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Ayako Lister is an Anglo-Japanese historian at London School of Economics.

The koto is an instrument dating back some 1,200 years and is the longest of the zithers found in East Asia. The slightly convex body is made of paulownia wood and is almost two meters long. Thirteen silk strings are stretched over the body of the instrument, each supported by a bridge (called a ji). As with other instruments in the zither…

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