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GEISHA PLAYING A YAKUMOGOTO --  A Two-Stringed Zither of the Oomoto Shinto Sect (#2 of 2) | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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GEISHA PLAYING A YAKUMOGOTO -- A Two-Stringed Zither of the Oomoto Shinto Sect (#2 of 2)

The two images of this instrument I've have posted here have been cause for a small whirlwind of mystery and well-intentioned misnomer -- partly due to to the images having had a critical part of the instrument cropped out.


An informative letter from the world's leading expert on these things, Randy Raine-Reusch, has finally and correctly identified the object in view, and caused me to re-post the above image in a more exacting crop -- showing the TWO tuning pegs on the right side of the photograph. Here is a part of Randy's letter, and some links he gave for those who would like to know more about this unusual instrument, and the activities Randy is involved with concerning this and other musical rarities.


".........A very nice picture, as well as the one beside it on your site. These are not ichigenkin, although to the untrained eye they would appear so. In fact it is the exact same instrument in both photos. It is a yakumogoto, a two string zither, associated with theOomoto Shinto sect, and an instrument not to be played casually as seen in these photos. There was a controversy about this instrument being played by a person named Tosha Rosen [1828-1899. Real name: Kametaro Kato] for popular songs, and he was excommunicated from Oomoto and thus redesigned the yakumogoto to become the nigenkin in its present form. However, the pictures you have are clearly a yakumogoto. These instruments are still quite popular in all the Oomoto shrines and especially in Tokyo and Osaka.......".


For more pictures and interesting information, please see Randy's page dedicated to this at : and also the SIXTH PICTURE DOWN on this site : where you will see the same instrument being played today -- even down to the two tassels hanging in the front.


Thanks again, Randy.

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Taken on April 10, 2008