“Once in a very great while, a person of such immense talent and vision enters your experience that your life is forever changed.  Such is the quality of Shirley Muramoto.  Very rarely does one find another person whose ability as a teacher matches her superb talent as a musician.  Many can play, many can teach.  Few can do both equally well at the highest level of achievement.”

Frank Jennings

PhD., Retired Principal, Montclair Elementary School, Oakland, CA

“As a research specialist in Japanese koto music, I recognize the value of the tradition of which (Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto) is a culture bearer…. As a teacher myself, I know her to be very effective and have observed her willingness to “go that extra mile” with students…:”

Bonnie C. Wade, Chair, Department of Music, UC Berkeley

"Over all the years I've been Shirley's student, my life has had all sorts of ups and downs, and through it all Shirley has both been incredibly patient with me and also pushed me to work harder when I needed some encouragement.  In spite of changes in school, work, and family situations, I've always been able to come back to koto, and I know that Shirley will always have faith in me.  She's inspired me to strive for things I wouldn't have imagined on my own, and I'm grateful for the guidance and support she's given me over the years as I've grown as a koto player and as an individual."

Felicia Kazuou Bock, Shirley’s student, Shihan  (Teacher’s credential), Chikushi Kai

“I am truly honored and privileged to know Shirley for so many years.  Her koto playing and energy for constant creativity is inspirational to me;.  Her spirit and soul touches me deeply.  I am forever grateful to her for her friendship and her sharing of musical knowledge and philosophies with me to help me grow as a musician and composer but most important as a person.” 

June Kuramoto

Hiroshima (jazz group)






Koto Song
  A Review of the Murasaki Ensemble

By Norman Weinstein



Legacy of loss: In dust of WWII camps, how Japanese culture blossomed

Article from UC Berkeley March 31,  2014, by Barry Bergman


The world of Shirley Wong
Campus koto player fuses the traditional and the modern

By Wendy Edelstein, Public Affairs | 18 February 2004



CD Reviews of “Koto and Shakuhachi: Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto and Shigeo Tachibana”

Sublime, exquisitely tender and yet energized by a gentle, expressive fire, these contemporary pieces for Japanese shakuhachi flute and koto are not only beautifully accessible to the general public because of the modern approach to melody and musical conversation but being steeped in the rich traditions, with two of the pieces based on
traditional songs, this disc respectfully and innovatively carries this dynamic music forward into a 20th century space. Remarkably evocative and reflective of the imaginative titles, such as, “Moon Over the Ruined Castle,” and “Invitation to the Stars,” these eight, generously-spirited pieces combine for a transcendental listening experience. from CD Baby


author: harveyvalerie

I have lived in Kyoto for 1 year and I remember a special moment when I was listening to your CD. It was in September, at the beginning of autumn, in the temple not far from our home, the Daikaku-ji. There was a special event to admire the reflection of the autumn moon in the pond. The Japanese named it \"Kangetsusai\". We heard a wonderful music coming from the temple. It was koto players. People were sitting there and listened attentively to the music. Suddenly, the moon appeared and the public exclamed altogether: \"OHHHH!\" It was a magical moment. The music from the koto, the beauty of the moon, I found that in your cd. Thank you very much. Valerie

author: H.Pauly

lovely sounds. I will promote you to my friends.


Review with the Murasaki Ensemble

Shirley Muramoto is the only musician I know who has worked to integrate the koto as a major solo voice within an established acoustic jazz band format...

Source: Koto's Song: A Review of the Murasaki Ensemble [www.allaboutjazz.com]



Hidden legacy

 How Japanese Americans preserved traditions behind barbed wire

A musician-turned-sleuth explores a little-known aspect of a people's journey

By Cathy Cockrell, NewsCenter | 10 June 2010

Performing Defiance: The Hidden Legacy of Koto Music at a Japanese Internment Camp

By Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto