The movie that started it all: Muhōmatsu no Isshō 無法松の一生

Instead of a video post, I will be writing about one exceptional movie that was highly important for the emergence of Taiko as a modern performance art today. It had a lasting effect on Tajiri Kōzō (better known as Den Tagayasu) and was one his main motivations to found the taiko performance group Ondekoza, which is widely credited as “one of the groups to have set the groundwork for taiko as a performance art”, as they describe themselves on their homepage. The name of this special movie is “Muhōmatsu no Isshō 無法松の一生” (“The Life of Matsu the Lawless”). It features star actor Toshirō Mifune taking on the role of a poor rickshaw driver who finds himself taking care of a young woman and her difficult son after the woman’s husband dies rather suddenly. The story is thus summarized in the New York Times Movie database: Continue reading

Video Wednesday: Hiryu High School performance at the Mount Fuji Taiko Festival 2011

The Mount Fuji Taiko Festival has been a fixture in the Japanese taiko community for many years. In 2014 it will be held for the 29th time, and since the year 2010 it also includes a High School contest in which the taiko clubs can show their skills and compete with each other.

On the 31st of July in 2011, the taiko club of the Hiryû High School from Numazu in Shizuoka prefecture competed in the contest with an absolutely stunning performance performance. Their performance included, among other instruments, the use of an Ôdaiko, a hira-daiko, several miya-daikos (or nagadô-daikos), okedô-daikos, a fue (bamboo flute) and, most prominently, three shime-daikos. Continue reading

Starting today: Video Wednesdays! First one: Kodô performance in Paris, March 2011

Starting today, we will be posting a video of one notable Taiko performance or Taiko-related activity every week.

And we will be kicking it off with what is probably one of the most acclaimed Taiko performances to be found on Youtube: A three-man Ôdaiko piece performed by Kodô during their One Earth Anniversary Tour at the end of March 2011 in Paris. Continue reading

Drum type section launched

We have started launching our section about drum types! Our first featured article is a detailed description of the shimedaiko, the high-pitched center piece of many taiko ensembles. The description includes detailed annotated graphs with the English and Japanese terms in Kanji and Western transcription.

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