International Jew’s Harp Society


Tadagawa Leo with a listener. © Aksenty Beskrovny 2017

Leo Tadagawa

Tadagawa Leo was born on December 24, 1959, in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa prefecture, where he grew up and is now living in Ageo, Saitama prefecture, a suburban city of Tokyo. He received a bachelor’s degree in film and theatre from School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II, Waseda University in 1986.

In 1990, he founded Nihon Koukin Kyoukai [Japan Jew’s Harp Association] and started to publish Koukin Journal – a biannual journal for the Jew’s harp of the world.

Since 1999, he has been a part time lecturer at Miyagi University of Education, teaching Jew’s harp and other overtone music at different workshops for the general public in venues such as Institute of Ethnomusicology, Tokyo College of Music and others. He was an artist in residence and a guest lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (March-June, 2001).

He was nominated as one of the nine “World Virtiosi” in the competition of the 7th International Jew’s Harp Congress / Festival in Sakha Republic, Russian Federation (2011).

After participating at various Jew’s harp and other traditional music festivals and symposiums in the world, organizing concerts and workshops of international Jew’s harp players in Japan, in 2005, the government of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) of the Russian Federation awarded him the prestigious "Honored Citizen Award" and the "Person of Cultural Merit Award".

He is the author of a CD-Book “A World with the Resonant Jew's Harp” (2005).

He has two solo CD albums:

  • “From Siberia to Cyber-Area” (2011)
  • “Music of Japanistan” (2014)

He has featured in a number of Jew’s Harp Music CDs:

  • “Sing, My Khomus: Jew's Harp of the Sakha(Yakut) People, Eastern Siberia / Ivan Alexeyev, Spiridon Shishigin” (1996)
  • “Summer is Coming / Fedora Gogoleva, Albina Degtyaryova and Olga Podluzhnaya” (2000)
  • “Sound of Mukkuri: Jew’s Harp and Vocal Music of the Ainu / Teshi Shigiko, Toyama Saki and others” (2001)
  • “Khayjilar: Chatkhan (Long Zither) and Khai (Throat Singing) of the Khakass from the Center of Asia / Evgenii Ulugbashev,, Sergey Charkov and others” (2004)
  • “Tak-Teke Dancing Mountain Goat: Ooz Komuz (Jew's Harp), Komuz (Lute) and Vocal Music of the Kyrgyz / Süydüm Tölökova, Orozobay Kenchinbaev and others” (2008)
  • “The Melody My Mother Played: Old and Modern Khomus (Jew's Harp) Music of the Tuva, at the Center of Asia / Tatyana Sorzhu, Ailangmaa Damyran, Opal Shuluu and others” (2013)

He is one of the founding members, and has been a board members of IJHS since 1998.


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