as the skin remains taut, you’re golden. The borrowed shamisen I started on had its skin peeling up but it sounded fine.

You should also check where you’re storing it to make sure it’s dry and not in direct sunlight.

Goooood luck~


Thanks for the advice! I taped it to stop the glue from loosening up. With fall in full swing here on the Pacific north west it is getting pretty muggy and wet for sure, I have a washi, then a silk bag, then a wooden case. I might try wrapping it in a towel too shile I’m not using it I think. ’


I think that I might try to sneak some glue under the skin that has raised and then clamp that down somehow. Maybe with tape would be good enough. You could probably use any glue for that. I don’t think that the trad rice glue is necessary. Even CA (super glue, perhaps a thicker consistency) would do the job. True, if the skin is ever replaced that glued bit wouldn’t come off like the rest but that small area could easily be scraped down to allow a new skin to be glued on.

I live in a very humid part of the world and have a few thoughts on dealing with heavy humidity. (N. Thailand in the mountains/forest and often it is basically a rainforest sort of environment.) It might good to find some place that is dryer than elsewhere in the house. (I have a workshop with a dehumidifier but that’s a different story) I don’t think that extra layers of fabric/towels will necessarily help at all, as those materials might tend to absorb and hold moisture rather repel it.

One thing that I’ve done in really humid times (and when my dehumidifier bit the dust a few months ago! I have a new industrial one now) is wrap instruments with a plastic cover of some sort, maybe over the case, and then add some sort of desiccant thing such as silica packets inside. You could also pick up some of those cheap digital hygrometers to keep on eye on the humidity level. They’re not perfectly accurate but would give you an idea of how things are at least.

Just a few thoughts. The same thing happened to me on one of my shamisens when i first got here 4 years ago.


Hi Catherine! Thanks for the message, you are absolutely right about the towels. I taped it up for now and it should hold out for some time. I am going to be away for almost a year and I cannot bring my shamisen with me (I am not going to prison, haha, I’m in the military) so what I’ll do is pack it up in it’s bow and put in a whole bunch of silica bags in it. Should be good to go.



sounds perfect and best of luck with your year away!


thank you very much!!!