The , also called , is a three-stringed, Japanese musical instrument derived from the Chinese instrument sanxian. It is played with a plectrum called a bachi. The Japanese pronunciation is usually “shamisen” but sometimes “jamisen” when used as a suffix (e.g., Tsugaru-jamisen). (In western Japan, and often in Edo-period sources, it is sometimes “samisen.”) The construction of the shamisen varies in shape and size, depending on the genre in which it is used. The instrument used to accompany kabuki has a thin neck, facilitating the agile and virtuosic requirements of that genre. The instrument used to accompany puppet plays and folk songs has a longer and thicker neck to match the more robust music of those genres.