Shamisen player Fumiyoshi performs and lectures both in Japan and overseas, and is active in various fields including as a shamisen journalist.
He specializes in the “hiki-shamisen,” or plucking style, a technique that emphasizes the resonance of sound, as opposed to the “tataki shamisen,” or strumming style. In addition to playing standard Tsugaru shamisen tunes, he has collaborated with composer/arranger Seikou Nagaoka to create new generation of shamisen music. While remaining firmly grounded in the classics, he strives to transcend the boundaries of traditions and explore a new kind of Japanese music.
Born in Niigata, Japan in 1974, Fumiyoshi began learning shamisen at the age of nine from his mother and shamisen master, Takahashi Chikuiku. He began his professional career in 2000, performing at the concert halls and other venues including nationally designated important cultural properties. He is also actively involved in supporting his local community through fundraising recitals at educational and social welfare institutions.
In 2001, he released his first album, “Shimpu” under the name of Takahashi Chikushu, and his second album, “Roots Tabibito,” including his original compositions, was released under his real name, Kobayashi Fumiyoshi in 2003. In his third album, “Ballade,” released in 2006, Fumiyoshi combined his shamisen with a string quartet to explore new possibilities for the instrument. His fourth album, “Kaze no Kotozute,” released in 2010, featured the recording of the live performance by the master folk song singer Sudo Kumoe I, who once toured the country with the legendary shamisen virtuoso Takahashi Chikuzan, who was hailed by the New York Times as “a master musician” for his performance at Japan Society in 1986.
In 2011, Fumiyoshi performed at the Louvre Museum in Paris for the first time for a Japanese shamisen player. In the following year, he released his fifth album, “Zoku Kaze no Kotozute” under the label fontec, and changed his artist name to Fumiyoshi. In the same year, he presented an original song, “Toki,” themed on his hometown Niigata. In 2013, he launched an independent label named “penetrate” and released the album “Sora to Daichi no Uta” with all his original songs. In February 2015, he released his seventh album, “Ito-Giwa.”
On January 1, 2016, Fumiyoshi formed a shamisen trio “Three Line Beat” and released two singles. The unit won fans from all age groups and their live performances are highly sought after.
In 2018, he held a solo concert titled “Shuhari no Ito” at Ryutopia (Niigata City Performing Arts Center) Concert Hall with all Takahashi Chikuzan program, and the live recording of the concert was released as CD.
In 2019, he was appointed as the third director of the Niigata Takahashi Chikuzan Society, a group dedicated to the preservation of Takahashi Chikuzan. On October 5 of that year, Fumiyoshi gave his first performance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City to the full house and received a standing ovation.
Until 2019, he has performed in the U.S., France, Austria, Spain and New Caledonia. Currently, Fumiyoshi is based in Niigata and New York, and is exploring new frontiers in the art of shamisen. In the wake of the pandemic, especially, he has been advocating and challenging a variety of possibilities for performance as the arts and culture face a crisis of survival.
|Nov, 2012||Kamakura The great Buddha and Kotoku-in The Tsugaru shamisen recital|
|Jul, 2012||120th anniversary event of the New Caledonia Japanese settlement The Conservatory of Music and Dance in Noumea for 2days|
|Dec, 2011||Louvre Museum LED Lighting Ceremony in Paris, France Napoleon court reception party Commemorative performance|
|Oct, 2010||The APEC Niigata reception party Opening performance|
|Nov, 2009||Nantes, France Opera house concert|
|Mar, 2008||Concert in Los Angeles, USA|
|Feb, 2007||Barcelona, Spain Casa Asia Exchange performance|
|Dec, 2006||Tokyo Ikegami Honmonji temple 1 million people’s candle night Main stage performance|
|Nov, 2005||U.S. Hawaii public performance Waikiki shell (1500-person mobilization)|
|Mar, 2004||U.S. Hawaii public performance Maui Arts&Cultural Center|
|May, 2002||Paris, France Public performance Embassy of Japan in France official residence, French cultural center|
|2001||1st album “shinpu”This album was released in the name of the Chikushu Takahashi.|
|2003||2nd album “ROOTS TABIBITO” This album was a new start with his real-name Fumiyoshi Kobayashi.|
|2006||3rd album “Ballade”This album was an achievement of collaboration with a string quartet.|
|2010||4th album “Kazeno Kotozute”This album was left as a sound source of the precious Tsugaru folk song recorded live with the first Sudo Kumoei who went around the country on tour with the legend Chikuzan Takahashi.|
|2012||5th album “-Zoku- Kazeno Kotozute”With the large popularity of 4th album, this album was recorded live in port-of-call ogi-cho in Sado island of the Kitamaebune which was cargo ships that sailed the Japan Sea during the Edo period.He also announced original tunes as the artist name Fumiyoshi.|
|2013||6th alubum “Uchu to daichi no uta”This album was released from an independence label“penetrate”with a producer Seiko Nagaoka. All songs are original pieces.|