South Western Times - - Front Page - Emily Ace

HAD Gen Hi­daka re­ceived a dif­fer­ent present for his birth­day in 2006, his life would be wildly dif­fer­ent.

Study­ing busi­ness man­age­ment at col­lege in Canada, Hi­daka ac­com­pa­nied his friend to Switzerland to visit fam­ily dur­ing sum­mer va­ca­tion.

Dur­ing this visit he was gifted a ticket to the Yam­ato show, which would soon change his destiny.

“At that time I had no idea about taiko drumming or no idea about Yam­ato it­self, so to be hon­est I was not that in­ter­ested,” Hi­daka laughed.

“But of course I went there and I saw the show and was so im­pressed by what I saw – I was just blown away.

“Right after that I felt like I wanted to join Yam­ato, so this was the be­gin­ning.”

De­spite hav­ing no ex­pe­ri­ence in drumming or mu­sic in gen­eral, he fol­lowed through with his new dream.

“My mum was sur­prised when I told her I wanted to join Yam­ato, she was like ‘what are you think­ing? You are study­ing busi­ness man­age­ment and all of a sud­den you want to per­form on stage?’ and she didn’t un­der­stand,” he laughed.

“Now after she saw the per­for­mance and me per­form­ing on stage she now un­der­stands what I do and is happy about it.”

After per­form­ing to six mil­lion peo­ple across 54 coun­tries since 1993, Yam­ato: Drum­mers of Ja­pan will make its de­but in Aus­tralia, vis­it­ing the Bun­bury Re­gional En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre on Oc­to­ber 2.

Yam­ato is de­scribed as the “epit­ome of the Ja­panese spirit” as it brings new life to the tra­di­tional Ja­panese taiko and wadaiko drums by pay­ing re­spect to its rich his­tory while ex­plor­ing con­tem­po­rary drumming styles.

Be­gin­ning with the boom of a taiko drum made from a big 400-year-old tree, per­form­ers move their en­tire bod­ies to strike the drum in a dis­play of re­mark­able phys­i­cal strength and in­fec­tious en­ergy.

“We have done many tours in many coun­tries, how­ever it is the first time we will do the tour in Aus­tralia and of course the first time we are com­ing to Bun­bury so we are re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,” he said.

“This time we come with the pro­gram called ‘chal­lengers’.

“We have no idea what we can ex­pect so it’s go­ing to be our chal­lenge and we want to try to cre­ate a big ex­plo­sion of en­ergy on stage so that peo­ple can feel the en­ergy from the drumming and also from the show it­self.”

Hi­daka said the show was full of “en­ergy and ex­pres­sion” and is some­thing which must be ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand.

“Some peo­ple might think taiko drumming is mu­sic, but it is more like a sport or mar­tial art – so we sweat a lot,” he laughed.

“We con­sider that the taiko sound, you can never ex­pe­ri­ence it from a video or CD, if you come to see our show you feel the vi­bra­tion through your stom­ach and through your body it­self.”

Some peo­ple might think taiko drumming is mu­sic, but it is more like a sport or mar­tial art – so we sweat a lot.

– Gen Hi­daka

Gen Hi­daka and his group Yam­ato: Drum­mers of Ja­pan will have au­di­ence’s hearts rac­ing with their high-oc­tane show as they travel to Aus­tralia for the first time.

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