SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER! > For a limited time, AGA-SHIO concert tickets can be purchased in person at JFT for $22.00 (cash only) before and after the NITABOH film screenings on August 7 + 8. Regular online ticket price is $29.50.
NITABOH: The Founder of Tsugaru Shamisen
@JFT, admission free, RSVP below
Directed by Akio Nishizawa (2004) 99 minutes, Japanese with English subtitles
This feature is the animated biography of Nitaro Akimoto, the blind musician who founded the Tsugaru style of playing the shamisen, three-string guitar. The shamisen you hear in the film is performed by Hiromitsu Agatsuma of AGA-SHIO. It is an excellent chance to hear his playing, which conveys a feeling close to the spirit of the original pioneer Nitaboh.
See Hiromitsu Agatsuma LIVE at the AGA-SHIO concert! concert details here >
More About Hiromitsu Agatsuma’s techniques revealed on the screen;
The process to create an animation whose movements match the sound of the shamisen, the key element of “NITABOH,” was not easy, either. The skilled shamisen player Hiromitsu Agatsuma covered Nitaro’s shamisen performance in the move. In contrast to traditional animations, we tried to show the subtle movements of the plectrum and fingers pressed on the three strings. The music scenes from “NITABOH” were created to exactly match the shamisen music used in the movie.
First we shot the real shamisen performance and recorded it on videotape. Watching the videotape, we created the timesheets that comprised a considerable numbers of frames (24 frames per second). Based on the videotape and the timesheets, the animators drew the animation – the movement of the shamisen and its player. At one point the plectrum hits the strings nine times in one second; in order to animate the scene, we need to allocate quite a few animation cells to just one frame. An ordinary theatrical animation movie requires only one cell per two to three frames. Meanwhile, every shamisen scene in “NITABOH” incorporated many cells per one frame. We all appreciate the painstaking effort of the production staff who kept close check-ups at each scene.