Japanese drumming experience for foreigners! Explanation of cautions, reasons for popularity and facilities where you can experience it.

 

Motenas Representative
Motenas Representative

Japanese drums are famous as part of traditional Japanese culture. Did you know that its powerful sound and dynamic performances are gaining popularity overseas as well?

This article explains why taiko is so popular among foreigners and the facilities where foreigners visiting Japan can experience taiko.

It is also for those who are worried about letting foreigners experience taiko,
Please also refer to the explanation of what foreigners should pay attention to when they are exposed to taiko for the first time.

Why is taiko popular among foreigners?

There are many things about taiko that even those of us living in Japan do not know. First, it is important to know why taiko is so popular among foreigners. There are three specific reasons.
. simple and powerful.
Can be enjoyed by a large group of people
Learn about Japanese culture

Simple and powerful.

The simple yet powerful performance of taiko is one of the reasons why taiko is so popular among foreigners.
Wadaiko is a very simple instrument that is played by striking the drum face with a bachi. Since all you have to do is beat the drum rhythmically, it can be played quickly and even children can enjoy it.
Also, by adjusting the position of the drums, people can participate while seated, making it possible for people with limited mobility or those in wheelchairs to enjoy the performance.
The force of the taiko can be adjusted to produce a powerful performance, and the sound of the taiko is so powerful that even foreigners are amazed! The sound of the taiko is so powerful that even foreigners are amazed. The dynamic power of taiko is also popular among foreigners.

Can be enjoyed by a large group of people

Another reason for their popularity is that they can be participated in by one or more people. Koto and shamisen, for example, are popular, but it is difficult for several people to breathe together, and if there are a limited number of instruments, they experience them in turn, which shortens the time they have to touch them.
In this regard, multiple taiko drums can be prepared, allowing a large group of people to experience taiko without excess.
One person can enjoy a slow and steady performance, or a large group can enjoy a powerful performance if they can play in unison.
We recommend that the whole family experience taiko as an opportunity to strengthen family ties.

Learn about Japanese culture

Knowing wadaiko will help you learn more about Japanese culture. The history of taiko is long, and it is said that skinned taiko drums may have existed as far back as the Jomon period.
It is deeply connected to Japanese history as it was used in festivals and Shinto rituals, and in the Warring States period, it was used to control the military.
Experiencing taiko drumming is popular among foreigners because they can learn about a part of Japan’s long history.

Where can foreigners experience taiko drumming?

Are there places where foreigners visiting Japan can experience taiko drumming? The loud and powerful sound of taiko is very popular, but the reality is that there are only a limited number of places where you can actually play taiko.
Therefore, this article introduces two places where you can experience taiko drumming.
Wadaiko drumming classes
Events, etc.

Japanese Drumming Class

One of the best places for foreigners to experience taiko is at a taiko school.
While many classes offer regular lessons, some offer programs for foreigners, such as one-hour trial lessons.
In a short lesson, you can start by learning rhythm with the instructor, then actually play the songs you have learned, and finally watch a professional demonstration.
In most cases, reservations are required in advance, so it is best to know in advance how many people you would like to experience taiko drumming and the time of day so that the experience will go smoothly.
If you take lessons from a professional in a classroom, you will learn more about taiko and create good memories of your visit to Japan.

Events, etc.

By participating in an event designed to promote the appeal of taiko, visitors can experience taiko performances up close and personal. Watching a professional player manipulate a bachi at will is a rare experience rarely found overseas.
The Nippon Taiko Foundation also provides information on events, so those interested in taiko events should refer to them.
You can also experience the musical accompaniment of taiko at summer festivals held by cities, towns, and villages. Experiencing a uniquely Japanese festival is a great way to learn more about the appeal of taiko.
Nippon Taiko Foundation
Official URL: http://www.taikojapan.com/

Cautions for Foreigners Experiencing Japanese Drumming

Most foreign visitors to Japan will be experiencing taiko for the first time. Are there any points that foreigners should be aware of when experiencing taiko?
From here, we will explain what to expect when foreigners experience taiko drumming.
The power of the Japanese drums is amazing.
How to handle a wadaiko drum
How to handle bees

The power of the Japanese drums is amazing.

The realism of the taiko is more powerful than you can imagine.
Enjoying the vibrations and the sense of realism is one of the best parts of taiko, but many people may be surprised at how powerful it is.
You may be surprised at how powerful it is, especially for foreigners attending with their families, who may have babies or small children with them.
While taiko is an instrument that allows you to enjoy a sense of realism, be aware of its power.

How to handle Japanese drums

When foreigners are exposed to taiko drums for the first time, they need to be careful about how they handle them. Touching it with wet hands or shooting only at the center when hitting it can cause quick pain and even tear it.
Wadaiko is a delicate instrument, and if it is handled carelessly, it will be damaged. The trick is not to focus on a single point on the taiko, but to strike both sides of the drum in a balanced manner to the rhythm.
We understand the excitement of your first time playing taiko, but you must be careful not only when playing it, but also when moving it or touching it.

Bachi Handling

Care must be taken not only in the handling of the taiko, but also in the handling of the bachi with which the taiko is struck.
It is obvious that you should not swing or throw the drum, but hitting it in a rubbing manner can cause damage to the drum.
Also, a wispy bachi can be a source of injury and drumming pain.
Wadaiko is a simple instrument that produces sound when struck, but before striking, check the condition of the bachi as well.

Basic Knowledge of Japanese Drumming

Here is a summary of basic knowledge you should know before experiencing taiko.
You will enjoy taiko even more if you learn some basic knowledge about the history of taiko and the names of its parts before experiencing it. The following two topics are explained here.
History of Wadaiko
Name of the part of a Japanese drum

History of Wadaiko

The history of taiko dates back to the Jomon period. During the Jomon period, taiko was not enjoyed as a musical instrument, but rather as a means of communicating information among friends.
In addition, a “haniwa” with a drum hanging from its shoulder has been excavated from the Tenjinyama burial mound in Gunma Prefecture, indicating that it was used for ceremonial purposes in the late Kofun period. Cowhide has been used since this time, and the ancient method is still followed today.
The “Nagashino Kassen Zu Byobu” depicting a battlefield during the Warring States Period shows the use of flutes and drums to inspire warriors.
In the Edo period (1603-1867), it was a sacred instrument used in Kabuki and festival music.
It is now recognized by foreigners as a symbolic instrument of Japan during international events such as the Olympics and Expo ’70.

Parts and Names of Japanese drums

Wadaiko drums have names for even the smallest details. Here is a brief explanation of each.

face

The area to be struck with the bee is called the “face. This surface is made of thick, sturdy cowhide, and if you look closely, you may see moles or blood vessels.
The sound changes depending on how the instrument is used. A newly purchased instrument produces a high-pitched sound, while a stretched instrument produces a low, taiko-like sound. When the surface is fully stretched, the sound is lost, so it is considered a good time to reupholster the drum.

torso

The side of the taiko is called the “body. The body is made of wood, and a variety of woods are chosen, including camphorwood and zelkova.
Wadaiko drums made of zelkova wood are considered to be the finest of all, and those made by hollowing out a single piece of wood are heavy and have a profound sound.
The torso may be struck as a performance, but it should not be struck except in a performance because it will be dented and banged up.

Facilities where foreigners can experience taiko drumming

We have explained various aspects of taiko, but where are the facilities where foreigners can actually experience taiko?
The following two are recommended for foreigners to experience taiko drumming.
TAIKO-LAB (nationwide)
Yume Academy Japanese Drum and Shamisen School

TAIKO-LAB

TAIKO-LAB is a taiko school with outlets in southern Kanto and Kansai.
The four South Kanto locations are Aoyama, Kichijoji, Akihabara, and Fujisawa, and are located in cities with a large foreign population. As a result, they are actively accepting inbound visitors and offer a 60-minute completion program that can be easily scheduled during travel.
Programs are also available that can be used as training activities for multinational companies and can be used for team building.
One of the nice features is that the instructors give lessons in English. We also have branches in Kyoto, Osaka, and Hyogo in western Japan.
Name: Taiko Center Co.
URL: https: //www.taiko-center.co.jp/

Yume Academy Japanese Drum and Shamisen School

Yume Academy is a school that offers on-site classes to experience traditional culture such as taiko drumming and shamisen playing.
You can experience only one of taiko, shamisen, or koto, or you can create a program that allows you to experience all three at the same time.
As for the location, the organizers and invitees do not need to think about the venue, as they can arrange a venue according to the number of people. The number of people can be accommodated from one to a maximum of 500, so the service can be used not only for family-based experiences, but also for corporate training programs.
Name: Yume Academy Japanese Drum and Shamisen School
URL: https: //tokoton634.net/

Taiko Experience for Foreigners: Summary

In this article, we have explained what foreigners need to know about experiencing taiko and the secret of its popularity.
I believe that we Japanese were able to learn about the charm of taiko, which we did not know much about.
There are three reasons why taiko is popular among foreigners
. simple and powerful.
Can be enjoyed by a large group of people
Learn about Japanese culture

In addition, the following three points should be noted when foreigners experience taiko drumming.
The power of the Japanese drums is amazing.
How to handle a wadaiko drum
How to handle bees
Although the taiko is a dynamic instrument, it is also a very sensitive instrument. Care must be taken when playing it, so it is a good idea to inform foreigners in advance.

If you need help with these traditional culture experiences or team building for foreigners, please contact Motenas Japan. Experiencing taiko drumming can give you a deeper understanding of traditional Japanese culture and strengthen your bond with others.
We will propose an experience program that meets your needs.