Big Drum: Taiko in the United States at the Japanese American National Museum

  • en

Jul 200514 Jan 20068

Japanese American National Museum
369 E First St
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States

July 14, 2005 through January 8, 2006
Japanese American National Museum
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Big Drum: Taiko in the United States explores the growing phenomenon of taiko (Japanese drum) ensemble performances through the use of several media presentations, historic photographs, artifacts, and even interactive opportunities for the whole family.

Group taiko performance only developed in post-war Japan and the United States and Japanese Americans played a major role in its growing popularity. With few models to follow, the original three Nikkei groups in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose built their own drums, created their costumes and wrote their own music. The result was the original three groups in 1973 grew to over 250 groups throughout North America today.

Through interviews of key figures, highlights of group performances, and even explanations of the construction of the different drums, Big Drum presents a dynamic experience that unveils the whole process involved in the development of a relatively new performance art. On display will be historic objects, such as early drums made from old wine barrels and furniture tacks, an original yagura used at Senshin Buddhist Temple's early post-war obons, and a six-foot-in diameter, 450-pound okedo constructed by Victor Fukuhara.

Visitors to the exhibition will also have the opportunity to try taiko for themselves through several interactive elements including small percussive instruments for visitors to shake, rattle, and strike; festival and performance clothing to try on; Sony PlayStation game "Taiko: Drum Master"™ for visitors to test their game playing skills courtesy of Namco Hometek and RedOctane; and during weekend afternoons, taiko drums will be available for visitors to play on the demonstration platform.

For more information, please visit


vkm . Last modified Jan 12, 2023 2:11 p.m.

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