Matsuriza means “festival” in Japanese. “Taiko” means drum. The principles of Matsuriza are “Shin” (to develop pure spirit), “Gi” (improve skills), “Tai” (keep healthy body) and “Rei” (observe proper decorum). As in many Oriental philosophies, “mind and body” are important for a man’s whole well-being. Matsuriza Japanese Taiko Drummers build focus; develop a habit of caring for each other in teamwork; shape up by building physical strength; and communicate without words but through sounds and minds.

Music began with man banging an object like a drum. The discovery of different rhythms through the drum beat started the history of music. The history of Taiko goes back many centuries. It began in religious ceremonies in shrines and changed throughout the years. Drums were used in festivals to pray for rain and by soldiers in battlefields. Since the ancient times, people expressed the sounds of nature, such as wind, water, fire and so on with taiko.

Matsuriza (a leading taiko group in Japan) migrated from Sukeroku-daiko and is influenced by leader Yoshihisa Ishikura of Kanto-abare-daiko. Playing traditional music, as well as self-composed arrangements, they performed in Walt Disney World and various countries for cultural events.

In 1983, Takemasa Ishikura started to perform as a member of Kanto-abare-daiko led by Yoshihisa Ishikura at the EPCOT Center Japan pavilion of Walt Disney World. In 1998, leader Yoshihisa returned to Japan to resume his team there. Takemasa Ishikura took the over the leadership and formed Matsuriza Japanese Traditional Taiko Drummers. Matsuriza continues to perform at EPCOT Japan pavilion every week.

Yuko Ishikura, one of drummers, also plays the shakuhachi, which is a Japanese end-blown flute that is traditionally made of bamboo, as an intro to some of their musical arrangements. It is an interesting musical contrast before the percussive drums.

Mobile International Festival is fortunate to have Takemasa Ishikura and Matsuriza Japanese Traditional Taiko Drummers perform since 1997. MIF is proud to be the only venue where they perform in Lower Alabama. They have a following of fans who attend the festival just to see them perform. Matsuriza drummers have fascinated children and adults alike with their precision, discipline, expertise, professionalism and showmanship when they perform. After their performance, they share with the public the historical background of taiko, Matsuriza and shakuhachi.

Experience Japan and its culture. Come and see Matsuriza Japanese Traditional Taiko Drumming at Mobile International Festival.

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