Taiko was the most popular performance at the Setsubun Festival.
The boys of Wakahaya Taiko perform in public between 25 and 40 times a year in Japan. Kids Web Japan went to see them play at the Setsubun Festival at the Senmyoji temple in Kurogo, in their home prefecture of Ibaraki.
Putting on a costume before the performance
Tomohiro was unfazed during his first performance.
It was February 1, one of the coldest days in the year, but the seven members of the group appeared in light cotton happi coats with thin cotton towels twisted around their heads, their bare feet in straw sandals. One of the boys had a cold and a fever of 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), but when their performance began, he swung his bachi in sync with all the others. They played for 25 minutes, including the pieces "Shimodate Gion Bayashi," "Gekiryu," and "Waka Sangiri." The sight of such small boys striking such large drums with so much energy brought loud applause from the audience.
It was Sasa Tomohiro's first time playing the o-daiko (large taiko) in front of an audience. But he looked perfectly calm before, during, and after the performance. "It was OK," he smiled at the end.
"Perhaps it's because they have so many opportunities to perform. Anyhow the kids don't get nervous at all," says Sasa the elder with a laugh.
It's hard to believe these drummers are in elementary school.