Asano Taiko Museum

I'm getting more and more backed up every day, and I'm don't mean that I'm having trouble adjusting to the diet here. We are involved in something taiko related practically every day, from buying bachi (sticks) to attending live performances, are schedule is full. Writing detailed accounts of every taiko event is becoming more of a challenge every day. I will try to get caught up, starting with our trip to buy bachi.

Asano Taiko
We went to Asano Taiko again last Saturday (or was it Friday?) to buy the style of bachi necessary for Kaga style taiko. I don't recall if I mentioned in the previous post about the sticks used in this style. One set is normal size, but decorated with reflective tape in one or two colors. The other set needed is for playing the ji-uchi (base rhythm). These are made of bamboo slats about 2 feet long and maybe a centimeter wide. We needed to go to the Asano store in order to buy these sticks.

After purchasing our sticks, we went over to the Museum (just on the other side of the parking lot). It is not that large so one does not need a great deal of time to visit it. It deals with more than just taiko. There are exhibits about drumming and percussion in all parts of the world. There are also several mini "theaters" set up in the museum showing different taiko videos. What captured my attention (and my daughter's) the most, however, were the two O-daiko (Large drums) in the museum. Taiko drums are measured in a unit called "shaku", which is equal to about 30 cm, or one foot.

The smaller of the two drums was a 3.3(?)shaku drum. The people working at the museum were not certain of it's exact measurement. Anyhow, that would make it somewhere around one meter wide, large enough to look impressive. What captured my interest in that drum (besides its size) was that we could play on it. I must say, when you strike a large drum like that, it sends a shiver down your spine, partly because of physics, but also because of the feeling it gives you. My daughter also played it a bit, I took a short video:

The other O-daiko was impressive because of its sheer enormity. Unfortunately, it was not available for guests to play on. Its size is 6 shaku; do the math and you get 180 cm, nearly two meters! I also have a picture of me in front of it with my daughter on my shoulders, which gives one an idea of the size.

There aren't many drums of this size around, probably for several reasons. Since this type of taiko are made from one tree trunk, a very large tree is needed. The trunk must be more than two meters diameter because the middle is wider than where the drum head is. You also need a pretty large cow for such a large skin. Finally, the cost must be fairly significant. Normal size taiko from Asano (40 - 50 cm) are probably around $3000 to $7000. A 2.5 shaku (75 cm) drum is already around $40,000 +. A 5 shaku (150 cm) drum is maybe at least $100,000. I would guess that a 6 shaku drum is at least close to $200,000, if not more.

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