The kokyū (胡弓) is a traditional Japanese string instrument, the only one played with a bow. A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making Music. A string instrument (or stringed instrument) is a Musical instrument that produces Sound by means of Vibrating strings In the Hornbostel-Sachs A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making Music. The leiqin ( 雷[[wiktionary 琴|琴]] literally "thunderous instrument" also called leihu) is a Chinese bowed string instrument The zhuihu ( 坠[[wiktionary 胡|胡]] Pinyin: zhùihú also called zhuiqin or zhuizixian) is a two-stringed A string instrument (or stringed instrument) is a Musical instrument that produces Sound by means of Vibrating strings In the Hornbostel-Sachs In Music, a bow is moved across some part of a Musical instrument, causing Vibration which the instrument emits as Sound. Although it was supposedly introduced to Japan from China along with the shamisen, its material, shape and sound are unique to Japan. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National The shamisen or samisen ( Japanese: 三[[wiktionary 味|味]] 線, literally "three flavor strings" also called sangen (literally The instrument also exists in an Okinawan version, called kucho in the Okinawan language. is one of Japan 's southern prefectures, and consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1000 km long which extends southwest from Kyūshū Okinawan (Uchināguchi 沖縄口 Japanese ja ウチナーグチ, ʔucināguci) is a Ryukyuan language spoken in Japan on the southern island of
The instrument is similar in construction to the shamisen, appearing like a smaller version of that instrument. It is 70 cm (28 inches) tall, with a neck made of ebony and a hollow body made of coconut or Styrax japonica wood, covered on both ends with cat skin (or snakeskin in Okinawa). Ebony ( Diospyros ebenum) also known as India Ebony or Ceylon Ebony depending on its origin is a Tree in the genus Diospyros The Coconut Palm ( Cocos nucifera) is a member of the Family Arecaceae (palm family It has three (or, more rarely, four) strings and is played upright, with the horsetail-strung bow rubbing against the strings. In central Japan, the kokyu was formerly used as an integral part of the sankyoku ensemble, along with the koto and shamisen, but beginning in the 20th century the shakuhachi most often plays the role previously filled by the kokyu. Sankyoku ( 三[[wiktionary 曲|曲]] often romanized sankyōku) is a type of three-member Japanese traditional musical ensemble The koto ( 琴 or 箏) is a traditional Japanese stringed Musical instrument derived from the Chinese Zither ( Guzheng The shamisen or samisen ( Japanese: 三[[wiktionary 味|味]] 線, literally "three flavor strings" also called sangen (literally The is a Japanese end-blown Flute. Its name means "18 feet" referring to its size
Since Shinei Matayoshi, a kokyu and sanshin musician and sanshin producer, invented and popularized a four-stringed version of the kokyu in order to expand the instrument's range, the kokyu has become much more popular. A kokyu society, dedicated to promoting the instrument, exists in Japan.
The kokyu has also been used in jazz and blues, with the American multi-instrumentalist Eric Golub pioneering the instrument's use in these non-traditional contexts. One of the few non-Japanese performers of the instrument, he has recorded as a soloist as well as with the cross-cultural jazz band of John Kaizan Neptune. John Kaizan Neptune (b Oakland, California, November 13, 1951) is an American player and builder of the Shakuhachi (Japanese
The kokyu is similar to two Chinese bowed lutes with fingerboards: the leiqin and the zhuihu. The leiqin ( 雷[[wiktionary 琴|琴]] literally "thunderous instrument" also called leihu) is a Chinese bowed string instrument The zhuihu ( 坠[[wiktionary 胡|胡]] Pinyin: zhùihú also called zhuiqin or zhuizixian) is a two-stringed It should be noted that in Japanese, the term kokyu may refer broadly to any bowed string instrument of Asian origin, as does the Chinese term huqin. Huqin ( 胡琴; Pinyin: húqín are a family of bowed String instruments used in Chinese music. Thus, the Chinese erhu, which is also used by some performers in Japan, is sometimes described as a kokyu, along with the kucho, leiqin, and zhuihu. The erhu ( also called nanhu ( 南[[wikt 胡|胡]] "southern fiddle" and sometimes known in the West as the "Chinese The specific Japanese name for erhu is niko.