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The Koto

The Koto.jpg The samisen ThumbnailsA young lady dressed for a visitThe samisen ThumbnailsA young lady dressed for a visit

The only Japanese musical instrument taught in girls’ schools is the koto, a kind of zither. As the koto is the most adaptable of all Japanese instruments to western music, it is more readily learnt than others at schools where the piano and the violin are also taught. There are several kinds of koto, the number of strings on them ranging from one to twenty-five; but the one exclusively used at schools has thirteen strings It has a hollow convex body,six feet five inches long and ten inches wide at one end and half an inch narrower at the other, and stands on legs three and a half inches high. The strings are tied at equal distances at the head or broader end and gathered at the other; they are supported each by its own bridge, the position of which varies with the pitch required. Small ivory nails are put on the tips of the fingers for striking the strings.

Home Life in Tokyo
Author: Jukichi Inouye
Published: 1910
Available from gutenberg.org