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Jōruri (浄瑠璃) is a form of traditional Japanese narrative music in which a tayū (太夫) sings to the accompaniment of a shamisen. As a form of storytelling, the emphasis is on the lyrics and narration rather than the music itself.
According to Asai Ryōi, the first to have ever employed the shamisen during his storytelling instead of the biwa was chanter Sawazumi. The story he narrated on that occasion was "Jōruri Jū-ni-dan zōshi", one of the many existing versions of the Jōruri Monogatari, which tells the tale of the tragic love between Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Jōruri-hime. Following this event, every tale sung to the accompaniment of a shamisen is associated with Jōruri.
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