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Noriko's Story

Noriko was born and grew up in Japan in a family of four, with working parents and one older sister.

When she was six years old, she began learning Tsugaru Shamisen under the influence of her father and then worked on mastering folk songs and Tsugaru Shamisen for a further eight years.

Being a six year old girl learning Shamisen had its challenges but despite this Noriko pushed hard to continue. Giving up was not an option and would not have been viewed favourably given her desire to play in the first place.

After this initial period of constant Shamisen study, Noriko significantly reduced her playing to focus on academic and sport club activities, finally ceasing practising Shamisen altogether.

Noriko's passion for new interests developed, only occasionally playing Shamisen at school events or friends' parties. She did not fully immerse herself into Shamisen and it fact it took a turning point in her life for her to reassess everything.



Noriko underwent treatment for cervical cancer which had developed in 2003 and this had a profound impact on her perspective. In order to realise the dream of living overseas she launched straight into action, resigning from her corporate job and moving to Melbourne, Australia in 2004.

She commenced as an assistant Japanese teacher and it was within the school environment that she realised the general interest in Shamisen and Japanese music. From playing intermittently in breaks between classes and activities, Noriko began performing at local school events as well as private parties. With her revitalised passion for Shamisen, Noriko began playing 4-5 hours a day, often busking on the streets of Melbourne. She once again became captivated by the sound of the Shamisen and felt completely different compared to her younger years of playing.


With sheer passion and perseverance Noriko begun to collaborate with a wide variety of musicians performing at renowned festivals and events throughout Australia. Understanding the experience that the Shamisen offers as well as the boarder-less potential, Noriko also performed internationally in countries such as China, Korea, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and so on.


In 2013 Noriko gave birth to her first child and this also gave birth to a new sense of motherhood. This has given Noriko great enthusiasm and shaped her identity into a sensitive Japanese mother, an immigrant and a  woman, and helped her look at experiences from various perspectives.


This is heavily reflected in her Shamisen performances and it is with equal enthusiasm that Noriko continues to challenge and evolve her future self.




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