Bassist Yo Yasuda’s BeatMaster iPhone/iPod touch app

Currently based in Okinawa, professional bass player Yo Yasuda has played with a number of artists like Syakari, Siori, and Namiko. Although that should be enough to be of interest to our pop culture blog, he’s gone and done something to really excite us: introducing the BeatMaster app for iPhone and iPod touch. According to his blog entry, Yo created the app as a way to help musicians build a strong sense of rhythm in a fun, and very portable way. The video above showcases the app in a very familiar setting: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Sounds interesting? Check out the product’s website or at the iTunes App Store (link opens iTunes).

(Via しゃかりデジカメ日記.)

iPhone app: Cosmovox

No, I’m not cross-posting things from my personal blog here, this really is related to Okinawan pop culture. 😛 That said, I think a picture tells a thousand words so check it out below.


Yup, you’ve read it right. Just under “Hirajoshi” is “Okinawa (Ryukyu Onkai [scale])” so what the heck is Cosmovox? It’s a music instrument application made for Apple’s iPhone (via Leisuresonic):

Cosmovox is a unique and innovative musical instrument for the iPhone and iPod touch. Cosmovox allows you to make music simply by moving your iPhone! Cosmovox is compelling and fun regardless of your musical skills — young children, curious professionals and trained musicians alike enjoy Cosmovox tremendously. It is a brand new instrument to explore with amazing expressive possibilities!

So yeah, I had to buy it ($1.99 at the App Store). Maybe I’ll make a video of my Cosmovox-composed song one of these days. 🙂

(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog.)

Listing of Artists Available for Purchase on iTunes (United States)

Here’s a list of artists from Okinawa (or with ties to Okinawa) whose music can be purchased on iTunes. You may find that some of the artists are listed twice at the store and they may be listed under a different genre so navigating the store can be quite difficult. (Please note that clicking on any of the below links will open iTunes.)

Beni Arashiro

Shoukichi Kina
Nenes “Kunjan Sabakui”
Rinken Band (Link 1)
Rinken Band (Link 2)
Tomoko Uehara

Alternative, Dance, Mixture, Punk, Rock
Bleach 03
ORANGE RANGE’s “Kirikirimai” from Fantastic Four – The Album
Ryukyu Underground (Link 1)
Ryukyu Underground (Link 2)
Takuji a.k.a. Geetek

The Rest
Keali’i Reichel’s “Ka Nohona Pili Kai”
Talvin Singh’s “O.K.”

Originally posted on and remixed over at several moons ago. I’ll keep this list updated and add it to Karakui’s Pages (you’ll find the links to our Pages on the sidebar).

The current list before you was last updated on May 7, 2006.

I welcome any links you may’ve discovered on iTunes and want to contribute to my list. Please leave a comment or email me at karakuipress[at]gmail[dot]com.

Searched Again on Karakui: Tuning Your Sanshin

Looks like there are still a lot of you who are finding us through a search for learning to tune your sanshin. We posted an entry about a neat little freeware app called Sankichi-kun at the beginning of the month. The only thing is that the app is in Japanese so here’s a quickie explanation chart for the app (note that you’re looking at the Mac OS X version).

Sankichi-kun English Explanation Chart
  1. Tuning for Sankichi-kun is in the key of C which may be a tad too high of a pitch for most people. I usually practice in C but we’ll often perform in B and sometimes lower (A#, A) for female singers. This is the default, or “honchoushi”, tuning for sanshin.
  2. Click on this karakui to tune in “ni-agi” (ni-age in Japanese language), the raising of your 2nd (middle, nakajiru) string. You’ll find this particular type of tuning on koten ongaku (classical music) songs.
  3. Click on this karakui to tune in “san-sagi” (san-sage in Japanese language), the lowering of your 3rd (bottom, miijiru) string. We use this a lot on minyou (folk, shima uta) songs.
  4. This area indicates the current tuning (i.e., honchoushi, ni-agi, san-sagi) you’re in.
  5. This is the uujiru, or top string.
  6. This is the nakajiru, or middle string.
  7. This is the miijiru, or bottom string.
  8. This is a view of the available notes you can fool around with. For tuning purposes, you’ll be clicking on the notes at the top (合 ai, 四 shi, 工 kou) which are your open strings. With these notes, you can play “Asadoya Yunta” among other songs. Pretty neat. 🙂
  9. These buttons at the bottom of Sankichi-kun are extras. Clicking the one on the left-hand side will “take you to the beach” and clicking it again will “take you back home”. The button in the middle will quit the app. The pull-down button on the right-hand side has pre-set tunes you can practice with or just enjoy listening to.

This basically explains Sankichi-kun but if you have any other questions feel free to email me at karakuipress[at]gmail[dot]com or leave a comment on this post. Maybe I’ll upload a video of my tuning of the sanshin in the near future. 😉

I decided that this post deserves its own Page. You’ll find the link to our Pages at the top right-hand area of Karakui.

Tune Your Sanshin with Sankichi-kun

Looks like one of our visitors found Karakui through a search with the keywords “okinawan sanshin tuning”. I could possibly upload an mp3 (or m4a) file of my tuning of a sanshin but it’ll be a whole lot cooler to download this wonderful freeware app called “Sankichi-kun” (available versions for Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Windows). I’m a Mac user so I can tell you guys that it works awesomely on a G4 Mac (I assume it’ll work just as well on an Intel Mac too), but PC guys are on your own (sorry).