Updated: July 20, 2016
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Minyo(民謡): Japanese Traditional Folk Songs

There are many types of Japanese traditional folk music. They can be categorized as children’s songs, work songs, religious songs, ballads, as well songs that accompany dancing at festivals. Most of prefecture has their own traditional folk song.

Japanese Folk Song, Minyo(民謡)

Geishashamisen053 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min%27y%C5%8D
Some feature the singing of temples monks, some coastal villagers, not to mention songs by geishas. These folk songs incorporates the use of various musical instruments such as the bamboo flute and shamisen, among others.

From these previous examples it’s not hard to see that Japan has rich history of folk songs. That history is quite deep and complicated however. For instance, some of the popular folk songs include Sado Okesa, which comes from Kyushu.

Etchu Owara Bushi 越中おわら節

Retina pixta 12088101 l
Etchu Owara Bushi is another popular folk song with its origin in Toyama Prefecture. This song is performed during Bon festival, from September 1-3. It turns out to be a women’s work song and is said to have been borrowed from the boat song “Hirado Bushi”, which is also from Kyushu.

Tsugaru Jongara Bushi 津軽じょんがら節

Yoshida brothers at webster hall%2c in november 2012 %28by may s. young%29 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsugaru-jamisen
Tsugaru Jongara Bushi is another popular folk song from Tsugaru region in Aomori province. It is more of a love song about scandals and suicide narrated in famously in kabuki presentations. The shamisen music that accompanies such songs is very unique, lively and attractive.

Kuroda Bushi 黒田節

Kurodabushi https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%BB%92%E7%94%B0%E7%AF%80
Kuroda Bushi is also well known Japanese traditional folk song in Fukuoka prefecture. People sing this song when they drink.

Why not try listening Minyo(民謡)!!

Japanese folk songs are quite diverse and rich, as pointed in the above examples. They are employed to express and maintain Japanese culture and identity from generation to generation. Why not try listening so some now!
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