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Demonstrations & Performances

Cultural Performance: Oregon Koto-Kai

Oregon Koto-Kai Performing at the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. Photo courtesy of Oregon Koto-Kai.

Enjoy a free koto performance by Oregon Koto-Kai at 1:15pm at the Cathy Rudd Cultural Corner in the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center.

About the Koto Harp

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.


Oregon Koto-Kai is a group of people with a passion for Japanese koto, a 13-stringed zither-like instrument with over 1000 years of history. Founded by Mitsuki Dazai in February 2012, the ensemble held its first concert in Portland, Oregon. Since that time, they have performed all over the state at multiple venues each year, including Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Rose Festival and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Oregon Koto-Kai’s mission is to introduce Japanese koto music to the broader community by creating opportunities for people to attend concerts or take lessons.  They collaborate with local musicians, improve players’ skills and add to the cultural diversity in the Northwest. Above all, Oregon Koto-Kai seeks to share their passion of koto with their community and beyond.


Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center

The Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center was designed to be the cultural, educational, and architectural hub of the new Cultural Village. “With a new classroom, library, and performance space, the Learning Center provides an open and welcoming space where visitors can learn more about the culture that gave us the Japanese garden art form,”