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date: 19 November 2019

Kankara sanshinlocked

  • Henry Johnson


Japanese three-string lute. The name refers to its resonator, kankara (‘empty tin can’). The can is usually about the same size as or smaller than the resonator of the normal sanshin and the neck is similar to the sanshin’s. Square cans, cans that are wrapped in cloth like the sanshin, cans with the labels left on, and cans with colourful decoration or pictures painted on the soundtable are sometimes used. The kankara sanshin is a very popular and relatively inexpensive version of the sanshin. It has its roots in Okinawa, where old food ration cans and other items left by the American military following World War II were reused. Nowadays retailers sell kits to enable tourists and other purchasers to make the instrument. At several tourist villages and theme parks visitors can watch an instrument being made or try making one themselves.

J.E. Roberson: ‘Memory and Music in Okinawa: the Cultural Politics of War and Peace’, ...

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