Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Faculty Sponsor

Jittapim Yamprai


The significance of Taiko in Japanese culture is far beyond being a percussion instrument. “Taiko” also refers to the art of drumming and is claimed to represent the spirit of Japanese people. Since ancient times, Taiko was used in the battlefield, Shinto and Buddhist religious ceremonies, festivals, royal courts, and theatrical arts performance. However, the origin of the Taiko remains unclear as well as its connection with Korean drum. The sacred power of Taiko for Japanese people is difficult to clarify in modern context. Japan is moving toward modernization, while promoting the importance of cultural preservation. It is important to understand the connection of the belief in Taiko that has been passed down since it first evidence appeared in the 6th century in Japan, from generation to generation, and how it survives in this modern Japanese society. To study the norm, performance practices, and its reception by musicians, religious leaders, and the public, an in-depth study of Taiko is necessary. The research, therefore aims to trace back its evolution, value, and its function in Japanese society. Results of the research display Taiko in relation to Japanese legend, development of Taiko, types of Taiko drum, and material used in Taiko manufacturing. More over, through research conducted, the connection of the past and present has provided Taiko with a new function in the modern society including of fusion music, contemporary music composition, and film music. Popular ensembles have brought Taiko to bridge the gap of traditional music of the past and Pop-Rock music of this modern world.