Kengyo (the highest title of the official ranks within the Todo-za (the traditional guild for the bl (菊岡検校)

Kengyo MATSUURA (year of birth unknown – January 2, 1823) was a blind musician who was active during the early nineteenth century in Kyoto (jiuta shamisen (traditional Japanese shamisen music) player, so or koto (a long Japanese zither with thirteen strings) player and composer).

The year of birth is unknown. He became a kengyo in 1798. His ichina (a by-name for the blind belonging in Todo-za) was Kuboichi.

Mainly during the Bunka era, he was active as a player of jiuta shamisen and so (or koto) and a composer. In particular, he refined tegotomono (a form of Japanese chamber music), which was a style or form of composition of jiuta completed by koto MINEZAKI or koto MITSUHASHI in Osaka, to a Kyoto-style one and established 'Kyoto-style tegotomono' and composed many good songs.

The atmosphere or composition of Osaka-style tegotomono remained in the Kyoto-style one and Kyoto-style elegance and sensuous refinement were added to the Osaka-style one. "Shinya no tsuki" (The midnight moon), "Sue-no-chigiri" and so on are known for the beauty of emotional melody, and in "Wakana" (New Herbs) and "Tama no Utena," he pursued the song parts, and in "Shiki no Nagame" (Viewing the Four Seasons), "Uji meguri" (uji tour), "Yotsu no tami" (The four peoples) and so on, he characteristically tried not only normal modulation but various modulations. Kengyo URASAKI and his disciple kengyo YAEZAKI played these works by the koto and even now they are often played as good works.

MATSUURA inherited FUJIIKE-style in IKUTA-style on playing the so (or koto), reviewed books of songs and also composed the koto kumiuta (koto suites of songs) called "Juhakko" (the Pine Tree). As he was in the family line of a large landowner the Ota clan (SUMITOMO family line), he was very rich.
He had an acute sense of hearing and when he was invited to play in a house he would not begin to play though the preparations were completed and was asked why, he answered, 'Resonance here is not good because the shamisen box behind is not cleared up.'

Kyoto-style tegotomono' which MATSUURA completed was handed down to his junior fellows such as koto (the title of the official ranks within the Todo-za) ISHIKAWA, kengyo KIKUOKA and kengyo MITSUZAKI and developed further.

He died on November 21, 1822.

[Original Japanese]