Sorry to say this page is no longer maintained and has been
neglected. Unfortunately, current pages have no English translation
except for some brief and fragmentary explanations. You
can, however, still look into the newer pages just to brows the photos of my work.
Entrace to the NEW PAGE
Mongolian Horsehead Fiddle
ELECTRIC MORIN KHUUR
(Tsakhilgaan Morin Khuur)
some Pseudo-Tibetan Artilcles
<This is a tentative site. Look
forward to the real stuff to come soon!!>
If you would not like to read the lengthy mumble of
just click one of these links to get to the point
The photo on
the left is of Mongolian Electric Morin Khuur
that I made recently. This is the newest one of my FAKE TOOLS,
most of which are derived from everyday articles of the
traditional Tibetan culture-- Fake Tools that are , for example,
*Rechargeable electric tsanpa kneader,
*Automatic rosary beads counter,
*Electric dongmo (butter tea churn),
*Electric mani wheel (prayer wheel)
on. These strange objects may have only a very few ones smile-- ones
who are familiar with Tibetan culture-- or infuriated if they
are too serious about Tibet. But they don't have to worry; most
Tibetans have such flexible minds that they even exercise two most
extremely different prayers: one called prostration (hardest) and the
other, rotation of mani wheel (most easy-going).
What amazed me in Tibet were not only prostrating pilgrims traveling
over thousands of miles
for years but also unusual prayer wheels driven by various power
sources: wind, streams of brooks, even uprising convectional current
from candles of a temple's alter, while ordinary pyrayer
wheels are hand-driven. WHO were praying there? Do you
think those who invented the automatic devices are lazy? No, they
are not. While eagerly prostrating, they
are simply ingenious and practicable enough to invent those automatic
praying tools. Compared with them, my stuff needs more voluntary
action onto it-- turning switches on, rotating handles, and so
Prayer wheels, whether hand-driven or not, may not
bring the prayers immediate and material benefits. (I am not saying
they are useless, though); they surely determined the course of my
To me, making sculptures is producing useless objects; making
kinetic-interactive sculptures is manufacturing functional but still
useless tools, namely toys.
But so-called "educational toys" have useful functions and valuable
effects? Do you really believe it? Forget it!
although fake, every one of my Tibetan Tools has distinctive atmosphere
of tradditional Tibet, whether its REAL counterpart exists out there or
it is simply romanced out of my imagination.
In these recent years, I found musical instruments to be
the most sophisticated tools without serviceable objectives. (Nope, you
can't ride on 'em or cook with em!) Musical
instruments carry on their traditional looks, and are
passive, hence mechanically useless, functional and
interactive because they make sounds when
played-- perfectly matching my ideal toy!
I once saw a
Tibetan boy, accompanied with
his toddling little brother, carry and play a small
banjo-like instrument as they strolled into a local restaurant of
Lhasa. He played a half music, half noise sort of song for
money at the table where I was eating. Even after more than a decade,
the sound and shape of their instrument-- along
with their snivel-stained faces-- remain in my heart.
So, my interest had gradually migrated to musical instrument. And
finally when I decided to make one, though my last and biggest (and of
course, most stupid) project of another Tibetan fake tool "Prostration
Tread Mill" was still untouched, I chose the one as the
model-- the little one the Lhasa boy was strumming.
As for Morin Khuur (horsehead fiddle), Electric
Morin Khuur is of Mongolian musical instruments
(kind of...) , and the second in this Mongolian line after the "Oumasan
Morin Khuur" , only ten of which were produced and released under
authorization of the Throat-Singing
Society in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Mr. Haruhiko SAGA, a friend of mine,
of the society encouraged me to manufacture a limited number of Morin
Khuur. But as usual, they were not quite authentic, though acoustic,
their heads' design was taken from a cartoon he drew as the mascot
of his own society. Meanwhile the electric one is an offspring of the
Oumasan. I really needed something more outrageous-looking and
furious-sounding. (photo right: Oumasan, the predecessor of
Elec Morin Khuur)
Mr. Saga, by the way, runs the society not only to promote throat
singing and morin khuur of Mongolia but also to extend his music to the
state of crossover of multilateral cultures along with Irish, Japanese,
Tuvan traditional folk songs and even pop music of today.
I am no music critic but would like to suggest those who are interested
in Mr. Saga's music to visit his web site, Throat-Singing
Society. The site has nicely taken photos, some interesting sound
files and, wow! English pages, too. Those are REAL stuff, unlike my
Putting aside the throat singing, let's get back to my Elec Morin
Khuur. This electric version has no acoustic body, so the vibrations of
the strings have to be electrically amplified-- it is something like
that of an electric guitar, or more accurately, that of a "silent"
violin which uses piezo elements as the pickup. My Elec Morin Khuur has
a twin-head pickup placed directly under the lower bridge to ensure the
sharp sound collection from the two strings above. It's purely electric.
Details and appearance of Elec Morin Khuur may be seen in the
next Spec section and in the Photos of the Japanese section
respectively. If you are interested in the musical instrument or want
to place an order, please read the Question/Reservation/Order
section and e-mail me to communicate before you actually make up
Though Mr. Saga advised me to put some images of my Electric Morin
Khuur on view to public by means of the web, I had hesitated at the
beginning for various reasons. Instead, I started sending out to my
friends e-mail massages with photos attached to show off what I made.
Some of the friends responded with positive inquiries or even confirmed
orders. This was really encouraging; I have finally started to edit an
html file to be
up to the web-- ending up with such a messy home page. But I hope this
will do the trick (as long as there's someone reading this stuff, like
These are sound files (WAV, MP3) of my terriblly poor
performance of playing the Elec Morin Khuur. So,
beware of nausea-indusing noises; I cannot be responsible for any
physical or mental damage upon listening to them.
Samplesound7, Elec Morin Khuur Sound 1 and
Elec Morin Khuur Sound 2 are recorded without effecter. The latter two
are especially poor in quality due to my PC evironment prone to noise
and of course because of my lack of technique to play.
Old and even poorer
Elec Morin Khuur Sound 1 (372KB)
Elec Morin Khuur Sound 2 (517KB)
Following are the specs of Electric Morin Khuur:
|L : 109cm, W : 22cm(at base of
body), Fingerboard L : 52cm
|Never weighed. But it's light!
|Neck------- stainless tube
Fingerboard- red sandalwood
Body------- dubious fir-like wood (silkwood, maybe...)
Tail piece--- red sandalwood
|Nylon fishing lines (#0.8 x120 +
#0.8 x90 bundled parallel)
||Twin piezo element pickups placed
under lower bridge
|Variable resister x2 + condenser x1
|Head : After the character from "Sukho's
funny horse" by Ms. Takako 'Pon' TANAKA of the Throat-Singing
Body : Abstracted horse (original)
|* Headphone amp was added
to the prototype,
which turned out
to be a bummer in sound.
Production models will come w/o one
-- until a better circuit is figured out.
* Tremolo arm could be a good idea... (just joking)
* Bow could be ordered but more reasonable ones
are available on market and on the web.
*Well, there IS one thing to sell: attachment
for standing play.
Price : 86,000 Yen JPN (approximately 750 $ US)
Attachment for standing play: 6,000 Yen JPN
(approximately 50 $ US)
Shipping charge and method: Depending on the country to which
the merchandise is delivered
Payment : Method will be decided upon agreement between
the purchaser and maker
Contact me by e-mail
I will be glad if you tell me how you have become acquainted with my
Electric Morin Khuur and more with Mongolian horsehead fiddle in
general, when you e-mail.
It is my pleasure to answer your questions concerning Electric Morin
Khuur and Tibetan Fake Tools.
I am a very slow worker-- so slow that only a few morin khuur can be
finished a month, and strongly recommend to inquire the inventory or
availability of the product before ordering.
the heXX is this guy?
(You certainly don't wanna see my portrait
ya? Nevertheless, I have put it here, anyway, It's been shown
in another section.)
name : OKAMOTO, Koji
Japanese (supposed to
Born in Kyoto, Japan
Living in Kyoto,
Occupation: Can't you figure out, even after having read up until here?
Very few and poor exhibition record:
"Pseudo Tibetan Articles" (1998, Sakaimachi Gallery, Kyoto)
personal exhibition of kineto-interactive sculptures
M.F.A .(3D) from UW-Madison, Wisconsin, USA
from Moorhead State U, Minnesota, USA
Studied painting at Kyoto Seika Jr. College
when calling from outside Japan,
omit 0 of the area code "075"
and add the country code "81" instead.
And get ready for my heavy
Wanna see another scuｌpture of mine? Click HERE.
But think twice; this one is REALLY ugly, so those who are easily
or eating a meal should avoid jumping to the linked image!!!