Nakasone, Harry [Seisho ]
- Megan E. Hill
(b O’ahu, Territory of Hawai’i, Feb 12, 1912; d Honolulu, HI, March 19, 2011). American sanshin player. Born in Hawai’i to Japanese immigrant parents, he was taken by his mother to her native Okinawa to be raised by his grandparents. There at the age of nine he began playing the Okinawan sanshin. The sanshin is a three-stringed instrument with a skin-covered soundbox, which predates the similar Japanese shamisen. He was given a sanshin by his uncle—also an accomplished player of the instrument—when he returned to Hawai’i in 1925 and began formal instruction in 1933, taking lessons from a number of sanshin grand masters and visiting Okinawa whenever possible. For the next six decades Nakasone performed sanshin at gatherings for the Okinawan community in Hawai’i, playing for festivals and various celebrations. He also taught sanshin in college classes and gave private lessons, led the Okinawan classical music ensemble Seifu Kai, and became the first non-Japanese citizen to receive a teaching certificate from the nationally recognized Nomura Music Academy in Okinawa. Nakasone was on the ethnomusicology faculty at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, from ...