Japanese Drums

Japanese Drums during Oshogatsu Festival in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, January 1st, 2016

Taiko are a broad range of Japanese percussion instruments. Outside Japan, the term refers to any of the various Japanese drums called wadaiko. Taiko have a mythological origin in Japanese folklore, but historical records suggest that taiko were introduced to Japan through Chinese and Korean cultural influence as early as the 6th century CE. Many groups accompany the drums with vocals, strings, and woodwind instruments. In feudal Japan, taiko were used to motivate troops, call out orders or announcements, and set a marching pace. In addition to the instruments, the term taiko also refers to the performance itself.