TAIKO LEGEND - Heart Beat from Japan

Japan Foundation presents taiko tour by Eitetsu Hayashi, a pioneer of solo taiko performance, in celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and 4 GCC countries; Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain.

Hiroshima-born Eitetsu Hayashi is one of the legendary taiko drummers. His career started as a founding member and principal performer of internationally renowned taiko groups Sado-Ondekoza and Kodo, and began his solo activities in 1982.

Hayashi has originated a unique and emotive o-daiko(big drum) solo style and created the new horizon of taiko performance beyond the traditional styles. His technique, physical stamina and expressive range have enabled to make innovative fusions with various music spectra; from classical, jazz, rock, modern music and world music to dance.

In 1984, Hayashi made his debut with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, as the first-ever solo taiko performer. Since then, he has been touring around the world, collaborating with variety of great artists including world's top orchestras. He has garnered distinguished reviews and the highest acclaims as one and only taiko soloist in contemporary music scene.

On this tour, Hayashi will present stunning and explosive performances as well as the lecture and demonstration for young students in Oman, that will provide the meaningful opportunity to open the future cultural exchange. The performance in Bahrain will take place as part of the annual international arts festival “Spring of Culture”in Manama where has been appointed as “Arab Capital of Culture 2012” by the UNESCO and the Arab League.

Accompanied by his accomplished taiko ensemble EITETSU FU-UN no KAI and shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) master Makoto Takei, Hayashi will premiere his charismatic performance the Middle East!

“Each beat of the drum has to go deep. It has to arouse in the audience a boundless feeling, stretching back through time. What I am pursuing is a sound that embodies Nature, one that is both awe-inspiring yet serene” — Eitetsu Hayashi

Performance Date: February 22 (Wed.) to March 10 (Set.)

Qatar (Doha)

Dete: Performance① Wed 22 Feb 20:00~21:30
Performance② Thu 23 Feb 20:00~21:30

Venue: Katara Cultural Village, Drama Theater

Co-organizer/Sponsor: Embassy of Japan in Qatar, Katara Cultural Village

UAE (Abu Dhabi)

Dete: Performance③ Sun 26 Feb 20:00~21:30

Venue: National Theater, Abu Dhabi

Co-organized by: Embassy of Japan in UAE, Japanese Community Abu Dhabi
Supported by: Under the Patronage of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE

UAE (Dubai)

Dete: Performance④ Wed 29 Feb 20:00~21:30

Venue: The Cultural & Scientific Association

Co-organized by:Embassy of Japan in UAE
the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture)
Supported by: Consulate General of Japan in Dubai, Under the Patronage of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE

Oman (Muscat)

Dete: Lecture&Demonstration / Sat 3 Mar 12:00~13:30 (tbd) (for music students)

Venue: Sultan Qaboos University

Co-organizer/Sponsor: Embassy of Japan in Oman, Sultan Qaboos University

Dete: Performance⑤ Sun 4 Mar 20:00~21:30(tbd)

Venue: Sultan Qaboos University

Co-organizer/Sponsor: Embassy of Japan in Oman, Sultan Qaboos University

Dete: Performance⑥ Tue 6 Mar 19:30~21:00

Venue: Royal Opera House Muscat

Co-organizer/Sponsor: Embassy of Japan in Oman, Royal Opera House Muscat

Bahrain (Manama)

Dete: Performance⑦ Fri 9 Mar 20:00~21:00
Performance⑧ Sat 10 Mar 20:00~21:00

Venue: Bahrain Cultural Hall (as part of Spring of Culture Festival)

Co-organizer/Sponsor: Embassy of Japan in Bahrain, Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Bahrain

Check the short movie of stunning perfomrance by Eitetsu Hayashi&FU-UN no KAI!

Official Website

Performing Arts Network Japan: Artist Interview by Eitetsu Hayashi Official Website


Eitetsu Hayashi (Solo Taiko Drummer)

Official Website

Photo of Eitetsu Hayashi Hiroshima-born, he started his Taiko carrier as a founding member and premier performer of the world-renowned groups "SADO-ONDEKOZA" and "KODO". After leading these companies for eleven years, Hayashi became independent in 1982.

As the first Wadaiko soloist of his kind, Hayashi created a new method of soloing "O-Daiko" performance requiring techniques and physical stamina previously unknown in traditional Japanese "Wadaiko" playing. Using a unique combination of "Wadaiko" drums, he created and performed original music, and as a pioneer of a countless succession of entirely new experimental musical endeavors, he created and performed his works in numerous concerts at home in Japan and abroad.

In 1984 Hayashi made his Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra, no less than debuting a new musical genre in the West. Since that time, he has continuously performed throughout Japan and the world, including North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has performed and collaborated with artists in Jazz, Rock, World Music, Classical, Dance and Butoh, ranging from Djembe percussionist, Mamady Keita to avant-garde pianist, Yosuke Yamashita.
In recent years, Hayashi has increasingly played as a soloist with the world's top orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa (1976, 1999) and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano (2000).

The latter performance, held at Waldbune in Berlin, was attended by an audience of more than 20,000, erupting to a standing ovation that was broadcast around the world.
In the 20th anniversary year of his work as a solo performer, Hayashi gave a U.S. tour “The Wings of Flightless Birds 2002,” to a great acclaim.

Hayashi also has produced artistic events in Japan and has composed music for movies, plays, and other Taiko groups under his instruction. He has published not only music but also many essays and a very successful book entitled "To the Taiko Players of Tomorrow (Ashita no Taiko-uchi e)".
Hayashi's artistic activities and contributions have been so highly appreciated that he received the prestigious Japanese national cultural award, "The 47th Ministry of Education Award" in the Popular Entertainment Division in 1997, and received "the 8th Award for Promotion of Traditional Japanese Culture (Japan Arts Foundation)" in 2001. He has been a guest professor of Senzoku Gakuen College of Music since 2004, and special lecture for Tokyo University of the Arts since 2005. 2011 was the 40th anniversary of Hayashi's performing activities.

Makoto Takei

(shakuhachi/Japanese bamboo flutist)

Official Website

Photo of Makoto Takei Joined one of the leading Japanese traditional music group “Pro Musica Nipponia” in 1978, Makoto Takei took part in numerous domestic and overseas concerts as a shakuhachi and Japanese flute player including performance with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Chinese National Orchestra. He also took part in recordings by Yo-Yo Ma. He has been a member of Eitetsu Hayashi's group since 1989. He has also joined Japanese percussionist Kiyohiko Senba’s Asian Fantasy Orchestra tour in South East Asia.

Besides individual activities, he has formed two of his own groups: Touhouibun (literally meant “A Strange Story from The Far East) and Souhonzan. Touhouibun was formed in 2000 as a trio with Akira Horikoshi on drums, and Kumiko Shuto on Satuma Biwa(four-stringed Japanese lute) and later on joined by Hiroshi Yoshino on double bass and Akihito Obama on shakuhchi. The group aims to fuse song, dance and musical performance as a composite art form. Notable collaboration artists include Yosuke Yamashita (Pf), Aska Kaneko (Vl), Takio Ito (Vo), Jun Fukamachi (Key), Yu Kasugano (Noh dancer) to name a few. Another group Sohouhonzon was formed in 1998. Members include Mikako Mihashi (Vo), Tatsuo Kondo (Key), Masahiro Uemura (Ds), Yuji Katsui (Vn), and Makoto Takei (flute/shakuhachi). Based in Tokyo, groups are attempting to break through barriers with traditional Japanese instruments, accompanied by western instruments. Since 2010, Takei has been a lecturer of flute in contemporary work at Tokyo University of the Arts.

【FU-UN no KAI】
Photo of FU-UN no KAI This unit is made up by the top young taiko drummers active in Japan who resonate with Eitetsu Hayashi's music. It has a fluid membership of 10 or more drummers. In addition to performing in Hayashi's original composition which features the big taiko drum, the members join Hayashi, when he creates an ensemble. "FU-UN no KAI" in the Japanese refers to a favorable opportunity for a highly aspiring figure to achieve his goals. The phrase was put to use as the name of the unit because it reflects their spirits. Since they were founded in 1995, its overwhelming power and live performances have elicited strong responses in Japan and abroad. The summer of 2005 marked its 10th anniversary. Since that time, it has started full-fledged activities as an independent unit with Shuichiro Ueda, Hiroshi Hattori, Makoto Tashiro and Tasuku Tsuji as key members.

The unit delights the audience with and extraordinary taiko ensemble in various formats while exhibiting the individuality of each member. Inheriting Hayashi's aesthetic sense, the unit puts on a tight show with a good, grainy sound, tone sequences that flexibly combine the slow and fast, strong and weak, and polished sound landscapes.

FU-UN no KAI members

Shuichiro Ueda

Official Website

Photo of Shuichiro Ueda Born in Hyogo, after the Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, he became a founding member of Matsumura-Gumi, a taiko group based in Kobe in which he was a core member for eight years. Then to develop his individual career, he has studied under Eitetsu Hayashi. As a member of Eitetsu FU-UN no KAI, he toured extensively in Japan and overseas with Hayashi.

Since 2008, he performed taiko with the Heisei Nakamura-za kabuki troupe in staging of Natsumatsuri naniwa kagami in Germany and Romania, at Cocoon Kabuki in Tokyo, and at Shinshu-Matsumoto Grand Kabuki in Nagano. In addition to the solo performances, he currently performs with a range of musicians including tsugaru shamisen player Shinichi Kinoshita, shakuhachi player Keisuke Doi, pianist Kensaku Tanikawa, pianist Kazuo Suzuki, saxophonist Masahiro Tamura, 25-string koto player Karin Nakagawa, and flutist Denjuro Tanaka. Collaborating with a variety of genres, he continues to pursue his own musical style.

Mikita Hase

Official Website

Photo of Mikita Hase Born in Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. Exposed to the art of taiko since he was young, he formed the Yo-soro, taiko duo in 2000. Since then, he has been seeking a personal style in music and stage performance from his Shizuoka home base. The group also trains amateur/ professional taiko-groups locally and worldwide. With his widely recognized musical achievements, Hase has been invited by some international tour. Having been learning the principle of art in taiko from Eitetsu Hayashi, he has been performing as a key figure of Eitetsu FU-UN no KAI. In his individual activity, he works with interested artists from variety of fields from traditional music to classic or jazz, and even ballet, theatre, he aims to create a new performing arts together.

Makoto Tashiro

Photo of Makoto Tashiro Born in Fukuoka. After the experience in his native Fukuoka, he has participated in Eitetsu FU-UN no KAI since 2004. Meantime, he has studied under Eitetsu Hayashi, Hitoshi Sakurai (Noh-hayashi taiko) and Tadashi Ogasawara(Kyogen-performance) in the national traineeship program by Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan. Having been learning under Hayashi, he is currently working as a soloist taiko player. In 2011, he has performed with the orchestra in Singapore. Having been inspired by Japanese tradition and folklore, he is fully energetic to explore the possibility of universal beauty of performance in contemporary context.

Tasuku Tsuji

Photo of Tasuku Tsuji Born in Fukuoka, he made up his mind to become a professional taiko player at the age of 14. Since his high school days, he was given the training of Kenshibu(art of Japanese swords) and taiko. He has been based in Kanto(around Tokyo) to have the mentorship of Hayashi since 2010. He has been working active as the youngest member of FU-UN no KAI.

Touring staff

  • Hitoshi Yoshiki (Technical supervisor)
  • Norihiko Shioya (Stage manager)
  • Yoshiyuki Matsui (Lighting)
  • Noriyuki Komatsu (Sound)
  • Jo Small (Stage/ Interpreter)
  • Michiyo Abe (Wardrobe)
  • Kenji Oba (Producer/General Manager)

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