Jump to content

Shoji Tabuchi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Shoji Tabuchi
田淵 章二
Tabuchi in 1971
Tabuchi in 1971
Background information
Birth nameShoji Tabuchi
Born(1944-04-16)April 16, 1944
Daishōji, Ishikawa, Japan (now Kaga, Ishikawa, Japan)
DiedAugust 11, 2023(2023-08-11) (aged 79)
Branson, Missouri, U.S.
GenresCountry, gospel
Years active1967–2022

Shoji Tabuchi (田淵 章二, Tabuchi Shōji, April 16, 1944 – August 11, 2023) was a Japanese-American[1] country music fiddler and singer who performed at his theater, the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre, in Branson, Missouri.[2][3]

Tabuchi was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2020.[4]

Early life[edit]

Shoji Tabuchi was born April 16, 1944,[5] in Daishōji, Ishikawa, Japan (now Kaga, Ishikawa, Japan). When Tabuchi turned 7, he went to his elementary school where they had show and tell and one of his classmates played the violin using the Suzuki method. He went back home to tell his mother that he wanted to play violin using this method.


In the mid-1960s, Tabuchi was a sophomore in his college and had heard that Roy Acuff was coming to Osaka, Japan. Tabuchi went to his concert and got to meet Acuff backstage. Acuff's music inspired Tabuchi to pursue country and 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.[5] After living in San Francisco, Kansas City, and Louisiana, Tabuchi moved to Nashville to reconnect with Acuff, who arranged an appearance for Tabuchi to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. Tabuchi later made numerous appearances on the Grand Ole Opry.

The Shoji Tabuchi Show[edit]

Shoji Tabuchi performing at the White House for an audience that includes George W. Bush. The prime minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi is holding the microphone stand for him with both hands.
Shoji Tabuchi performing at the White House in 2006

Tabuchi arrived in Branson around 1980. After performing successfully for a few years he built one of Branson's most elaborate theaters, which was completed in 1990, and began hosting his own show. Besides country music, The Shoji Tabuchi Show has incorporated polka, gospel, Cajun, Hawaiian, rap, and rock music.

Tabuchi developed a loyal fan base through his Branson show. He employed about 200 personnel at his elaborate 2,000-seat theater, where he performed two shows daily most of the year.[6]

The theater was closed due to a backstage fire in May 2017. It reopened the following year, on October 22, 2018.[7]

The Shoji Tabuchi Show was featured on the RedLetterMedia web series Best of the Worst. The VHS release of the show's third volume first appeared on the inaugural "Wheel of the Worst" (episode #5) on April 30, 2013, and was finally viewed on the fourth "Wheel of the Worst" (episode #16), which premiered on "RedLetterMedia's " website on February 28, 2014. It was voted "Best of the Worst", meaning it was the most entertaining video of the night.[8]

Personal life[edit]

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, Missouri. In 1974 the couple had a son, Shoji John Tabuchi.

After moving to Branson 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. Lingo helped with numerous production aspects of The Shoji Tabuchi Show such as choreography, costume design, and the theater's interior design. Tabuchi was sometimes accompanied by his stepdaughter, Christina.[9][10]

Shoji Tabuchi died on August 11, 2023, at the age of 79 from a battle with pancreatic cancer.[4][11][12]

Selected discography[edit]

  • Country Music My Way (ABC/Dot, 1975)[13]
  • After Dark, Shoji Entertainment
  • Songs for Mark Koeper, Shoji Entertainment
  • Different Moods: Collection One, Shoji Entertainment
  • Fiddlin' Around, Shoji Entertainment
  • Live from Branson, Shoji Entertainment
  • Notes from Shoji, Shoji Entertainment
  • The Shoji Tabuchi Show! Vols. 1–4, Shoji Entertainment
  • Songs for the Lord, Shoji Entertainment


  1. ^ Nahm, H Y. "King of Branson". Goldsea. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  2. ^ Clark, Joshua (3 October 2018). "Branson's Shoji Tabuchi to spend holidays at Clay Cooper Theatre". Branson Tri-Lakes News. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  3. ^ Snider, Don (2000-11-16). "Shoji the showman of Show Me State". Southtown Star. p. 83. Retrieved 2022-05-27.
  4. ^ a b Riley, Claudette (13 August 2023), "Shoji Tabuchi, National Fiddler Hall of Famer and 'King of Branson,' dies at 79", USA Today
  5. ^ a b Shoji Tabuchi Information
  6. ^ Shoji Tabuchi Show
  7. ^ Theater Status
  8. ^ Best of the Worst - Wheel of the worst #4
  9. ^ Christina Lingo-Tabuchi
  10. ^ "American Dream Show coming to Eaglewood Event Center". Port Charlotte Sun. 2015-12-30. pp. LG14. Retrieved 2022-05-27.
  11. ^ Longtime Branson entertainer dies at age 79
  12. ^ "Shoji Tabuchi cause of death: How did the Japanese-American country music singer die?". The Economic Times. 13 August 2023. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  13. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Tabuchi".

External links[edit]