Kotist, Composer & Arranger Nozomi Miyanishi

- 宮西 希 オフィシャルサイト -



Born in 23th April at Funabashi, Chiba, brought up at
Kasukabe, Saitama
Blood Type B/Hight153cm

Her music fuses pop music and rock music with a Japanese traditional musical instrument called the “KOTO”. The combined music characteristics and playing style expresses the composed music in her unique style. This unique style is different from the usual playing style that values on tradition of succession, she is a Kotist, and performs her music world wide.

The style of playing is characterized by “solo” that sounds like an ensemble of multiple numbers of KOTO, which plays a melody, accompaniment, and obbligato. Audiences are fascinated with impressive and dynamic movement of her ten fingers dancing as she plays.

Many number of instrumental tracks she composes and arranges are full of beauty and energy. The tones of the KOTO weaving musical pieces are warm, powerful, and gentle as much as breaking down fixed idea of audience. Many of her musical pieces are used as theme music on TV and Radio programs, BGM, commercials. One of her popular performance is called “KOTO-cchau“ (She says), which she takes the audience requests in any music genre and performs right away without preparation.

Playing style varies from session with individual guitar, accordion, violin, jazz trio session with piano, contrabass, and rock bands. She is available for playing sessions with many different instruments and quickly tuning to complement the music. She is very knowledgeable about terminology and theory of Japanese music (Classic Japanese music ) and western music. Other praised as a bilingual of music, playing music as if interpreting music simultaneously.

She performs music in various locations such as live houses, concert halls, open-air concert halls surrounded by greenery. She stands while performing, dressed casually, which the playing style makes people feel familiar to traditional Japanese instruments and displaying the world of Kotist Nozomi Miyanishi by making the most of great characteristics of KOTO. She is unconventional with a fresh and new sense as a new age artist.

Her mother introduced her to KOTO and she made her first appearance on the stage when she was 3 years old. After graduated from Tokyo University of The Arts, she joined “ Orchestra Asia “ that was organized by traditional instrument leading players of Japan, China, and South Korea.
Oppotunities about when her original instrumental tracks were used in the program, “eco music colors” SkyPerfect TV! 246ch. “ECO MUSIC TV” (produced by Daiichi Kosho). She started to produce full-scale sound source, and made her debut as solo artist with album “Steps to the Moon” ( Nippon Crown Co.,Ltd.) in the autumn of year 2002.

She performed many sessions with many artists and musicians on stages, and TV and radio programs. Her KOTO style widely gained attention after performing as a guest artist with Mika Agematsu, Progessional Arpa Player, at THE 47th JAPAN RECORD AWARD affiliated with TBS Television.
Her overseas performance sessions include “Perth Royal Show” Japan Pavillon, and concerts in official residence the Consulate-General of Japan in Perth, Australia in 2006. It was praised by many of the audience invited from various societies.

She states “ I wish many people to feel familiar to sound of KOTO”, as she enthusiastically performs concerts, events, broadcast programs, school concerts all over Japan. Moreover, She has received many requests to perform at global academic conferences, earning favorable reputation when performing at the dinner of G7 Sendai Minister of Finance and Central Bank Governor Meeting.

In April 2011 after The Great East Japan Earthquake, she drove her car to the Tohoku Region, visiting shelters, and supporting them with music. She blogged her experiences and wrote, “ Music is to the mind what food is to the body. “. Her fans called her supporting activities at shelters, and started project “Music for You “. Now on as her life work she continues visiting shelters and performs concerts at hospitals there in her support of this project.

< What is Kotist?>

Generally, KOTO players call themselves “SOU-KYOKU ENSOUKA” in Japanese. “SOU-KYOKU” is traditional KOTO music passed down since ancient times, it is one of music genre such as “JAZZ” “ROCK”. Accordingly, “SOU-KYOKU ENSOUKA” means the player that plays “SOU-KYOKU”. However, Nozomi Miyanishi composes and arranges music, and plays, unconventionally that goes beyond music genre, like free style. It may not be good to call her “SOU-KYOKU ENSOUKA”…… . As piano player is called “PIANIST”, she calls herself “KOTIST”. SO is also called KOTO.

< KOTO-cchau >

She originally performs her own music, and she also performs cover sessions occasionally. But she improvises on the KOTO in response to audience’s request, which she call it “KOTO-cchau”. It was started at Kobe Kiss-FM program “Nozomi Miyanishi J-Traditional Pop”. Radio program usually plays CD for listener’s request, but she played the requested music on the KOTO improvisedly to see how it sounds like. That is how it was started. Listeners liked it, and was performed on many requests every weeks in the radio program.
A popular segment of her concert performances became KOTO-cchau. It was created when she performed in front of audience at Kiss-FM event held in Kobe Harborland Mosaic Park. Then it was talked about in the national wide radio programs, events, and lives, “Interesting!”, and this began the start of producing the CD album “ CHOTTO HITORI KOTO” (“KOTO-logue” in English, means playing the KOTO solo as playing monologue, she came up with this word) .

She is also a dog lover. She composed music about her dogs and used some pictures of her third dog “Toko” on her CD cover.
She composed many music concerning rabbit, dog, and giraffe other than “ RYU’s song “and “Walking with Toko”. She is passionate about saving dogs from dog shelters and when The Great East Japan Earthquake she requested a radio program to announce information about emergency disaster animal rescue and animal rescue fund raising. Her loving fourth dog is”Luke”, he went through to final room in the dog shelter but he was saved by animal foster people a few days before he would been euthanized. She frequently dispatches information about circumstances that those saved dogs by animal foster people and dogs still being in shelters through SNS for asking support to save their lives.

Translated by Emi Aoki

< Information about the Koto >

Nozomi Miyanishi uses the Koto, a traditional Japanese instrument, to play popular music. She is the only musician who combines western music with traditional Japanese music on the Koto.

It was thought that the Koto was an instrument that came to Japan from China through Korea more than 1300 years ago, but recently it has been discovered that the primitive Koto existed in Japan even before then.

Long ago it was used to play music for the gods, the royal family and the elite. It began to be used to play music for the general public approximately 400 years ago, before the birth of Bach.

During the Edo Period, there was a system to protect blind people and provide them with jobs. The job of teaching and playing the Koto was given primarily to blind musicians. The Koto players learned the pieces by listening to them, and passed them along to other blind players in the same way, so there weren’t any written musical scores. Thanks to these musicians, traditional Japanese music was successfully passed from player to player throughout the Edo Period. The Koto was used to express natural sounds like the sound of flowing water, petals falling from a flower, the wind, and so on.

After the end of the Edo Period (approximately 150 years ago), the system changed, and it was possible for not only blind musicians but any musicians to become Koto instructors.

About 100 years ago, there were Kotos in most homes, and many women learned how to play the Koto. Women who could study traditional Japanese culture like the Koto, Japanese dance and the tea ceremony, and so on were considered to be truly Japanese women.

However, recently the number of people who learn and perform on the Koto has decreased. There are many more people who study the piano than the Koto in Japan. This trend has primarily occurred because there is an emphasis on western music in music education. This phenomenon is similar to the decrease in the number of women who wear kimonos as opposed to western clothes.

Nozomi Miyanishi has mastered the study of both traditional Japanese music and modern western music, and her ability to combine these two styles of music on the Koto allows her to play a very important role in the music world.

The standard Koto has 13 strings, but the Koto that Nozomi has brought with her to perform on has 21 strings. The strings are made of nylon, and are 180 cm long (long ago the strings were made of silk). The body is 184 cm long and weighs 15kg. It is made of paulownia wood and is hollow. It is entirely handmade by specialists, and it can take 50 years to make. The Koto is one of the only instruments in the world that has strings that are 180 cm long. As the Koto has such long strings, it produces a beautiful sound. The player can produce a variety of sounds using different techniques.

Nozomi Miyanishi’s Koto music will warm the heart of anyone who listens to it.