Previously. we posted about ordering sanshin and supplies from Okinawa from an online store that ships internationally. Now I’m happy to announce another established store that you can order sanshin to be shipped outside of Okinawa/Japan (please check with the store if your region is supported): Ichintou Arakaki Sanshin-ten. Although you still won’t be able to order a sanshin with real snakeskin (this is the same for both stores), they may be able to accommodate an order for an upgraded sanshin (i.e. an advanced one) and swapping the real snakeskin with a synthetic one for those who are looking to purchase a better sou (neck). Also note that due to the pandemic, shipping will likely be via ship versus by air so there may be a one to two month wait to receive your sanshin/goods but I believe it will be worth the wait! The alternative is to travel to Okinawa (which is unlikely at this time) and if you do have a chance to visit in the future, they do have a store in Uruma City.
Living outside of Okinawa and Japan makes it difficult to find sanshin and supplies (kunkunshi, bachi, uma, karakui, etc.) so I’m always looking for online stores that service musicians outside of Okinawa/Japan. While you may not be able to have a real snakeskin sanshin shipped outside of Okinawa/Japan, you can a synthetic one shipped to you along with the aforementioned supplies.
An online store I’ve come across is the (bear with me as it’s a long name) Sanshin Craftsmen’s Business Cooperative Association of Okinawa (online store link). A great thing about them is what their name implies: they are an online store that features instruments and items from craftsmen with workshops in and outside of Okinawa. Another great thing about them is that they’re also active on YouTube, Twitter, and other social media platforms. They also have a sanshin class via Zoom (international students are also welcome to join) the intro of which is featured above.
They respond quickly to email messages so contact them with your questions. I can confirm the quality of the items and their shipping having recently received an order from them. There are other online stores out there but it’s difficult to tell if they’re still operating and it’s definitely something you don’t want to take a chance on.
If you know of any other online stores, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll take a look.
One way to get our attention is to send us a video of your playing a sanshin (check) and a very big plus is to play a song from an artist we’re big fans of here (check). So without further ado, here’s asoviva34 playing his sanshin arrangement of Jack Johnson’s “Flake.”
If you’re into finding out more about the sanshin, head on over to the Minami Sanshin-ten blog for photos of their order-made sanshin. You’ll find a lot of great photos featuring different styles of sanshin (Makabii, Chinin Deeku, Kuba nu Funi, Yunaa), videos and photos of sanshin in different stages of development. You can also follow them on Twitter @m34t.