Experience Traditional Japanese Taiko at TAIKO-LAB in Asakusa! What Makes Taiko So Fascinating That It’s Gaining Popularity Around the World?
Do you know what the word taiko means? In English, it is often translated as “drum”, but when most people imagine a “drum” they think of a drum set made up of snare drums. But in Japan, the word “Taiko” has the meaning “Wadaiko” (“Japanese Drum” in English)
Wadaiko has a very long history, and is said to date back more than 16000 years ago. At first, it was used as a means of communication but as time passed, it became something that was used primarily in the traditional arts, such as in Kabuki and Nou, and at the ceremonies at temples and shrines, and continues to be used in this way today. Having so much history behind it, Wadaiko may appear to be a highly formal activity but in the present day, many young people still consider it to be something very “cool”, with bands even including Wadaiko in their music. These bands are known as “Wagakki Bands” (previously covered in one of our other articles on our site).
Moreover, a lot of people know that there are Wadaiko teams all over Japan, but are not knowledgable of just how popular Wadaiko is. At present, there are more than 1000 Wadaiko teams in North America alone, which tells us that there are quite a number of people in the world that have been captivated by the sheer charm of Wadaiko.
In order to find out what exactly makes Wadaiko so captivating, our girls Kumiko Funayama and Hikari Shiina set off to give taiko a try for themselves! On this trip, they visited TAILO-LAB in Asakusa to try their hand at taiko! Here, you can experience learning from professional taiko drummers! Check out all of there taiko drums!
The first type of taiko our girls tried playing was the “choudoudaiko”, the most standard taiko on offer. When someone mentions the word “Wadaiko”, most people associate it with the word “festival” and so or girls went all out, even going as far as wearing a Happi coat!
After watching an example performance, the girls then listened intently to the teacher’s explanation. The girls were itching to start drumming and their eagerness to begin clearly showed. In order to really bring out a nice clean sound while drumming, having the correct stance is essential! With their feet roughly shoulder-width apart, our girls were ready to start drumming. Holding their “bachi” (“taiko drumsticks” in English) directly above their heads, they then began to drum away, banging their sticks against the drums as hard as they could.
Kumiko and Hikaru’s excitement peaked about half way through drumming, as they cried out “Ha!” to channel as much of their energy as possible into drumming.
After being complimented by their teacher, the girls continued on with great energy and vigor as they tried out the Oo-daiko (literally meaning “big drum” in English”)!
While watching their taiko teacher’s demonstration, Kumiko and Hikari did their best to prepare themselves by performing some mental imagery training. After the demonstration ended, it was now time for the girls to give it a try for real! With the taiko that our girls were using here, one can drum from both sides. They sure do suit the taiko scene pretty well don’t you think?
At the end of their lesson, they took a photo with their teacher and their taiko! Wadaiko uses requires the use of many different muscles so our girls are smiling as though they just finished an all-out workout! If you ever get the chance to try out Wadaiko, please take the plunge and go for it!
Address : Akorude Asakusa 3F, Asakusa3-4-9, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station : Asakusa
URL : http://www.taiko-center.com/
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