the thread discussing taishokoto seems to be buried under another subject heading, but I did find information from an email from takeo:
Alice Flynn wrote
> I have found a source for the instruments that I can purchase in the
> United States, made in Pakistan. They are called a banjo in India.
yes, i saw another indian source catalog that also call taisho-koto as banjo.
> Here is a picture... different, because the small one has typewriter
> keys instead of piano keys. The big one is $60 US, the typewriter one
> $50 US.
wow, really cheap! and japanese one is usually typewriter one.
> I called the company. They said the
> strings are like guitar strings, and the sound is like a dulcimer. I am
> going to customize the tuning so I can use it to play Irish and American
> folk music.
> If you have any more information about the taishokoto, I would
> appreciate it. Thank you. Alice
recently i bought one book that explain japanese traditional musical instruments. here are taisho-koto part translation for you (sorry for wrong english):
taisho-koto, applied piano key to 2 string fletless harp, was invented by mr. goro morita, aka. mr. nisaburo kawaguchi or aka. onkai who lived in nagoya(*1), circa 1913. because it was easy to play very much and not so expensive, it soon became to be boomed among people. 2 steel string located on body, though today 5 string, and strings are covered with music sheet board (*2), and button are arranged like type writer for chromatical 2 octave range (*3). today's tuning is as follows; thin 3 string for same pitch to G, and semi bold string to one octave lower G (*4). the final bold string that is nearest to player, and not to be fletted by key button, is used for bass accompaniment to the pitch of D or C or some other key note of the tune, though this 5th string don't have to be played for usual tunes. the key buttons are arranged as the same as piano. if one push certain key, all 4 string are fletted at the same time. player push one button and strum the whole 4 string with flat pick. this taisho-koto was transmitted to south asia and india, and even used for accompanying isramic hymn(*5).
*1, nagoya: where i have lived through my life.
*2, music sheet board: where player locate music score standed like piano.
*3, button arrangement: i once told you buttons arrangement are the same width like piano and not narrower for higher pitch, this was wrong. they are really varies.
*4, all 4 strings are straight steel string like 1st & 3rd string for guitar, only 5th string is round wound one like 4th guitar string.
*5, guess if yours is made in pakistan, its original purpose is for isramic hymn.
hope you enjoy!