MINYO Japanese Folk Music

A Disappearing Culture

Folk songs are universal songs passed down from many generations. While Japan had been a maritime country, it was also an agricultural country centered on rice farming.

In Japan, work songs have been the mainstream of folk songs. Their lyrics often started with a prayer for a good harvest and prosperity.

Folk songs have breathed the lives of people in a free environment with  no need for special protection for a long time. Even in a small, narrow  country such as Japan, from ancient times people have passed on many  songs that were cherished in their local land and climate.

The prayers of true hearts and old emotions have thus survived.  Folk  songs are a form of “encyclopedia” for understanding Japan and one can think that singing folk songs contributes to the upbringing of Japanese people from childhood. A folk song is much the same as a natural and beautiful plant or flower that is not on public display or shown to an audience


Sanosa Bushi | Edo Period 1603 to 1868

A Sad Love Song With Hope

Music Arrangement by Scott Nagatani



Life Is Precious

Marisa was born in Berkeley, Ca.  She is the daughter of Minyo master, Madame Matsutoyo Sato, who established Matsutoyo Kai in 1966.

At age 21, Marisa apprenticed under Japan’s renowned Minyo singer, Madame Makiko Kosugi, to study the traditional style of Minyo, the Japanese cultural arts.  

She lived in Tokyo for 3-years and attained her Natori, accredited name of a performing art.  She learned the language and etiquette by listening and watching her senpais, upper classmen.  There were many challenges, but through the support from her Minyo family in Japan, she learned discipline.

The purpose of her training was to have a better understanding of her mother's experiences in the arts that requires strength, patience and deep passion. 


After returning to the U.S. she's been  enjoying time with her mother and Matsutoyo Kai members performing in California.

She hopes to share the stories of Minyo and the history as her mother's wish is for Minyo to continue another 100 years.

Member of Matsutoyo Kai & Minyo Station

Matsutoyo Kai


Traditional Folk Music Group

Matsutoyo Kai was established in Northern California by Matsutoyo Sato in 1966 shortly after she arrived from Japan. For ten years Matsutoyo Kai was based in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

In 1976 Matsutoyo Sato moved to the Los Angeles area extending the reach of Matsutoyo Kai to the Southern California area, where it is now based. 

In 2006 Matsutoyo Kai became a nonprofit organization. The primary objective and purpose of Matsutoyo Kai shall be to pass on the Traditional Music of Japan and to create and leave a Japanese music Legacy. 

Part of that purpose is to provide instruction in singing, shamisen,  taiko, and ka-ne and to give public performances in Japanese Folk and Classical Music. With Matsutoyo Sato as Artistic Director we will continue to expand Matsutoyo Kai, keeping this rare "Art" of Japanese History alive.

Marisa Kosugi


Vocalist & Shamisen

Marisa understands that the Nami, the Wave, in life is delicate.  The more we learn and practice any art, the more difficult it becomes.  It is not a competition with others, but instead, it is the will to listen and grasp our surroundings openly.

The discipline this requires is silent and each step is appreciated.  The art is formed and hearts become one, then trust is built.  Presentation shines and is deeply felt. 

Minyo Station


Jazzy Style Japanese Folk Band

Minyo Station embraces the Japanese traditional root music, “Minyo” and to continuously move forward in sharing our music, so that we can all learn more about Culture, Tradition & the Daily livesof its ancestors and its beauty.  

Minyo has been a very important part of Japanese culture for centuries. The band features traditionally trained vocals and instruments combined with western instruments to emphasize the various melodies and expand the many rhythms. Established 2008

Nanka Minyo Kyokai's Autumn Festival | Matsutoyo Kai

Traditional Japanese Folk Music


Music Arrangement by Yu Ooka

Kokiriko's length measures
Seven and a half suns
The long side reaches
To the kimono's sleeves cuff

The window frame sounds like 
Dedereko den
That frame also sounds like
Dedereko den 

Toyama Prefecture


Jazzy Style Japanese Folk Music


Thank You For Welcoming Us With Open Arms & Supporting Our Hopes & Dreams.  Your Love & Kindness Is Greatly Appreciated!  

Korekara Mo Doozo Yoroshiku Onegaiitashimasu!