Kamigata Uta (上方歌)

"Kamigata uta" (also called "Kamigata hauta") is the songs with shamisen (the three-stringed Japanese banjo) accompaniment, performed and enjoyed in Kamigata (Kyoto-Osaka area).


The term Kamigata uta has been used as another name of 'jiuta' (a genre of traditional songs accompanied with shamisen), especially in places other than Kamigata, such as Edo (Tokyo area). In some cases, 'Kamigata hauta' has been used as another name of 'hauta mono' (Japanese short ballads accompanied with shamisen) which belongs to jiuta. Kamigata uta has also been used in the world of "Kamigata mai" (dances born in the pleasure quarters of Kamigata) and in some parts of the world of "jiuta sokyoku" (songs accompanied with shamisen and koto [the long Japanese zither with 13 strings]), but this Kamigata uta seems to be a little different from the above-mentioned "Kamigata uta."

Kamigata uta has been popular like hauta mono of jiuta in geisha quarters and in the public from the Edo period though it is difficult to make a strict distinction between the two. Many Kamigata uta seem to have more rhythmical melody and more cheerful lyrics than hauta mono in jiuta. Kamigata uta seems to include some minyo (traditional Japanese songs), originally enjoyed in local areas (mainly those near Kamigata) and picked up and loved by people, including those in the quarters of geisha. Kamigata uta has also been in favor with the world of Kamigata mai as the dance accompaniment. And some Kamigata uta were introduced into Edo, and became a part of the Edo music repertoire, that is, hauta (so called "Edo hauta"), kouta (a Japanese ballad accompanied with shamisen), utazawa (popular ballads), and zokkyoku (folk songs).

Kamigata uta has been handed down by people in the world of geisha of Kamigata, and by jikata (people in charge of music) in the world of Kamigata mai.

[Original Japanese]