Japanese folk songs (min'yo) can be grouped and classified in many ways but it is often convenient to think of four main categories: work songs, religious songs (such as sato kagura, a form of Shintoist music), songs used for gatherings such as weddings, funerals, and festivals (matsuri, especially Obon), and children's songs (warabe uta).
In min'yo, singers are typically accompanied by the three-stringed lute known as the shamisen, taiko drums, and a bamboo flute called shakuhachi. Other instruments that could accompany are a transverse flute known as the shinobue, a bell known as kane, a hand drum called the tsuzumi, and/or a 13-stringed zither known as the koto.
An authentic Japanese shakuhachi piece. No cliches or gimmicks, this is a playable work that is unmistakeably Japanese. Slow and meditative, it soon builds into something a little more furious. A flurry of explosive staccato and idiomatic pitch bending bring about a unique atmosphere of Nipponia. Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo
Authentic Hosozao shamisen. After a 20 second foreboding, things turn sour. A fiery and rapid staccato passage that demonstrates hell hath no fury like a shamisen cranked to 11! Great for montage cutaways as it can easily be chopped. Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo
Authentic Futozao Shamisen. A despaired intro forebodes a rapid arpeggiated run. Manic and neurotic, it flows like the misty fog of this swamp. A depraved pyscho chase scene is given exotic timber and driving rhythm. Great for video game cutscenes as well, Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo
Authentic Hosozao Shamisen piece. After an ominous theme, a pulsating variation begins. Idiomatic staccato runs/interspersed melody notes take over. A break in the chaos comes 45 seconds in with a slightly faster take on things. This lasts about a minute (good for background) before chaos returns. Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo
Authentic Futozao Shamisen. Traditional kokema swing gives a mocking groove quality to an otherwise haunting harmonic language. An odd yet regular pulse keeps things moving in an eerie style, and there is plenty of variation including short silences for added tension. Chromatic runs lead to a climax, Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo
Authentic Hosozao Shamisen. Things escalate quickly and lead to a striking climax. The staccato strum is alternated with melody note in rapid bursts of unadultered Japanese fury. Great for video game cutscenes, film chase scenes, darkness of the night, general chaos. Also great in a comedic context, Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo
An emotional Japanese style theme inspired by the children of Hiroshima singing and presenting paper cranes in Peace Park. Perfect for any visual showing Japanese children, Japanese innocence, Japanese tradition or a commercial music bed that calls for an Asian flavor. Children sing in the full mix. Childrens Vocals, Japanese, Japanese Dramatic
Beautiful and haunting Oriental / Japanese flute instrumental, slow tempo. Great for depicting scenes of meditation, teachings of Master to Student in samurai films, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon type stories, anything with that type of story angle, historical films set in the Orient, etc. Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo
Beautiful traditional Japanese folk melody from the Edo Period. Shakuhachi flutes accompanied by koto, shamisen, & chimes set an exotic & peaceful atmosphere. Ideal for cooking or travel shows. Meditative & Healing uses include Yoga, Tai Chi, Massage, & more. Instrumental, Japanese, Min'yo