List of Shamisen notation symbols


Hey everyone,

First time poster here. I stumbled across your forum while searching for a comprehensive list of notion used in shamisen music. I’ve recently started learning the Jiuta (地唄). I’ve been playing guitar for 18 years and actually teach music for a living, so I think for the most part I’ll be able to decipher the means from a list, but I’m having trouble finding said list.

I guess what I’m looking for is something like this:

English or Japanese is fine, I hope someone here can point me in the right direction!


Are you using bunkafu or traditional Jiuta notation?

I can provide resources for the former, but the latter is a bit outside of my expertise.

Here’s a website that describes the different nomenclature and symbols used in bunkafu.


Hey Chris,

Thanks for the link. It’s traditional style though that I’m learning (top to bottom, right to left). When I’ve got some time I might head out to few book/music stores and see what I can find.


That’s the old, jiuta style. It’s based on koto notation which isn’t something I’m particularly well versed in - at least not enough to describe it in a vacuum.

I know that jiuta fingering slides the numbers around slightly.

If you post a picture I can probably suss things out.