Rhythm fun: family bonding through Japanese drums

By on February 27, 2010
You live in Japan, so you want to get yourself and your family involved in lots of traditional Japanese cultural events and practices. A great way to learn more about Japanese culture is to participate in an instructed class, although sometimes it can be difficult to find child- and family-friendly classes. Moko Igarashi, a 61-year-old Japanese native, has been running the Miyabi Arashi Taiko Group in Azabu Juban for 10 years, and has personally taught over 230 students the beautiful art of Taiko drumming.
In Japanese, the word "Taiko" means "drum". Outside Japan, Taiko usually refers to any sort of Japanese-style drumming. The history of Taiko in Japan dates back hundreds of years, and was primarily used as a medium to contact the gods to ask for better harvests. It has only been since World War II that Taiko was treated as an art form. Although it may seem like playing an instrument, Taiko involves much more than just a sense of rhythm – it also demands physical stamina and a spiritual connection with your drum.
Moko Sensei prides herself on providing classes that are full of energy and inspire individuality in drumming. “My beginning was to introduce this activity to foreigners. I thought it would be nice to put everyone’s cultures together.” Moko Sensei adds, “I teach Japanese drumming, but it doesn’t have to be strictly Japanese. People can bring in their own styles, and I can bring in my Western education in music.” Not only is this a great opportunity for foreigners to learn a very traditional Japanese art form; it’s also a great chance for Japanese people to meet and exchange cultural ideas with foreigners.  Foreigners and the Japanese are able to interact on an equal level and learn more about each other regardless of age. Don’t worry if you or your children don’t speak Japanese, because Moko Sensei’s class are all held in English.

Moko Sensei offers classes to people of all ages and levels, and encourages families to join together as it is a great way for families to bond. There are countless benefits for children who get involved in a class such as Taiko. Taiko promotes an understanding of team-work within children and allows them to develop rhythmic abilities. Moko Sensei’s energetic classes also encourage self-discovery and self-expression, something that she says is all part of learning this longstanding art form.  

Past and current students have said that learning Taiko has not only taught them rhythm but has also opened them up to a new level of understanding when it comes to Japanese culture and tradition. The advantages of learning Taiko are endless.

For more information on Moko Sensei’s classes, such as rates and class locations, e-mail: stormy@w7.dion.ne.jp or phone (03) 5442-3368

Miyabi Arashi Taiko School
4-4-1 2106 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo

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