Much Ado About Taiko

Taiko is a Japanese word which means “drum”, and is also used to refer to the art of ensemble Japanese drumming performances. Although drums have been used extensively in the past thousand years, it has only been in recent years that the drums take center stage in these events.

A Kumidaiko is an ensemble of drums and Osuwa Daiko was one of the first ensembles formed by jazz drummer  Daihachi Oguchi. With the growing popularity all throughout Japan, Taiko became an overnight sensation of sorts. Some time in 1968, a Taiko dojo(school) was opened in San Francisco, and that is how it came to American soil.

Today, the popularity of Taiko is spreading worldwide, with many more dojos being put up every year. Soon after, more Taikos in Los Angeles, then San Jose, both in California followed suit. Some have even opened dojos near universities, schools and even in work places.

In fact, there are many organizations holding annual Taiko Conferences all over the world. Many of these conferences are biennial events sponsored by organized Taiko communities. These events are usually hosted by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Their mission is to continue the growth of Taiko culture in the United States.

These groups usually offer lessons and lectures to students wishing to learn the art of drumming in Taiko. There are different class levels depending on skill level, from beginner, intermediate to advance. The group also helps organize public performances featuring many different Taiko groups.