Shoji Tabuchi

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Shoji Tabuchi
Tabuchi performing
Background information
Birth nameShoji Tabuchi
Also known asKing of Branson
Born (1944-04-16) April 16, 1944 (age 75)
Daishōji, Ishikawa, Empire of Japan (now Kaga, Ishikawa, Japan)
Genrescountry, gospel
Years active1967–present
Associated actsRoy Acuff
David Houston

Shoji Tabuchi (田淵 章二, Tabuchi Shōji, born April 16, 1944) is a Japanese American[1] country music fiddler and singer who currently performs at his theater, The Shoji Tabuchi Theatre, in Branson, Missouri.

Early life[edit]

Shoji Tabuchi was born April 16, 1944[2] in Daishōji, Ishikawa, Japan (now Kaga, Ishikawa, Japan). When Tabuchi turned 7, his mother encouraged him to learn how to play the violin under the Suzuki Method. Tabuchi always loved American country music and vowed that one day he would make it to America.

Early Career[edit]

In the mid-1960s, Tabuchi was a sophomore in college and had heard that Roy Acuff, of the Grand Ole Opry, was coming to Osaka, Japan. Tabuchi went to his concert and got to meet Acuff backstage. Acuff told Tabuchi that if he was ever in Nashville, to look him up. Acuff's music inspired Tabuchi to pursue country/bluegrass music.

When Tabuchi was in college, he formed a band called The Bluegrass Ramblers, which led them to win a national contest in Japan. He decided to travel to the United States with his violin and only $500.[2] Tabuchi had lived in San Francisco, Kansas City, and Louisiana. Then he eventually moved to Nashville, to meet Acuff. Acuff was true to his word and arranged an appearance for the young Japanese fiddler on the Grand Ole Opry. Tabuchi later made numerous appearances on the Grand Ole Opry.

The Shoji Tabuchi Show[edit]

Tabuchi arrived in Branson, Missouri around 1980, after performing successfully for a few years. He took a gamble and built one of Branson's most elaborate theaters, which was finished in 1990, and began his show, now going on 28 years. Besides country music, the Shoji Tabuchi Show also has incorporated polka, gospel, Cajun, Hawaiian, rap, rock, and patriotic music.

Tabuchi has developed a loyal fan base through his Branson show. He employs about 200 personnel at his elaborate 2,000-seat theater, where he performs two shows daily during most of the year, often selling out the shows.[3]

The theater was closed due to a backstage fire in May 2017. It reopened on October 22, 2018. [4]

The "Shoji Tabuchi Show" garnered considerable attention on the RedLetterMedia web series "Best of the Worst." The Volume III VHS of the show first appeared on the inaugural "Wheel of the Worst" episode on April 30, 2013, and instantly became the subject of much curiosity and speculation among RedLetterMedia fans. The tape was finally viewed on the fourth Wheel of the Worst episode which premiered on RedLetterMedia's website on February 28, 2014. It was voted "best of the worst."[5]


Mary Jo, a patron at a financial-district restaurant where Tabuchi played for tips, became his first wife in 1968, after which he became an American citizen. They moved to Kansas City, and Tabuchi began performing at the Starlite Club in nearby Riverside. In 1974 the couple had a son, Shoji John Tabuchi.[6] Tabuchi began performing at venues in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma, but his marriage broke up under the pressure of his constant touring.[6]

After moving to Branson, Missouri in 1980, he met his second wife, Dorothy Lingo, after she attended several of his shows at the Starlite Theater; and he became the stepfather to her two children from a previous marriage.[6] Currently Lingo helps with numerous aspects of The Shoji Tabuchi Show such as choreography, costumes, and the theater's interior design. Tabuchi is sometimes accompanied by his step-daughter, Christina.[7] One step-son, Thomas Jason Lingo-Tabuchi, died at the age of 19. There is a scholarship in his name at a Branson school music department and a community center in Oak Grove, Louisiana, named in his honor.

Selected discography[edit]

  • Country Music My Way [ABC/Dot, 1975][8]
  • After Dark, Shoji Entertainments
  • Songs for Mark Koeper, Shoji Entertainments
  • Different Moods: Collection One, Shoji Entertainments
  • Fiddlin' Around, Shoji Entertainments
  • Live from Branson, Shoji Entertainments
  • Notes from Shoji, Shoji Entertainments
  • The Shoji Tabuchi Show! Vols. 1–4, Shoji Entertainments
  • Songs for the Lord, Shoji Entertainments


  1. ^ Nahm, H Y. "King of Branson". Goldsea. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  2. ^ a b Shoji Tabuchi Information
  3. ^ Shoji Tabuchi Show
  4. ^ Theater Status
  5. ^ Best of the Worst Best of the Worst
  6. ^ a b c Shoji Tabuchi Family Life
  7. ^ Christina Lingo-Tabuchi
  8. ^

External links[edit]