Taiko means "big drum", but nowadays this term commonly refers to modern Japanese drum lessons and/or performances (Kumi-Daiko). The origins of Taiko go back more than a thousand years and are associated with cultural influences from China and Korea and their use in Japanese Buddhist monasteries at religious ceremonies, but Taiko were also used to motivate military forces.
For Shinto rituals, the Taiko were used in all kinds of honouring ceremonies and offerings to nature gods during village festivals known as the famous Matsuri.
Around the Middle Ages theTaiko were introduced in Imperial Palaces as court music (Gagaku) and they were also used in a renewed style for theatre performances (Kabuki).
Modern Taiko dates from around 1950, when Taiko-grandmaster and fervent jazz musician Daihachi Oguchi used several drum types and rhythms to create a real "performing art" within different Taiko groups. His group Osuwa Daiko opened the Olympic Games in Tokyo and thereupon "conquered" the whole World.
Since 1970, different traditional styles gained popularity thanks to groups such as Za Ondekoza, Kodo, Oedo Sukereku. Apart from the "regular Nagado" and shime or O-daiko they also brought Nanamé, Myake, Suaré and other performances together with traditional creations during various World Tours.
Contemporary Taiko groups, which started in Japan, America, Europe and Australia around 1990 (a total of about 10,000 Taiko groups worldwide, including 5 in Belgium since 2015!) have grown into a mix of styles and choreographies. The most noticeable groups that still perform world wide are Kodo, Dadadan Tenko, Wadaiko Tokara, San José Taiko, but also "tribal style" as Gocoo-Tawoo, etc ...
The new trend is that the current generation of Taiko and Percussion grandmasters mostly consists of solo artists such as Eitetsu Hayachi, Takuya Taniguchi, Tsubasa Hori, Shoji Kameda, Yoshii Shogo, etc... who often also perform as special guest in orchestras, contemporary ballet, theatres or with other talented musicians.
In the meantime Taiko has grown, from both the East and the West, in all directions and disciplines into a full-fledged form of art that has merged percussion, music, dance, martial arts, sport but also meditation with other world music, into an inspiring experience.
(Source Wikipedia & red: S.C,EvT, pS)