By Rachel Chang
Passing through Fukushima's Shimogo district this summer, home to one of the prefecture's top destinations in Ouchi-juku, I had the opportunity to watch a local taiko group perform their craft this past summer.
Formed in 1987, Shimogo's Okawa-Keiryu Taiko Preservation Society (大川渓流太鼓保存会) is a group of local Japanese taiko drummers. Their lively performances are well-received, combining traditional culture with local folklore. Led by charismatic Iwasawa-san, their goal is to has been to help preserve inherited traditional arts and help revitalise the region, and are driven by the support of the local Shimogo people.
I was fortunate enough to participate in a unique taiken experience deep in Shimogo's valleys and received a pair of Japanese 'bachi' drumsticks as a commemorative gift. Whilst captured mid-training session, this performance showcases well what they can do.