Shoko (a percussion instrument) (鉦鼓)

A shoko is a percussion instrument used in gagaku (Japanese court dance and music), and is the only metal musical instrument used in gagaku. When used in Buddhism, this musical instrument is also known as kane or sho.

Shoko in gagaku
The dish-shaped metal part is hit with two sticks to create a sound. The surigane (ash tray-shaped metal section) is hung from a circular wooden frame. The tip of each of the sticks is made of a solid material, such as buffalo horn or a ball made of precious stone. When used in concert, it plays the role of producing a steady rhythm. It is also called "gaku-shoko" or "tsurigane-shoko."

Shoko in Buddhism
The shoko in Buddhism is simply called kane or sho, and is made of a metal such as bronze. Usually, it is hung from a stand called a ka and is hit with a stick called a shumoku to produce sounds. However, as in the case of the statue of Kuya in Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple located in Kyoto, a shoko is sometimes hung from a stand hung from the neck of a person. Being disk-shaped, it is provided with two holes that are to be used for being hung from a ka. Shoko have been used in Temples in Japan from ancient times, and "Daianji Garan Engi narabini Ruki Shizai Cho" (a document about the origin of Daian-ji Temple and about the assets of the temple) completed in 747 includes descriptions of shoko. It is likely that four shoko were used as a set in olden times.

Mokusho (wooden sho)
The wooden sho, ordinarily called mokusho, is used mostly in the Nichiren sect. It is formed into a disc or a rectangular box which has had the insides removed to make it empty. While bronze shoko are hung from a stand when in use, wooden sho are placed on the floor. -> For more information, refer to mokusho.

[Original Japanese]