Ikari Taiko

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IKARI TAIKO do not simply to entertain their audiences with the enthusiasm, power and dynamic range of their shows, they use taiko to combat prejudice and discrimination in their homeland.


Filmed in Osaka, Japan, 2006-2010.
Japanese, with English sub-titles.

Length: 85 minutes

Director: Professor Yoshitaka Terada, National Museum of Ethnology
This screening will be followed by a short Question & Answer session, with Professor Terada accompanied by Mr Akehiko Asai, Director of Ikari. Admission is by concert ticket only.

The Buraku community is Japan’s largest and ethnically indistinguishable minority. People from this community traditionally lived as outcast minorities in areas called buraku, and engaged in despised professions associated with death and killing, such as grave digging, execution, tanning, and butchering. After many years of anti-discriminatory struggle, discrimination against Buraku people has become less blatant and direct, but it continues to be widespread in areas such as employment and marriage. People of the Buraku communities are found all over Japan, but are largely concentrated in its western regions. Osaka is one such place, where drum making has been an important means of subsistence for its Buraku community.
This film documents the history and activities of a drumming group called Ikari (‘Anger’ or ‘Rage’) from the Naniwa section of Osaka City, which has been a center of taiko (Japanese drums) making for over 300 years. Starting in the 1960s, taiko drumming groups sprang up all over Japan, with some even performed overseas. Yet for many years, the taiko craftsmen were the subject of discrimination. In 1987, a group of young people started playing taiko mainly for fun, but unexpected responses from the community elders triggered them to understand the history and experiences of their community and they began to use taiko drumming as a means to achieve human rights agendas.

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