Enjoy a free koto harp performance by Oregon Koto-Kai at 1:15pm at the Cathy Rudd Cultural Corner in the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. This family-friendly performance will also feature storytelling. Oregon Koto-Kai members will tell the story Mochi Mochi No Ki (The Tree of Courage). The moving story is about a young boy, raised by his grandfather, confronting and overcoming his fears.
The standard Koto harp is a thirteen-string plucked zither. It was introduced to Japan from China through the Korean Peninsula in the 7th century. The instrument has been part of the Gagaku court ensemble for over one thousand years, gradually becoming popular among the merchant classes of the Edo period (1600-1868). An important member of the traditional Sankyoku ensemble, along with the three-string Shamisen and Shakuhachi (bamboo flute), the Koto developed further in a solo capacity, eventually gaining its place as one of Japan’s most prominent musical instruments. Today a varied repertoire along with a wide range of playing techniques provides a wonderful palette of sound textures, making the Koto appealing to audiences the world over.