Souju Nosaka & Kazue Sawai

The two koto virtuosos from Japan


                                                                                                                        Photo by Tomoko Hidaki

箏曲  Koto Concert in SF

Soju Nosaka & Kazue Sawai

                       The ancient 5-string koto in existence for more than 2,500 years,

enjoyed a new incarnation when the 25-string koto was invented by Soju Nosaka in 1991.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 5pm

A koto demonstration & lecture

Koret Auditorium, Main Library, Lower Level Main Library 100 Larkin St.

Friday May 12, 2017 7pm

A Special evening with Soju Nosaka and Kazue Sawai of Hengenjizai

Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts, 1537 Euclid Ave., Berkeley, CA 94708 

Saturday May 13, 2017 7:30pm

Hengenjizai World of Koto Music

Pre -Performance with local koto players & guests at 7pm

Herbst Theatre  7pm 401 Van Ness Ave, SF CA 94102

The Hengenjizai Concert of the San Francisco Executive Committee was founded in July 2016. Our mission is to provide Hengenjizai, world-class contemporary Japanese koto music performances to San Francisco Bay Area audience. And also, promotes mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S. through musical exchange.

Hengenjizai Concert Invitation Committee:

Brenda Wong Aoki, playwright, actor and storyteller ・Anthony Brown, PhD, Director of the Asian American Orchestra ・ Chie Chang, koto・M. ChangMitsuki Dazai, koto ・Yuriko Doi, choreographer, fmr. founding artistic director of Theatre of YugenYuki Easter, koto・ Sandy Eshima, repetiteur for the Balanchine Trust・Shinji Eshima, Composer, double bass, SF Opera/Ballet Orchestra・Akimi Fukuhara, Concert Pianist・Marina Fukushima, contemporary dance・Shoko Hikage, koto・Namie IdeuraMasayo Ishigure, koto・Harriet Ishimoto, Ret. Aide to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi ・Hon Norman Ishimoto, fmr. SF Small Business commissioner・ Mark Izu, double bass and composer ・Gretchen Jude, koto・Hiroshi Kashiwagi, poet, playwright, memoirist, and actor.・Mutsuko Kato, Children’s Story Writer, Author, illustrator ・Shioh Kato, Painter, Calligrapher ・Shigeru Kimura, Editor / Publisher, web MON times・ Mari Kodama, concert pianist ・Masaru Koga, Woodwinds・Shunsuke Kurakata, concert pianist・Yukiko Kurakata, violin, SF Symphony ・Hideji Matsumoto, restaurateur・Darin Miyashiro, koto・Tharia Moore, cello, SF Opera/Ballet Orchestra・ Soei Mouri , Omotesenke・Shirley Muramoto, koto ・ Jimi Nakagawa, Taiko drum・Mamiko Nakamura, librarian, SF Main Library・Beni Shinohara, violin, SF Opera/Ballet Orchestra・ Kanoko Nishi-Smith, koto・Hisako Takahashi, Ret. Japanese Consulate in SF ・Akira Tana, drums, Otonowa・Tomohiro Tanaka, koto・Kayo Toki, koto・Noriko Tsuboi, koto・ Bonnie C. Wade, Ethnomusicologist and Professor Emerita, University of California, Berkeley・ Paul Walsh Asuka Annie Yano, violin, SF Opera Orchestra/Saito Kinen Orchestra・ Michael Junzo Yano, Musical advisor・Yuki Yasuda, koto

"Hengenjizai" is a concert project founded in 2011, organized by the two Japanese koto virtuosos, Soju Nasaka and Kazue Sawai. They are pioneers of contemporary koto music, who have been active on the front lines of the contemporary music world. In this project, the two koto virtuosos have performed together throughout Japan. Their splendid, dynamic, elegant and rich performance enraptures audiences.

Specifically, their performance of Tadao Sawai's 1983 composition for koto and 17-string bass koto, "Hyakkaffu" (meaning, "Multitudes of Flowers")  is receiving great critical acclaim and has appeared on television.

They have invited the public as well as have commissioned composers for the creation of new works.  They have since premiered five of these contributions from public and professionals.

The original kanji (Chinese characters) of the word, Hengenjizai "変幻自在," loosely translates to, "Changing illusions."  The duo created a new kanji meaning of Hengenjizai, "変絃自在," to signify, "Playing strings freely from the heart and creating music."




Souju Nosaka is the pioneer of the 20-string, 21-string and 25-sting koto. She is a special guest Professor at the Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, and Executive Director of the Nihon Sankyoku Kyokai. In 1991, she played her newly developed 25-string koto for the first time. Nosaka received the Matsuo Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts the following year. 


Kazue Sawai is a leader in contemporary Japanese music, bringing koto music to musicians and audiences that have never had the opportunity to fully experience the depth and breadth of the koto sound. In 1999, Sawai premiered Sofia Gubaidulina's "In the Shadow of the Tree" as a soloist with Charles Dutorit and the NHK Symphony at the Carnegie hall. 


                  for more information, please contact: shokohikage@yahoo.com











Arts Council Tokyo www.artscouncil-tokyo.jp/ja/

Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco www.sf.us.emb-japan.go.jp/itprtop_en/index.html

Earplay www.earplay.org

Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California www.jccnc.org

Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California www.jcccnc.org

Japan Society of Northern California www.usajapan.org

Rova:Arts www.rova.org

U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network www.usjapanctn.net

Wooden Fish Ensemble www.facebook.com/WoodenFishEnsemble

Hengenjizai Concert Invitation Committee: http://www.matsuhidecompany.com/MatsuHide/Hengenjizai.html



Hengenjizai's San Francisco concert was a great success, with a large audience attending to learn about the tradition and sound of the koto.  

The photo library shows a look of the concert: 

by WebMon times



Please check the website for future Hengenjizai performance locations and dates.