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  • Shona McCarthy

FREE LIVE Online Koto Performances by Tomo Johnson and Utanouchi

Do you know what a koto is? It is something like a wooden horizontal harp; a beautiful string instrument from Japan, similar to the Chinese guzheng. Here is a video example so you can see what it sounds like:

Thanks to Eventbrite and Bow Market there will soon be opportunities to see LIVE online koto performances live from Boston, USA! Bow Market run a few different online activities related to Japanese culture. But this in particular involves watching Tomo Johnson and Utanouchi. Their history is described on the event pages as follows: Utanouchi (Satoshi Okuda) was born in Tokyo, in 1979.

He is the 4th generation heir to the great koto performer and composer, Utashito Nakashima.

Following in his great-grandfather's footsteps, he began his formal training on the koto in 1985 under his grandmother, Yasuko Nakashima, who is the grandmaster teacher and the head of Ikuta-ryu Seiha. Satoshi has been performing actively throughout Japan as a soloist and in ensemble work with many leading traditional Japanese musicians in concerts and master classes.

He has also given concerts in several major cities in the United States and in Europe.There are a number of works composed by him, including his most recent and beautiful song, 'Konohanasakuyahime' for koto ensembles. He is highly expected to become a leader in the next generation of Japanese traditional music world.


Tomo Johnson is a Japanese American, loves the koto, and has played the instrument since childhood. In his upbringing of both Japanese and American cultures, he truly appreciates the nuances of the music and, at the same time, interjects his influences to this beautiful tradition. So, it is a chance to see some remarkable playing of the koto instrument. The current event links are here and here for the 12th and 13th of December. You'll want to book ahead and make sure you have the correct time zone. They are both FREE!!! There may be more events like this in the future, so I recommend following the Bow Market events page for future updates. It looks like they have a lot of fun! If you would like to supplement your virtual experiences of Japan with real life, wearable objects, you could try perusing my online store. I try to keep my prices reasonable, and my products a blend of the fun and practical:

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