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Friday, Nov. 19, 2004


Come zither

Tokyo music lovers will have a rare opportunity to hear Issui Minegishi, the fourth grand master of the Seikyodo Ichigenkin tradition, play the ichigenkin (one-string zither) in concert Dec. 2.

Played with a rokan (similar to the slide of a slide guitar) on one hand and a large plectrum in the other, the instrument -- comprising a single plank of wood and a single silk string -- produces a subtle but full and complex sound. Though it likely derived from a Chinese lute called the guqin, the ichigenkin has a long history in Japan but is in danger of disappearing.

In the "Mizu no Asobi (Water at Play)" concert, Minegishi, joined by shakuhachi (vertical flute) player Retsuzan Tanabe and sho (reed mouth organ) player Ko Ishikawa, performs contemporary pieces composed by Shirotomo Aizawa and titled "Kagen no Tsuki (A Moon in its Last Quarter)" based on a passage from "The Tale of Genji"; "Ride," based on a poem by Paul Claudel; "Iwa (Rock)," based on an oral tradition of Native Americans; and "Nikon (From Now On)," from Dogen's "Shobo Genzo."

The concert will start 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 at Musicasa (3-33-1 Nishihara, Shibuya-ku; tel. (03) 5454-0054); 3-min. walk from the East Exit, Yoyogi Uehara Station, Chiyoda subway line. For a 3,000 yen advance ticket, call (03) 3704-6090. Same-day tickets are 3,500 yen.

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