Masahiro Nitta has a special passion. He has a deep desire to bring shamisen music to foreigners, and for them to learn how to play it themselves. Most performers don’t have a passion like this, which is rare and very special. Needless to say, Masahiro Nitta and Kyle Abbott have the same goals. Doing their best to make shamisen accessible to the whole world is a real privilege.
What’s more? He’s been dubbed “The greatest shamisen player in the world.” Born in Sapporo, Hokkaido in 1984, Masahiro Nitta started to play tsugaru shamisen at the age of fourteen from the influence of his father, Hiroshi Nitta. Masahiro learned how to play shamisen in an unbelievably short time of only seven months. Soon after, he won a championship at the junior high and high school division in nationwide contests. Since then, Masahiro dominated national tsugaru shamisen tournaments in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Since then, Masahiro:
1. Participated in festivals, concerts and performance all over the world, including the US, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Ireland (Dublin, Cork and Donegal) and Russia (Moscow and Saint Petersburg). He also performed shamisen for 10 days in Saudi Arabia, by invitation for the Janadoria Festival hosted by the king.
2. Went on a tour for a month in the US for lectures and workshop for tsugaru shamisen in response to requests from universities.
3. Released more than ten original CDs.
4. Formed the group “Nitta Oyako” with his father, and have currently been very active performing at the Great East Japan Earthquake live charity concerts in churches. Together, they’ve made a new album called “Bonds” which will be released in May, 2011.
5. Receives high reputation from education committees nationwide and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a powerful duo of the father and son because of their championships in nationwide competitions.
6. Engages in various fields including appearances in movies, dramas, TV, and composition and production. Namely, he acted the role of Seiichiro Oishi in the movie “Overdrive”, now re-released as Three Stringed Samurai.
7. In 2011, performed a concert at Carnegie Hall in the event of “Japan NYC”, where Seiji Ozawa took part as the artistic director.
8. Assumes the role of leader of the “Monsters of Shamisen” consisting of three Tsugaru Shamisen players.
9. Trains apprentices in three shamisen classes in Maruyama, Sumikawa and Higashi Naebo in Sapporo.
Currently based on Hokkaido, Masahiro is also focusing on the spread of shamisen, not only through tsugaru shamisen performance but also through workshops throughout Japan and the world.