Koto: Characteristics, history, and price of the folk instrument


The kin is a traditional Japanese musical instrument. There are two types of “things”. There is a koto and a koto, which are different instruments. It was an instrument that has existed since ancient times, but it was clearly divided around the 9th century and became the current koto. The kin, which has been around since ancient times in Japan, is a very famous musical instrument in Japan, and most Japanese people know it. Koto can sometimes be seen in Japanese pop music. Furthermore, it is an instrument that is often used in movies and television.


This instrument was born in Japan. According to information, it is classified as a general term for Japanese musical instruments, and there are many classrooms that teach koto music. There are many schools of music, each of which is played in concert with instruments such as the shakuhachi.

About the price

Koto is very expensive. Even the cheapest ones cost more than 100,000 yen, and the more expensive ones cost more than 2 million yen.

History of koto

There are “kin” and “koto”. For the “koto”, the pitch is created with a movable pillar called a koto pillar. On the other hand, there is no such thing as a “kin”, and you press the strings with your fingers to create a pitch. The origin of the current “koto” is China, and it is said that the prototype musical instrument was introduced around the Nara period. The koto used in Gagaku was called “Raku Koto”. In the Heian period, there are descriptions of koto in literary works such as “The Pillow Book” and “The Heike Story”, and “The Heike Story” which depicts the rise and fall of the Heike in the late Heian period. At the end of the Heian period, the Kamakura period, and the Muromachi period, the koto moved from a public house to a samurai society, and the koto was not played much.

There was “Wakoto, Wakoto” in Japan. It seems that it was used for accompaniment of Kagura and Early Music. It is an instrument that already existed around 200. Around the 9th century, there was a reform of the music system, and the koto, wakoto, and biwa were clearly divided. Since the Kamakura period, when the power of aristocrats declined and samurai and Buddhist monks began to gain power, koto became a popular musical instrument for temple music. After that, the era will soon enter the Edo period, when the culture of tradesmen flourished. Koto also moved to focus on professional musicians. When Joruri was popular, Yamada Kengyō created Yamada-style kin songs based on the Kato-bushi, which was said to be Joruri in the Edo period. In addition, the Ikuta Inspection School improved the tuning and playing method of the strings suitable for the shamisen and kin ensemble, and created many masterpieces of kin called the Ikuta style.

Characteristics of koto

There are mainly Ikuta style and Yamada style in kin. The noticeable difference in appearance is the shape of the claws and the posture of holding the instrument, and the Ikuta style uses square claws, and in order to use these corners effectively, the style is to hold the instrument at an angle of about 45 degrees to the left. The Yamada style is a style that uses round claws and holds it in front.

Kind of koto


An old Chinese traditional musical instrument. Also known as a seven-stringed kin or a guqin, it is a plucked string instrument with a history of 3,000 years. It belongs to the eight-tone “thread” and has seven strings.


It is a simple monochord instrument, and has other names such as Itakoto and Ichigenkin.


The Toryu Nigenkin, which was developed and improved from the Nigenkin in the early Meiji era, was developed and was widely used until the middle of the Meiji era as an accompaniment instrument for hauta and folk songs that were popular in Tokyo.


Two to twelve metal strings are stretched on a hollow wooden body, and a piano-like keyboard is provided. The keyboard is held with the left hand and played with the right instep.


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