Headmaster Lineage

O-SHO Yamato, The 3rd headmaster of the Yamatogaku

Third and Current Headmaster O-SHO Yamato

Born in Tokyo。

O-SHO Yamato is the daughter of Hisamitsu Yamato the 2nd headmaster of Yamatogaku. Hisamitsu Yamato was also a Nagauta-shamisen player who used the name Isoshichi Yoshimura. O-SHO Yamato performed on stage for the first time at the age of two.

She graduated from Horikoshi High School, Department of Performing Arts

In 1996, O-SHO entered the Japanese music department at Tokyo University of the Arts, where she studied Nagauta-shamisen. She received the Jokan Award while still a student.

In 1998, the Okura family, who founded Yamatogaku, granted her the name O-SHO Yamato.

After graduating from the same university in 2000, she began full-fledged training in Yamatogaku shamisen.

In 2008, she formed Sakurabune Concert Series with Kanjuro Fujima, the 8th head master of the Fujima school.

In 2010, she hosted the O-SHO Yamato Yamatogaku Study Group. In the same year, she was awarded the Japan Traditional Culture Promotion Foundation Award.

In 2012, O-SHO became the third headmaster of Yamatogaku.

Since 2013, she has hosted the O-Kyo-Kai Concerts.

In 2014, a concert to celebrate the succession of the name of the third headmaster was held at the National Theater of Japan.

In 2016, she became the first Japanese to perform Shakespeare’s “Ophelia” at the Globe Theater in England, using only the shamisen.

In 2019, the 85th Anniversary Concert of Yamatogaku was held at the National Theater.

In2023, the90th Anniversary Concert of Yamatogaku was held at the National Theater.

She often performs at the National Theater and other reputable institutions playing music for Japanese dance troupes. On the side, she composes music and appears on television, radio, and film. She has released twelve CDs from King Records.

Some of her notable compositions include, “Hatsukoi,” “Sakurabune,” “Ochobo,” “Hidaka Zakura Koi no Omokage,” “Kyo Ningyo Yume Kagami no Hitokoma,” “Baron – Quartet for Shamisen, Okuraulo, Koto, Hayashi,” etc.

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Lineage of Headmasters

Miyoki Yamato, The First headmaster of the Yamatogaku


Born in Tokyo on January 17, 1909, Miyoki Yamato studied under the 4th generation Sakichi Kineya. She was involved in the foundation of Yamatogaku since c.1933, along with the founder Kishichiro Okura, Kimi Kishigami, and Toshiro Miyagawa.

As a singer, she used the stage names Setsuko Yamazato and Reiko Mishima, and was invited to use the name Miyoki Yamato by Kishichiro Okura.

In 1975, in order to unite Yamatogaku into one group, she became the first head of Yamatogaku, and in January of the following year, she held a concert at the National Theater to celebrate receiving her stage name.

In 1981, she was awarded the Fifth Class Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown.

In September 1985, the “Yamato Miyoki Kasaju no Kai (Kasaju- 80 years old celebration)” was held at the National Theater.

Miyoko passed away on June 12, 1986 in Tokyo.

Hisamitsu Yamato, the Second headmaster of the Yamatogaku


Hisamitsu Yamato was born on December 6, 1939 in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture.

In 1951, at the age of 13, he started teaching shamisen as an instructor.

In 1950, at the age of 15, he moved to Tokyo and became an apprentice of Ijuro Yoshimura, the 7th Living National Treasure, for three years.

In 1955, at the age of 17, he was given the Nagauta shamisen name Isoshichi Yoshimura.

In 1960, he became a coterie of the “Creative Japanese Music Study Group” and began composing shamisen music with Chojuro Imafuji III, Umekichi Kiyomoto IV, and Mojibe Tokiwazu IV.

In 1964, he was involved in composing the Yamatogaku music “Tsukijido” and was requested by the first headmaster of the school, Yamato Miyoki, to join Yamatogaku school as a main shamisen player and composer.

In 1971, he received the stage name Hisamitsu Yamato and became the chairman of Yamatogaku.

In 1975, he was represented by the record company Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd.

In 1988, he became the second headmaster of the Yamatogaku. In the same year, a Yamatogaku concert commemorating the succession was held at the National Theater. Thereafter, Yamatogaku concerts were held every five years.

In 1989, he appeared in the 40th anniversary of Onoe Kikugoro Theater Company’s “February Grand Kabuki” (Kabukiza), “The Tale of Genji Emaki” (his own work) for the first time as Yamatogaku.

In 1991, he instructed Princess Nori when she performed the Yamatogaku “Danjuro Musume” and “Ejima Ikushima” at the Wakaju-kai. He also played at Princess Nori’s first performance titled “Oshukubai.”

In 2003, he won the 33rd Exxon Mobil Music Award (Japanese music category).

In 2012, the 55th anniversary Nagauta concert was held at the National Theater, which became his last performance at the venue.

Hisamitsu Yamato passed away on January 2, 2013 at his home in Meguro-ku, Tokyo.

He composed more than 400 songs during his lifetime, including Nagauta and Yamatogaku, and his masterpieces include “Tsukijido,” “Edo Furyu,” “Shiki no Hana,” “Kashiku Dojoji,” and “Kyoraku no Shiki.”