The biwa (琵琶) is a kind of lute, with a short neck and frets.
Jetavana Vihara, for Biwa and Voice
The biwa (琵琶) is a kind of lute, with a short neck and frets. It is usually used in narrative storytelling. The origin of the biwa is the Chinese pipa. It arrived in Japan well over 1000 years ago, and was originally part of gagaku sacred Shinto ritual music. There are now about 8 different forms of biwa, including 4 and 5 string versions.
This 3-minute video piece, entitled Jetavana Vihara, comes from the classic Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari.) The narrative speaks about the impermanence of our physical world, as it is expressed in the ringing of the temple bell at Jetavana Vihara.