Voice, Wood, Silk Strings

Nobuko Fukatsu, Biwa & Voice


Nobuko Fukatsu is a Biwa player based in Los Angeles. She performs at various cultural gatherings, festivals, educational settings, and also in entertainment media music. Click here to meet Nobuko.


About Biwa

Biwa is a 4 or 5-stringed Japanese lute, brought to Japan via the Silk Road in the 8th century. In its long history, it developed into an accompanying instrument for narrative music. Click here to learn more about the biwa.


Biwa in America

Some Japanese immigrants in the early 20th century brought biwas over to the United States with them, and played for their fellow people. Biwa performances were held even in the internment camps during WWII. Click here to read hidden stories.



An excerpt from the 13th century epic The Tale of Heike, describing a famous scene where a young archer Nasu-no-Yoichi Munetaka of the Genji faces a challenge posed by the Heike.


An excerpt from The Tale of Heike, describing a scene where the Heike burned down temples and the Great Buddha in the old capital Nara.


A strange adventure experienced by Hoichi, a musically talented blind monk who specialized in telling the Heike story using the biwa. From Lafcadio Hearn’s well-known anthology Kwaidan (1904), reconstructed into a biwa piece, narrated in English.


What’s New

5/12/23 Played in the soundtrack of a short film “The Old Young Crow” (directed by Liam LoPinto). The film will be shown at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2023 | 短編映画『今昔カラス』のサウンドトラックに参加しました

5/5/22 Joined Kurosawa-inspired samurai game “Trek to Yomi” soundtrack | ゲーム『Trek to Yomi』のサウンドトラックに参加しました

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