NIKO(ER-HU) is a Chinese stringed musical instrument. NIKO is played with a bow which is sandwiched between the strings and the body of the instrument. One side of the NIKO body is made of aged red wood covered with python skin. The NIKO originated in the west and came to China via The Silk Road in the time of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). The present type is mostly based on improvements made between 1950 and 1980.

Today, NIKO is the most famous Chinese instrument in Japan. And many NIKO classrooms have become popular in Japan.


After I leave the town, I first see the pagoda.

After arriving at the temple, I climb the mountain.

According to my Chinese friend, this is the meaning of the verse which is carved on my NIKO. The "pagoda" mentioned in the verse is one of the famous landmarks of China. Actually, I often play NIKO in temple and go to temple for Zen. I feel some special relationship with my NIKO.


The first time I encountered the sound of the NIKO was in the movie "THE LAST EMPEROR", 1987. That unique sorrowful tone touched my heartstrings. In 2007, when my father was suddenly gone, the tone of the NIKO came to my mind. A weapon destroys life, but a musical instrument heals life. Sometimes, I really enjoy my NIKO more than martial weapons.


er fu niko china instrument fudoan hekishusai