Friction between Sensei and Kinnara in defining taiko

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Transcripts available in the following languages:

[Tanaka] Sensei came down. He heard about us and came down to tell us what it should be. I think at first…we’re on very good terms now, but at the time, it was kind of tense. He said, “Well you shouldn’t call it taiko. You should call it drumming.” And we said, “We’ll call it whatever we want” you know. And he’s of a school of strict discipline and in this whole samurai tradition. Our temples were peasants. We’re farmers and that makes no sense. So we said, “No, we’re not going to run. We’re not going to exercise. And if you hit me with a stick, I’ll hit you with another stick” you know. So that meeting ended as separate things and then gradually, as it grew, we began to overlap and now we’re on pretty good terms with sensei.

But at first it was a very different attitude. And that attitude still shows. Buddhist temples, by and large…it’s not their religion. We’ve got a religion. It’s called Buddhism. Taiko is not my life and our point of view is if it’s your life, you need to get another life. It’s just a part of what we do at temples. It’s like pounding mochi. Some people pound mochi. Some people play taiko, that’s all. And that’s all we look at it as and because of that, we’re almost on our third generation of people who grew up with taiko and grew out of it, which is fine with us. Yeah, there was no objective, as such.

Date: December 3, 2004
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Art Hansen, Sojin Kim
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

kinnara taiko

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