Shamisen identification


Hi folks
before I attempt repairing anything ,I would like to Identify what I have .
From the labels inside I can see what I presume is a date 1960 .
The neck joints seem good and tight and the same where it joins the body
the body is 210mm long x 190 wide x 90 deep
Would I be right in saying that this is a Nagauta style shamisen the neck is 26mm wide and 30mm deep .


Hey Rich,

From right to left, the information is as follows:

Number 41

Date: Showa 60, April 21 (1985)

Customer: Mr./Ms. Hamamori

Both sides in kiwo (not sure what is meant by this, unless it’s some sort of synthetic replacement for cat skin)

In parentheses: Complete, with nagabukuro bag

Store: Matsushita Instrument Store

Address: Hiroshima City, Kinzagai (Horikawacho Road)

Phone Number: 47-0888

Definitely looks to be a hosozao shamisen from your pictures, but I’m not sure what the measurements of each type are off the top of my head. I can’t get a good look at the hatomune at the base of the neck, but from the shadowing, it looks as if it could be a sharp cutoff instead of a slope. In that case, it would be a jiuta-style chuuzao shamisen.


Hi Denver
Thank you so much for that information , very interesting
the neck has a soft curve where it joins the body ,
does that make a difference?


If there is a soft, sloping curve where it joins the body, then it is most likely a nagauta-style hosozao shamisen.


The shape of the neck, or hatomune, may indicate the subtype.

A gentle slope is more traditional, and may be found on nagauta, kouta, and gidayu shamisen.

A harsher, angular cut is found most commonly on min’yo, jiuta, and the like.

However, it’s not the sole indicator of genre. Older shamisen in particular may have a hatomune but may still be used in ogenres outside those listed. Modern shamisen may have the angular cut and still be used in nagauta or the like. The width of the neck and size of the resonator are much more useful for determining intended use.

A change in neck shape really only enables a few of the highest register notes (positions much beyond 12/14 get dicey on a traditional neck). These show up most commonly in modern and tsugaru min’yo pieces.