ABOUT WTC

Due to the global pandemic, we decided to move the entire inaugural World Taiko Conference (WTC) 2020 online. Around the world, we have all had to spend a lot of time at home and apart this year. It is difficult to travel, domestically and internationally, and playing taiko has been a challenge for most of us with limited opportunities to gather, perform, or practice at all. The WTC Committee would like to look at this challenging time as a chance to deeply reflect on the journey that taiko around the world has evolved into the art form that we enjoy today.

 

This event will connect people from around the world through taiko (Japanese drums) and share the wonder of taiko with a wider global audience. 

Taiko, also known as “wadaiko” (Japanese drumming), originally emerged as a performing art in Japan around 70 years ago. This art-form continues to expand worldwide, enjoyed by people of diverse cultures and ethnicities, of all ages and any gender. Today, taiko stands out as a form of Japanese culture that has spread extensively around the world despite its relatively short history.

Two distinct qualities that set taiko apart from other musical instruments are its rich, powerful resonance and the ease with which anyone can make a sound when they first attempt to play it.

WTC will offer a multifaceted lineup, designed for attendees to enjoy regardless of their taiko experience. The program will feature taiko performances along with exchange-centered activities and discussion sessions.

The first-ever taiko conference took place in 1997 in Los Angeles, USA. Ever since, North America Taiko Conference has been held as a biennial event, for a total of 11 times to date.

Since 2016, Europe also has its own annual gathering: European Taiko Conference (ETC). 

In 2020, WTC will be the first taiko conference in Japan, where the art-form first began.

WTC flyer (in Japanese)→

Event Goals
  • To introduce taiko culture, which has become popular around the world, in its country of origin⁠—Japan—to share its appeal and increase interest in the art form.

  • To act as a significant step towards further cultural creation centered around taiko.

  • To provide a place and opportunity for everyone to gather, interact, and forge new networks in Japan and on a global scale.

Objectives
  1. Further expand and develop taiko⁠—a performing art that originated in Japan.

  2. Facilitate meaningful exchange between taiko enthusiasts (players and spectators alike) from Japan and abroad, regardless of their different languages, ages, and physical abilities. 

  3. Convey the joy of taiko to all attendees.

What to expect:
Why Taiko?
Culturally significant Japanese art form

In 2020, the Tokyo Olympic Games will draw global attention to Japan and its rich culture. Taiko acts as an ambassador for Japan, connecting people around the world. So the Olympic year is the perfect occasion to promote this musical instrument and art form. 

Diversity

Drums have the longest history of any musical instrument and have been found throughout the world for thousands of years. Like other drums, it only takes a simple beating action to play taiko, which means anyone can play it easily right from their first encounter. Taiko drumming is a source of enjoyment for people of any background, culture, age, or ability.

Increasing taiko population around the world

The number of taiko players continues to grow, with numerous groups not only in Japan but also spread across six continents worldwide. Outside Japan, annual and biennial taiko conferences attract experienced players and newcomers to share, learn and network, which in turn helps the community to grow in size and strength.

Power to connect people

From ancient times, taiko has played a significant role in connecting people through festivals and performing arts. In a world where modern life is becoming increasingly individualized and diversified, perhaps we all need taiko’s inherent social mechanism in our lives now more than ever before.

 
 
WTC FAQ

Q: Who can participate?

A:  People of all cultures, backgrounds, genders, and abilities are welcome to take part. No previous taiko experience is required.

Q: What language will the conference be conducted?

A: The conference will be conducted in Japanese and English.

 
Meet the WTC team

Executive Steering Committee

Executive Steering Committee Chair: 

Tadahiro Konoe 

(curioswitch inc., Creative Director / CEO)

Executive Steering Committee Vice-Chair: 

Makoto Shimazaki 

(Professor Emeritus at Musashino Art University)

Executive Steering Committee :

(Alphabetic order)

Derek Oye  

(Board Chair, Taiko Community Alliance (U.S.A.)

                    Member, Kinnara Taiko (Los Angeles, CA))

 

Jonathan Kirby

  (Artistic Director, Kagemusha Taiko (UK)

                           Director, UK Taiko Festival and European Taiko Conference)​

Katsuji Asano

   (ASANO TAIKO U.S., Inc., CEO/ President)

Kazuhiko Osawa  

(Nippon Taiko Foundation, President)

Nobuyuki Nishimura   

(NOBU Representative, Producer)

Tomoharu Inoue 

(Inoue Business Consultants, Inc., CEO/

Culture Vision Japan Foundation Inc., Board chairman)


Yoshihiko Miyamoto   

(Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten Co., Ltd., President)

Advisor:

Akitoshi Asano

   (The Asano Foundation For Taiko Culture Research, President)

Organizing Committee

Organizing Committee Chief Coordinator: 

Nobuyuki Nishimura

Organizing Committee Coordinator:

Yui Kamiya

Organizing Committee(Alphabetic order)

Ami Akimoto

Atsushi Sugano 

Kohei Inde

WTC Staff

(Alphabetical order)

Akiko Iwasaki

Asumi Nishida

Atsushi Sugano

Emma Ziker

Erina Watanabe

Issa Takada

Karuna Tembata

Kenshiro Sano

Kohei Inde

Kozue Koriyama

Kyoka Yuda

Makiko Omae​

Mami Oyama

Masaharu Miyano

Masayuki Murashita

Masumi O’Brien

Melanie Taylor

Midori Sanbongi

Sara Tembata

Sarah Gilbert

Sho Jeffrey Yoshida

Shun Kiyota

Takayo Hoshiai

Tsubasa Nitta

Yumi Célia

​Yuta Kato

Get the latest updates on WTC!

©World Taiko Conference Committee 

Presented by:

World Taiko Conference Committee

Website photos courtesy of:

Nippon Taiko Foundation, North American Taiko Conference, European Taiko Conference Organizer