The philosophy of playing Taiko

Celebrating traditional Japanese New Years with family Learning Japanese at school and at home with family Developing an original kata Introducing Taiko in Vancouver The philosophy of playing Taiko Defining a Taiko player

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Whether they’re playing it the right way I think is the big question for us because, for us, it’s more than an instrument, more than just music. It’s because, like I said, it’s the philosophy of playing. I think for us, it’s really more of a lifestyle. It’s a way of life that’s really being engrained in how we kind of do everything. So it’s not just coming once a week and playing on a barrel drum. It’s really gone beyond that.

We’ve always said that’s the question, “What is a Taiko player?” Or at least like to ask that question. Is a Taiko player just because you’re sitting there and you have a hachimaki on, a happi coat, and you’re play with bachi? Is that a Taiko player? Or is a Taiko player someone that’s playing in the orchestra, and they happen to have a Taiko there? Is that a Taiko player? If it’s in a jazz set, is that a Taiko player? If you’re in the middle of the Midwest playing Taiko, is that a Taiko player? Or if you’re here in San Jose, are you a Taiko player? I think it really does come down to the spirit and philosophy again and understanding where all that comes from versus not just playing just a big drum. I think that’s the challenge for Taiko in the future—being able to retain that spirit.

Date: January 26, 2005
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Art Hansen, Sojin Kim
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

identity music san jose taiko taiko

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