Taiko is an ancient Japanese form of percussion using large drums. The drums range in size from roughly a snare drum (“shime”), to drums as large as a car (the “o-daiko”). The most common drum size in taiko is the “chu-daiko” which is the size of a wine barrel.
During the 1900’s, Taiko drumming became a musical art form that involved a music ensemble and tightly choreographed movements. This is taiko as we know it today.
One of taiko’s most defining aspects is it’s dynamic playing style. Taiko playing is loud, hard, and fast, and involves a lot of choreographed movement which many identify with Japanese martial arts.
There are more than 8,000 Taiko groups in Japan, but it is only over the last 30 years that Taiko drumming has taken root in the western world. Even if you have not seen Taiko drumming live, you have probably still encountered it in movies with a Japanese theme, such as Rising Sun, or The Hunted.