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Japan Research Centre

Angry Drummers: A Taiko Group from Osaka, Japan

Q&A with Professor Terada

Date: 18 February 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 18 February 2014Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Film

Film Abstract 

Angry Drummers: A Taiko Group from Osaka, Japan (2010; 85mins) - Japanese with English Subtitles

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 is still widespread in areas such as employment and marriage. Buraku communities are found all over Japan, though mainly in the west. Osaka is one such place where taiko drum-making has been an important means of subsistence for them.

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 drum-making centre for over 300 years. Starting in the 1960s, taiko drumming groups sprang up all over Japan - 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 drumming as a means to achieve human rights agendas.

Inspired by Ikari’s success, taiko groups were established in many other Buraku communities in the larger Osaka area, providing them with a venue to affirm their Buraku identity with new awareness and cultural pride in their own history. By cross-examining the motivations of individual members and the history of a region with a deeply sedimented memory of discrimination and prejudice, this film explores the potential for performing arts to play a massive part in minority groups’ struggle for human rights.

Event Series

Two powerful documentary films by TERADA Yoshitaka of Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology will be shown. These deal with music’s role in helping two minorities in the Osaka area - Okinawans and the so-called Burakumin ‘outcasts’ - actively and publicly deal with prejudice and injustice. 

View second film screening in this series.

Each film will be followed by Q&A with Prof. Terada. And a “live” performance of Okinawan Eisā dance will be held in the KLT foyer from about 2.40pm on the 22nd.

Contact David Hughes for further information.


Free and open to all; no booking required

Organiser: Centres & Programmes Office

Contact email: centres@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893