on the Art of Taiko
I did not
have much interest in taiko before becoming a taiko student in 1995.
But after studying for three years, I seriously came to consider serving
God by playing taiko at Misono,
and so I applied for membership. It was in May of my second year at
Misono that I was accepted as a member of the Ensemble.
My most vivid memory of a performance involves one that took place at
Osaka. It was the first time I played in public. Also, I have very strong
memories of my first solo performances. They took place in Sapporo and
Sendai in 2001. Until then, I had played in the background by following
the older members of the Ensemble. But eventually the time came for
me to do it alone. And I simply could not. As much as I was trained
and encouraged by the more seasoned members, whenever it came time for
me to practice my solo I became so sick that I could hardly stand. All
my skills abandoned me. In a way, I felt that I was not prepared, that
I must experience much more hard practice before I could be ready to
go on the stage. At last, Tosha Sensei, our Music Director, gave me
some very good advice. "You still have fear", he said. "Let go of that
fear by beating the drum." The problem was that I knew that a performer's
whole character and life appears on stage when he plays, and I felt
that my own life was still too shallow.
These days, I enjoy playing the flute and I play it for fun. Yet, when
I compare myself to the older players, I have to admit that my sound
does not have their depth. Therefore, I am trying to accumulate as much
experience through hard practice as I can so that one day I will reach
I used to feel nothing but arrogance toward taiko students younger than
myself. But in the course of teaching high school and junior high students,
I have gained a good deal of compassion for them. I realize now that,
like I was at their age, they too have a precious faith. I also realize
that if I care as much for these youngsters as I was fortunate enough
to be cared for when I was their age, they will grow up to work for
the well-being of others. As for me, taiko has opened a mind that was
once very closed. Taiko brings me spiritual depth.
Sometime in my life, I want to play God's sound, with either the drum
or the flute. I want to feel as if I have become God's instrument. I
assume that I will know when I make such a sound. I will know it instantly.
If my heart is pure enough, I can do it.