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The story of how Japanese taiko drumming found relevance, meaning, and foundations for growth in a European context.
The story of how Japanese taiko drumming found relevance, meaning, and foundations for growth in a European context.
115 backers pledged £5,727 to help bring this project to life.

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The Way of the Drum

Taiko drumming is rapidly gaining in popularity around the world. An exciting, exhilarating style of ensemble drumming created in Japan in the 1950s, it gathered momentum in subsequent decades in Japan and then in North America, and more recently in Europe, Australia and South America.  

This book traces the development of one of the first groups in the UK. It also captures the subsequent development of taiko in the UK and Europe through a focus on community events such as the UK Taiko Festival and the European Taiko Conference. 

In this ground-breaking account, Jonathan Kirby explores important questions about how we adopt and adapt art-forms from other cultures and remain authentic and honest. He shares lessons learned and expertise acquired over 20 years as a taiko professional in the UK, and sets out a bold and compelling vision for taiko in future – taiko without borders.

 Chapter Listing 

  • Preface
  • The Beginning of the Journey
  • Preparing the Way
  • Kagemusha Junior Taiko
  • Youth Taiko Projects
  • Teacher Training
  • Corporate Workshops
  • Kagemusha Taiko Group
  • Managing a Taiko Group
  • The UK Taiko Festival
  • The European Taiko Conference
  • The Way of the Drum

Two Thoughts Guiding the Author 

Make the book useful: 
When Jonathan and his wife, Gabrielle, founded Kagemusha Taiko, hardly anyone in the UK knew what taiko was.  Everything had to be created from scratch, including the very reasons WHY anyone should be playing taiko in this part of the world.  This story will therefore be of interest to anyone now teaching taiko, playing taiko or leading taiko groups because it shares a lot of lessons learned the hard way as well as plenty of success stories.

Make the book interesting:
The story will also be of interest to taiko teachers, players and enthusiasts everywhere in the world.  It is said that you learn a lot about your own culture if you have the chance to compare it with another.  Are the differences great or small between European taiko and taiko played in Japan, USA, South America or Australia?  Are there things that taiko players around the world might learn from each other?  

In terms of ethnomusicology, there are important questions about how music from one culture is adapted when it travels to another.  Is taiko appropriately described as "Japanese drumming"?  What about when it's played by people who are not Japanese?  Is this cultural appropriation?  What is "authentic" taiko?  The book doesn't answer these questions with theory, but with examples from 20 years of taiko practice.

The Way of the Drum T-shirt

Available to those who pledge £40 or more...

Thank You for Your Support  

The author - through his taiko ages...
The author - through his taiko ages...

Risks and challenges

The book is written. The text has been proofed. The artwork is all prepared. Once the funding target has been reached, we will be able to pay for typesetting and printing, turning 130,000 words into a hardback book of about 280 pages.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $27

    THE BOOK

    Beat the rush and get the book cheaper by ordering an advance copy, with a personal note of thanks from the author. Pre-orders like this help make the book possible, so THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

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    Pledge £40 or more About $53

    THE BOOK & T-SHIRT

    Many thanks for your support. With this pledge, you will receive the book and a Way of the Drum t-shirt too, with FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the world.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $133

    SPONSOR

    Thank you for your sponsorship. A pledge of £100 or more grants you free shipping for your copy of the book and t-shirt, and you will be acknowledged as a supporter in print in the book itself. You can also choose to support anonymously.

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Funding period

- (30 days)