Shoko Hikage began playing koto at the age of three. Her first teacher was Chizuga Kimura of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai in Akita Prefecture, Japan. From 1985, she received special training from the 2nd and 3rd IEMOTO Seiga Adachi (hereditary head master of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai). In 1988, Hikage graduated from Takasaki College with a major in koto music. She was then accepted as a special research student (uchideshi) in Sawai Sokyoku In (Sawai Koto Institute) under Tadao and Kazue Sawai, where she received her master’s certificate (kyoshi). Hikage also completed a one-year intensive seminar at the Sawai Sokyoku In. In 1992, she moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to teach koto at the Sawai Koto Kai Hawaii (Sawai Koto Institute Hawaii branch) and at the University of Hawaii. There she held her first American solo recital at the Honolulu Academy of Arts Theatre as part of the New Music Across America Series. In 1997, she moved to San Francisco where she continues her concert and teaching activities. Hikage premiered Hyo-shin Na’s “Crazy Horse” for Korean Traditional Orchestra and Koto Solo with the National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments in Seoul, Korea in November, 2011. In 2014, Hikage gave a solo recital with a program devoted to Hyo-shin Na’s music for koto/bass koto at Buam Arts Hall in Seoul, Korea. In 2017, Hikage organized historic concerts “Hengenjizai World of Koto Music” featuring two koto virtuosos, Soju Nosaka and Kazue Sawai (with Hogaku Journal and Hengenjizai Concert of the San Francisco Executive Committee). Concert was supported by Arts Council Tokyo, and performed at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
Shoko Hikage is a member of Wooden Fish Ensemble and Koto ensemble Lantana. She always has been interested in collaborating with musicians and artists of other genres, has worked with Anthony Brown’s Asian America Orchestra, Brenda Aoki – storyteller, Kenny Endo – Taiko, Mark Izu – bass and Japanese Sho, Judith Kajiwara – Butoh dance, Hiroshi Kashiwagi – poet/playwright, Hyo-shin Na – composer, Tokyo Nammy – vocalist, Trinth Minh-Ha – filmmaker and more. Hikage was a member of Natto Quartet (Philip Gelb – shakuhachi, Tim Perkins – electronics and Chris Brown – electronics/piano), Ghost Dance Trio (Pauline Oliveros – accordion and Toyoji Tomita – trombone) and Koto Phase (Mitsuki Dazai, Ryuko Mizutani, Masayo Ishigure, Curtis Patterson and Jeff Wichmann)
In San Francisco bay-area, Hikage gives lectures and performances at the universities; San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of San Francisco, City College of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Hartnell College, Mills College and Stanford University. Hikage taught a 12 weeks course about Koto music at the University of California, Berkeley under Professor Bonnie Wade from 2013-2015. Hikage participated in the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures In Music program, with “S. S. Pacific Queen” led by Charlie Chin (In 2006) and “Mark Izu and friends” (In 2013)