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Japanese musical instruments are dominated by plucked string, flute and percussion instruments.

From the 17th century, the Shamisen came to the fore, providing the lively rhythm that dominated the sounds of the popular kabuki and bunraku theaters. It originated in China and it is a three-stringed plucked lute. The Koto. It is the national instrument in Japan music. Also originated in China with five strings but now it has thirteen strings. Also played in Kabuki like the Shamisem. The song Sakura Sakura which is a Japanese traditional song is sung with this instrument. It is developed as a solo instrument.

The Taiko which originated in China and Korea. Most drums are built from a single log. It literally means big fat drum. Concerts of drums provide entertainment at festivals, events and so on. The Biwa. It is a kind of lute that is short necked. Often used in narrative storytelling. Honno-ji a traditional song is sung in this instrument. The Kokyu. It is alongside with the Shamisen but quite smaller. It is played with a bow. The Hichiriki. It is a kind of flute often used in Japanese Gagaku.

The Mukkuri. It is a jaw harp instrument played by pulling the string and vibrating the reed when placed in the performer’s mouth. The Shakuhachi. It is a kind of flute with five holes used by Zen monks in the seventeenth century ranging of over two octaves. It is about 54 centimeters in length and it has the ability to produce different kinds of sound by using different kinds of techniques. It is often played in duets together with the Koto.