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Nitaro Akimoto (also known as Nitabo) was the founder of Tsugaru shamisen music. His mother died shortly after his birth and he lost his eyesight when only 8 years old. He also lost his father at the age of 11 and, being alone without his family, learned shamisen music. In those days, he was not allowed to join Todoza (an association of blind men) due to his lowly social status. Despised as a street shamisen performer, Nitabo invented the “beat play” method (known as tataki soho) and eight-character narrative music (hachiningei), thereby developing the prototype of present-day Tsugaru shamisen music. Tsugaru Shamisen Tourist Hall was built in honor of his contributions, and its outdoor stage is where the Nitabo Festival is held every year. A statue of Nitabo also stands at the end of Kandabashi Bridge in Kanagi-machi, where Nitabo is believed to have lived.

Address Kanbara Kandabashi, Kanagi-machi, Goshogawara City, Aomori Prefecture

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