JANM Digital Film Festival: Big Drum: Taiko in the United States Q and A

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Film & Other Media

6:00p.m. - 7:00p.m.

Fifteen years after its initial release as part of the groundbreaking exhibition at JANM, Big Drum: Taiko in the United States will be available online starting Friday, July 17, as part of the JANM Digital Film Festival! Featuring America’s pioneering taiko figures, this film documents the development of American taiko and includes interviews and footage of drum-making and performances that reflect the ongoing transformation and diversification of this exciting performing art.

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. In 2005, the exhibition, Big Drum: Taiko in the United States, explored the growing phenomenon of taiko (Japanese drum) ensemble performances through the use of several media presentations, historic photographs, artifacts, and interactive activities.


The documentary is also available on DVD at the JANM Store. The DVD also features extras, including historical footage and excerpts from the documentary Taiko: The Music of the Japanese Drums (1977).

15th Anniversary Virtual Celebration

Tune in for a 15th anniversary celebration of the film, Big Drum: Taiko in the United States, and conversation with curator Sojin Kim and featured performers Kenny Endo (Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble), Kay Fukumoto (Maui Taiko), Teddy Yoshikami (Soh Daiko), PJ Hirabayashi (Artistic Director Emeritus, San Jose Taiko), and more! 

Be sure to watch the film first, then join us for the Q&A which will be streamed live on JANM’s YouTube channel on Friday, July 24, from 6 p.m.–7 p.m. (PDT).


Submit questions in advance using this form. Participants will be able to chat and ask additional questions live (you will need to be logged in to YouTube to participate in the chat).

JANM Digital Film Festival—Join us as we dive into films produced by the Japanese American National Museum’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center! Organize a (virtual) screening party with your friends or family or just get cozy and enjoy the JANM Digital Film Festival from the safety of your own home. We will also have Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and others involved in the projects.


JANM . 更新日 2020年7月17日




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