The Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies to Celebrate Koto Genius Michio Miyagi with Concert



Michio Miyagi, koto, Japan, NYC, Columbia University, Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies, Merkin Hall, Japanese classical music

Celebrating the Genius of Michio Miyagi

Wednesday, October 5 from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Merkin Concert Hall, Kaufman Music Center – 129 West 67th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue)

Admission: Free

The Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies presents a special concert marking the 60th anniversary of the death of Michio Miyagi, a koto prodigy who invigorated Japan’s music world by introducing elements of Western music into classical works. Blind since childhood, Miyagi composed his first work, “Mizuo no Hentai,” at age 14 and went on to write more than 500 pieces. He upgraded musical instruments as well, designing the 17-stringed bass koto, an 80-stringed koto, and a “short” koto that made the instrument more easily accessible to the general public. Miyagi died tragically in 1956 at the age of 62 after falling from a train in Aichi Prefecture while on tour.

The IMJS concert features many of Miyagi’s famous works performed by the New York area’s renowned musicians.


  • Michio Miyagi, Rondon no yoru no ame (“A Night of Rain in London”) (1953)
    Koto: Satomi Fukami
  • Michio Miyagi, Sashisou hikari (“Confluent Rays of Light”) (1934)
    Koto (Ikuta): Satomi Fukami
    Koto (Yamada): Yoko Reikano Kimura
  • Michio Miyagi, Ochiba no odori (“Dance of the Fallen Leaves”) (1921)
    Koto: Sumie Kaneko
    Bass Koto: Yumi Kurosawa
    Shamisen: Yoko Reikano Kimura
  • Michio Miyagi, Seoto (“Rippling Stream”) (1923)
    Koto: Satomi Fukami
    Bass Koto: Yumi Kurosawa
  • Intermission
  • Minoru Miki, Hanayagi (“The Greening”) (1976)
    21-string koto: Yumi Kurosawa
    Tadao Sawai, Tori no yōni (“Like a Bird”) (1985)
    Koto: Masayo Ishigure
  • Dai Fujikura, Cutting Sky (2006)
    Koto: Sumie Kaneko
    Viola: Stephanie Griffin
  • Michio Miyagi, Haru no umi (“The Sea in Spring”) (1929)
    Koto: Satomi Fukami
    Shakuhachi: James Nyoraku Schlefer
    Viola: Stephanie Griffin

Founded in 1968 at the University of Pennsylvania, IMJS is now part of Columbia University, where it serves as a liaison and research center that encourages American and European scholars to Japan’s medieval period.

The concert is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. To register, please visit IMJS’s website.