Used in the kabuki theater and bunraku puppet theater, the three-stringed shamisen is one of the most important and versatile instruments in Japanese traditional music. Developing over centuries, shamisen music came to full maturity in Japan at the time when J.S. Bach's popularity was at its height in Europe. Miyako Itchu XII is the 12th Grand Master of the Itchu-bushi style shamisen music born in Kyoto in the early 18th century, known for its elegant melodies. Itchu-bushi style is the origin of the Tokiwazu-bushi style of shamisen, known as the heroic and lively music of kabuki dance, of which Itchu is also a master. This colorful and exquisite program of both Itchu-bushi and Tokiwazu-bushi features a lavish ensemble of three shamisen players, four singers and a four-person percussion section. Performed with kabuki dance. Pre-show lecture (free to ticket-holders) begins at 6:30pm.