There are many Japanese traditional drums. But only one has a long history to go with. Taiko is an ancient percussion instrument used extensively in Japanese folklore and has spread across the world as well.
There are many sizes of Taiko and many styles of playing too. Albeit its deep cultural roots, the credit of reviving its popularity goes to one Japanese drummer named “Daihachi Oguchi”. His group extensively toured around the world in the 50s popularizing these drums. Their group is called “Osuwa Daiko”. Their style of performance including theatrical plays allured many people and is one of the reasons for their fame. “Kumi Daiko” is a group performance using different Taiko instruments and is familiarized by Daihachi. Sometimes, the play itself is called Taiko apart from the instruments.
Taikos are basically composed of three types depending on their construction. The first type is “Byo-uchi-daiko” which are drumheads strapped to the body. Second: Shime-daiko, which are held using buckles and bolts. Third are the Tsuzumi, which are rope-tensioned drums. Shime-daiko are generally smaller and snare based drums. These three types of Taikos are used in Japanese theatrical art form called “Gagaku”. “Bachi” are sticks used to play these drums. These Bachi come in different shape, material and size. Generally, bachi is made of bamboo. Also, there are “bachis” made of other types of wood like Maple wood, Pine etc. Based on the wood used, the sounds change while playing the drums.
After Daihachi, an increasing number of enthusiasts started forming into groups and have taken Taiko to more foreign shores. Not only Japanese, but also some Westerners have formed Taiko bands. This has become popular in Australia, Brazil, Korea and North America. Many fan clubs and associations are also there in these regions that keep the scene alive.
Taiko performance in Austalia`s got talent