There is a wealth of contemporary compositions for the koto. Since the war, various Japanese composers have expanded the repertoire of this ancient string instrument and provided new contexts for its traditional sonorities while encouraging the development of new and experimental techniques.

The instrument has evolved as well. Its size and number of strings have increased to accommodate ease of modulation and to provide a greater chromatic range. Besides the 13-string traditional koto, many koto players now work with 20-, 25- and 30-string versions. At first anomalies in the hogaku world, performances on these larger koto are now common, and there is a large body of excellent work written especially for them.

While much postwar koto music was composed by the performers themselves or composers trained in classical hogaku, many Western-trained Japanese composers, enchanted by the possibilities of the koto, have also experimented with new works. These composers, since they themselves do not play, usually team up with a talented performer who informs them about the instrument and provides ideas, inspiration and commissions to create new works. The performer and the composer work together, each supporting the other.