Kokoo consists of Akikazu Nakamura (composition, shakuhachi), Michiko Yagi (voice,13- and 21- string koto) and Maki Isogai (voice, 13- and 17- string koto).
Founded in 1995, the group is made up entirely of Japanese traditional instruments with one player of the shakuhachi and two players of three different types of koto (13- string, 21- string and 17- string). Using musical resources such as regular beats, noise, chords and improvisation and making full use of the type of singing employed in Jiuta and other genres of traditional Japanese music, Kokoo creates a contemporary sound world hard to imagine from the combination of shakuhachi and koto. The koto players perform standing up rather than in the traditional sitting position, thereby enhancing group identity in live performances.
As well as performing extensively live and in broadcasts within Japan, Kokoo has performed in many venues overseas including the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland, the Istanbul Music Festival in Turkey, the Festival of Japan in New Zealand, the Japan Society in New York, the Eastman School of Music, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the World Culture Centre in the Netherlands and the Berlin Philharmonic Hall.