TAIKO Drummers – Japanese Taiko
TAIKO Drummers – Japanese Taiko
  • Album Title:TAIKO Drummers – Japanese Taiko
  • Item No:Master-055
  • Artists :St. Louis Osuwa Taiko
  • Genre:Instrumental music
  • Company:ABC (Int'l)Records
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Total Time 32:13



 The Japanese taiko culture is rather booming now, beyond Japan, all over the world has the taiko performance groups. But recent years in Japan, this prosperous phenomenon has been turning into falling. For in recent years, local communities, such as the city, town and country of Japan have began to merge slowly. During Heisei era, 38 million local communities have been remained to only 18 million communities, while most of Japanese taiko group were operated among these communities, they would often hold some exposi-tions, festival activities to support the taiko culture. So, as the merger and reduction of these communities and lack of money and performing places, the recent years Japanese folk taiko culture has been on a decline phenomenon. The most prosperous time of Japanese folk taiko culture is around the sixteenth year of Heisei(2004). 

Compare to the folk taiko performances, the number of taiko concert performance is increasing. For Japanese taiko culture has become more and more emphasized on art, and no longer like the previous one, only to stay in the field of folk art. The former taiko performances cannot play based on looking the compose like pinao or violin. But now things have changed. Taiko performances have escaped from folk custom and became rather artistic. The number of tailko theatrical performance group has become larger. Some taiko music groups, even a year can earn billions of yen of performance income, and the number of an individual drummer can earn millions a month is in a large figure too. So, this is the current status of the Japanese taiko performance group. In short, folk taiko performances is more and more depressed, while professional taiko concert performance groups are increasing. From past to present, Japanese taiko culture industry almost are maintained by the citizens voluntarily. Although Japanese government had issued cultural protection law a few decades ago in order to promote the traditional culture, but in fact, the effect of government is quite limited, it is almost civil groups that try their best to save and develop the taiko culture.
It is Den Tagayasu generally believed that is the first one put the taiko performances into theater. The greatest credit of Tagayasu, that is, created the ō-daiko (large drum). In Japan former taiko performance, such as the Osuwa Daiko, all beated the small drum at the side. Since Tagayasu created the ō-daiko, the performer needs to play with the whole body. Be-havior of beating the drum is viewed as a sacred act in Japanese heart, Tagayasu combined spirit, fresh and drumming into one, created the taiko culture on the stage. The current taiko boom must be created to Daihachi Oguchi and Tagayasu, but as for the theater taiko, that is ō-daiko and Tomoe-daiko, it is no dout that it totally belongs to Tagayasu one person’s contributions.
In 1975, when the Japanese taiko group performed in Boston U.S.A, one famous sym-phony orchestra conductor, Mr. Ozawa Masatoshi, saw Mr. Tagayasu these stage drumming techniques and felt very interesting, finally, he let the orchestra chord with the taiko group, also made some adjustments about the taiko group, which showed the value of taiko. They combined taiko, spirit and fresh into one. Other people saw it and also felt interesting, then they started to follow it, play it.
From the age of time, the Japanese taiko performance, until 1980s, the style of it was quite "strong", after that, the taiko performance began to become rather " aesthetic ". In other words, till 1980s, the Japanese taiko had not been influenced by the Western culture. The taiko performances show their own Japanese spirit, and they perform on the stage and face to face to the audience. The Western drum performance emphasizes the tempo of drumming, which becomes an element of the Japanese taiko. Compare to Western perfor-mance which is giving a sense of distance to the audience, the Japanese traditional perfor-mances are very close to the audience.
The most distiguished feature of taiko is, put the elements of samurai into taiko performances. Common performance groups will salute and bow before and after the performance. But they donnot do this, they perform boldly and naturly like samurai, integrate the samurai moral into taiko performance.
It will be clearly sensed that Japanese taiko performances have involved many Western music elements from our this taiko record made on the west coast of the United States, which is totally different from their former performance style. All the performers just played the Japanese-style taiko before, but now differ.
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