To date, I’ve only played the shamisen in a band I play in, and in my house (on my couch) along with the occasional street performance.
I’ve never had to play it in any context where anyone would care what any of it sounds like, so it was interesting to be forced to keep the sound inoffensive. (Honestly, I like offensive things.)
The skin heads are interesting to work with, because you have to control the tones both inside and outside the instrument, it really forces you to be clever with your playing.
As for “correct” playing… will never do that again. Truly painful. Is there a “correct” way to play folk tunes anywhere? Even in rock music I would never do it (not that I play anyone else’s tunes live, ever), not sure what I was thinking.
I felt some pressure to do so, since they told me not to play my own tunes (which I did anyway), but quickly realized that they hadn’t any knowledge of shamisen music, so lucky me.