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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Intermediate Work : Japanese Koto for the Entertainment Room First Floor


June 18-19th 2012

I have pretty much lost myself over the last few days doing lots of research into different ways to decorate the house.  My friend sent me a link which actually confirms that this kit is something called a “Ya Sena Onsen Ryokan” or meaning a traditional Japanese hotel or boarding house with a spa.  There was even some kind of film called the “Love Hotel” I guess which is about a boarding house with a spa and lots of goings on.  Anyway, it was nice to see that my impression was confirmed and convinced me even more into designing the house as a place of entertainment. 

With that in mind, I pushed ahead with my intention of now making a Koto.  The Koto is another traditional Japanese instrument which often is seen in prints and Japanese films being played by a Geisha during their entertainment sessions.  So, this will end up in the left front room which is going to be a food and music room. 
I got hold of a piece of wood that was square and using a foto that I found on the net for inspiration (an actual pic of a mini koto) I figured I could pull something off.  Sanding, painting and then stringing the koto was pretty easy.  I did it in an evening after dinner.  The problem was trying to find some way of making the Ji or the bridge pieces.  Today a koto has thirteen strings but it started out with 5 so I made mine with 8.  I just had no way of actually making 13 tiny holes to thread the “strings” (which traditionally were made of silk).  In the end, looking at the shape of the sliding bridges, I figured I could use some micro beads that I had in my jewelry making kit.  They are triangular so they actually make a nice addition and are small enough to seem to support the strings.
The strings are plucked with special picks that fit onto the fingers so there is no special “pick” that had to be made like for the shamisen. 
Painting and drilling the holes.
Finished Koto

I am still not keen on picking up the house build yet.  Truth be told I am still having fun making objects to put into the house.  I have a few more ideas and have been navigating quite a bit to see if I can actually make them.  We shall see.....

The inspiration