Shamisen master Hidetaro Honjoh offers a traditional-style concert featuring works from the hauta repertoire, the quintessential “pop music” of its time. In this one-night-only concert, this virtuoso of Edo-period love songs serenades and transports audiences to the streets of pre-modern Tokyo. The program also includes tunes from the working class of various rural areas that radiate a tender, à la mode vibe. Awarded Japan’s highest honor for artists, the Medal with Purple Ribbon, Hidetaro Honjoh restores gems from this fading genre of music from the end of the samurai era. He will be joined at Shofuso by one of his leading students, Hidejiro Honjoh.
Hidetaro Honjoh began shamisen lessons in 1956, learning the folk Japanese arts of nagauta, hauta, kouta and minyo. In 1971 he gave himself the professional name of Honjoh Hidetaro and established risogaku, a genre of Japanese traditional and folk music, as his own musical style. He sponsors the “Honjoh Hidetaro no Kai” concert series, and puts great effort into wide-ranging public promotion of folk songs and folk entertainment. Honjoh has promoted Japanese folk music widely overseas, created guidance for the younger generation, and composed music for shamisen. He has collected more than 350 hauta songs, and plans to perform all his collected songs within the next ten years.
Honjoh is a member of the JASRAC (Japanese Music Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers), the Society for Japanese Folk Music and the Modern Japanese Music Composer’s Association. He is also a member of the steering committee for Contemporary Shamisen Music Association, a goodwill ambassador for Ibaragi prefecture, head of the Association for the Encouragement and Preservation of Japanese Folk Music and honorary professor of the Japan Folksong and Dance Foundation.
Awards include: the 4th Matsuo Art Entertainment Prize – Japanese Folk Music Prize of Excellence (1983), the Arts Festival Prize by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (1986, 1991), Monbukagakusho Outstanding Achievements in Cultural Affairs Prize (2004), the Purple Ribbon Medal (2007), and the
Master Rank Prize by Nihon Minyo Kyokai (2007).