I found this in google image search for shamisen but this has a paper skin. Surprising how tsugaru techniques work on paper and makes me think of skinning a shamisen like this. If I could find out more about it. Maybe hemp paper? The Velum paper I used in art school was wet then stretched and quite thick.
I like how it is described as “paper” in the store article
Ok, joking aside, I was thinking about using paper too (just not on a tsugaru). Would a coating of pva or some sort of gesso make it less susceptible to tearing under the bachi? Aahh, the good old days, stretching your drawing paper and building your own canvases…
Gesso is some tough stuff. I used to texture my canvases by mixing oatmeal or flour into the gesso. It was rock hard.