Proposal: Intensive Shamisen Camp in Japan


Last week, we had the Mandolin Symposium here in Santa Cruz. It’s an event where mandolin enthusiasts from around the world come to learn from some of the greatest mandolin players in the world. I believe this was their 10th annual event and was a great time as usual! (I didn’t go, but almost all of my mandolin friends go every year)

It would be so awesome to have a similar event for shamisen! After all, there are these intensive camps for mandolin, violin, shakuhachi, taiko and so many instruments. Why not shamisen as well?

So here is my proposal!

When: Late June, 2015.
Being after graduation, any college attending Bachido members will be able to come.

Where: Tokyo, Japan @ Shamisen Katoh.
This location gives everyone a chance to experience Japan (exciting for members who have never been, or only go rarely), and Tokyo is a very convenient place to hold the event.

  1. Tokyo is where we all fly into.
  2. Plenty of english speaking hotel. (For those who have some difficulty with the nihongo)
  3. Oodles of sightseeing locales. Plenty of things people can do after workshops.

It would be held at Shamisen Katoh’s concert hall, Chitoshan. Katoh san is really excited about this event, and wants to do his best to help make this first-ever shamisen camp a wonderful time for all!

What would happen?
I’m envisioning a five day camp (similar to the mandolin symposium)

Day 1: Meet & Greet. Attendees can meet each other, make connections and jam. Perhaps an initial workshop thing could be done this day too

Day 2~4: Hours and hours of intensive workshops with subjects ranging from fundamental techniques to learning chords! Perhaps some instructors will want to share their unique techniques as well!

Bonus: At the end of every workshop, students could get a short private lesson with the instructor. Just enough time for them to see your abilities, give you feedback and suggest things to work on.

Day 5: (Forgot to mention in the video) a NEW TAIKAI! It would be a two-part taikai.

The first half would be a non-competitive show-&-tell style section just like what we did in Misawa this year - Anyone can go up on stage and perform anything they’d like to the supportive audience watching.

The second half would be a competitive style taikai with awards. What’s different from the normal shamisen taikai? Unlike tsugaru shamisen taikai, which requires everyone to fit into a tsugaru structure or form, the new Bachido taikai would encourage creativity and bringing out your full potential. Like to play shamisen with chords and groovy beats? Go for it! Being unofficial, it would be low pressure with just a sprinkle of friendly competition.

Afterwards, the Intensive Shamisen Camp is over. People would be free to spend more time in Japan, perhaps take more lessons with the instructors or go back home.
That’s about it! I’m planning a year in advance to give everyone time to prepare or apply for grants if need be, so I hope you would be able to join us next year!

Katoh san and some instructors are already very excited about this proposed event, and what we need to do now is figure out what attendance would be like.

So this is where you come in! For this event to continue planning, there is only one question you need to answer:

**Would you like to come? **
Furthermore, assuming you want to participate and have the time/finances, could I expect to see you there?

If so, please let me know as soon as possible!
Once I get a rough estimate of how many shamisen enthusiasts would likely come, I can continue writing more instructors and propose these ideas with them.

I believe this would be a very inspiring and educational event for anyone learning shamisen with a passion. If this is you, I hope to hear from you! :slight_smile:

Bachi on!


Absolutely I will be there. That sounds amazing.

The only thing is that it would be easier for those of us working in the schools here in Japan to take paid leave in the latter half of July when the summer vacation starts. I don’t know if there are enough of us to justify considering the change though.

I’ll be there either way, but assuming I’ll be taking some leave to join team Bachido at the taikai next year, I don’t want to step on any toes missing a lot of class days.


I would come!


Yowsh! Awesome guys! I’ll mark you both down!

Possibly. Though because summer vacation starts in Japan, ticket/hotel prices are double what they are in late June. It’s still open of course. We’ll see how many come from abroad. :slight_smile:

Joseph, I’m gonna ask Mike if he’d like to be one of the guest instructors! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure if Team Bachido will be going again next year. I think I will only be able to go to Japan once next year, and I’d like to try out this camp as a new challenge. However! I think Kevin wants to continue the taikai attacks, so if everyone wants to arrange and compete next year, I’m totally supportive! :slight_smile:


If I could get a grant I’d totally go. Pricing is always tricky.

Maybe after this weekend’s LA workshop Mike will be inspired!


Have you talked with Mike about grants? Several years ago, he had gotten a grant to attend the taikai, I believe. You might be able to do the same! :slight_smile:

I hope so! I’ve written him to see if he’s interested.
Have fun on Saturday! I wish I could be there, and will be there in spirit! :slight_smile:


Ah, I hadn’t thought about prices going up. Well, it should definitely be made to accommodate people coming in from abroad the most. I’m sad to hear about the lack of team Bachido for next year, I hope I haven’t missed my chance to be a part of that. You could always stay in the country through the month of June. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I technically can (and will) take the time off anytime, I might risk stepping on some toes, but maybe I can make reparations by putting on a show for the kids. :slight_smile:


Welp, i would definetly come, even if it will be during my final internship =). Looking forward to have more intel on this camp! In the time between, let’s train!


I could only come if i managed to sell a body part or something :frowning: such an amazing opportunity, i’m already jealous of people who will go XD


Excellent, Corentin! I will add you to the list of potential attendees! :slight_smile:

Amanda, it would be fantastic to see you there, but I completely understand. Fortunately, if this goes very well, it’s very possible that a similar intensive camp can also take place in the UK in the near-future! :slight_smile:

Yes, let’s train hard!


Kyle, maybe people from the UK could come to Berlin in December for the Bachido meeting. Just like Frankfurt, berlin has connections to most european capitals


…which sounds tempting :slight_smile:


Anderson, that’s a good idea! Indeed! After things get more confirmed (perhaps next month?), I’ll make a big invitational post/promo thing. :slight_smile:

BH! Would you be able to come??


I think there can be quite cheap flights to berlin with air berlin or whatever especially if which i think is true there is a direct connection offered between berlin and graz where i am so that could be a bargain course the problem is that even a bargain holiday can be difficult to finance with the taxi business getting worse and worse so I wont be able to commit in advance but who knows might show up for coffee at short notice . . . :slight_smile:


If Kyle can make it from California, you can make it from Governator city


Yeah i didnt think of that sounds like destiny … :slight_smile:


Sounds like a great idea to me and I’d almost definitely be able to swing it in late June next year. Put me down!


Excellent! Down you are put, Ken! (Somehow doesn’t sound as positive in that word order)


Not the first time I’ve been put down, to be sure.


Sorry, won’t be able to make it, I’ll have just come back from Japan a few weeks before this. (Unfortunately, can’t afford to stay there for two months!!! :frowning: )