“I started my drumming practice before I left my mother’s womb”, Koryu founder Roku-san used to fondly say when asked about the origin of his passion for Taiko drumming, reminiscing that it is Taiko that helped him overcome all the sorrows and difficulties he encountered throughout his life.
a young age, Master Roku-san’s dedication to Taiko drumming was seen as an
obsession by some, giving way to names like ‘the Taiko madman’ and ‘Taiko
crazy’, but as his talents as a master Taiko drummer and composer emerged, the
chants quickly changed tune to ‘Taiko no Roku-san’ - ‘The Matster Taiko
Drummer Roku-san.’ He began inspiring people with his drumming and created a strong
following of supporters, making a name for himself within the community and
becoming an indispensable member of Kutchan town where he lived his
stormy day in 1963, Roku-san watched on as powerful winds and rain battered Mt.
Youtei.* The deep feeling that the beauty and majesty of the volcano evoked
inside him lead him to compose his most famous Taiko song “Yotei Daiko.”
Roku-san’s most famous work as a composer included songs such as:
‘Niseko Renzan Daiko’ (Drums of the Niseko Mountain Range)
‘Fukidashi Daiko’ (The Drumming of playful Spring Water)
‘Youtei Daiko’ & ‘Niseko Renzan Daiko’ are recoded for the album ‘Japanese
1977 - Roku-san sings ‘Hokkai Mohonatsu’ making him Japan’s oldest debut
1997 - ‘Youtei Daiko’ is designated as a ‘folk song to be preserved’
by the town of Kutchan making it a cultural treasure
2009 - Awarded the 45th ‘Hokkaido Cultural Foundation Preservation Award’
Throughout his life, Roku-san would make rounds teaching Taiko at local
schools, performing charity events at schools for the disabled and homes
for the elderly hoping to promote the Taiko art form and culturally engage
the younger generations.
Thanks to his passion and dedication, he is recognized as the pioneer of
Taiko drumming in Hokkido and was awarded the 45th Hokkaido Cultural Foundation
Preservation Award in 2009. He worked relentlessly drumming well into his
late 80’s and almost up until the day he passed away in February, 2010.
* Mt. Youtei is also known as ‘Ezo Fuji’ for its resemblence to Mt. Fuji,
Japan’s most symbolic mountain.
* Enka: Japanese ballad music
Japanese text: http://www.geocities.jp/youteidaiko_koryu_top/takada_rokurou.html