The sounds of Okinawa can often be heard along the Shirakawa, near Sanjo street, as Satsuki Shimizu sings and practices her jamisen. The jamisen (also sanshin) is an Okinawan shamisen or three stringed Japanese banjo.
Satsuki 's pure, high voice winds its way along the river and down the alleys of Awataguchi. She sings minyo (Japanese folk songs), mainly from Okinawa, and also work songs and festival songs from all over Japan.
Although not from Okinawa, Kansai-born Satsuki feels a special affinity with Okinawan music. "I like the landscapes and scenes the songs describe", she says. "I like folk songs because they are people's history and tell us about their daily life. Recently this kind of music became popular in Japan. I feel relieved that people have begun to appreciate it."
Satsuki (her stage name) quit her desk job at a company a few years ago to become a full time musician. She often performs at a Kyoto "Live House", (live music venue). She also travels around Japan giving concerts, collecting songs and meeting people. Soon she hopes to travel overseas.
"My dream is to keep singing and travelling with my jamisen."