Shamisen

Chikushikai Koto & Shamisen School

Japan's Chikushikai koto and shamisen school was established in 1949 by Katsuko Chikushi, who was the first Sōke (head of the school). The school's headquarters are in Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu, and it has members throughout Japan, in the USA, and in Canada, among other countries.

Of the many significant events that Chikushikai has been part of over its sixty year history, one of its most memorable was being invited to perform for the opening of the Fukuoka Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation). The school presented Chikushi's symphony "Chikushiji" (Byways to Chikushi), a piece for koto performed with a full Western orchestra. The piece made history as NHK's inaugural television broadcast in stereo.

Upon Chikushi's death in 1984, the Sōke mantle passed jointly to her two children, daughter Miyoko Chikushi, who is the current Sōke, and son Ichirō Sakamoto (who passed away in 1998). Recently, Miyoko appointed her daughter Junko Chikushi as acting Sōke, and has begun sharing her Chikushikai responsibilities with her. Junko is the incumbent third-generation Sōke. Miyoko's eldest daughter, Akemi Furuya, is the school's business manager and President of the Board.