Japanese Drums Wadaiko Performances in Iran: Marking the Start of Japan Culture Week

Japanese Drums Wadaiko Performances in Iran

The Japan Foundation will host performances by wadaiko drummer Ichitaro, shakuhachi player Seizan Matsuda and wadaiko drummer Tokuichi Tomita, to celebrate the opening of Japan Culture Week in Iran.

Ichitaro is an iconic Japanese wadaiko drummer who performed as a member of a wadaiko drumming troupe, Ondekoza for over 10 years, and continues performing both in Japan and abroad after debuting as a solo artist. With the current leader of Ondekoza, Seizan Matsuda joining on the shakuhachi, this small ensemble embodies the musical world of Ondekoza, which has recreated the traditional Japanese art of wadaiko drumming for the modern era. Collaboration with traditional Iranian music players is also planned.


Date Thursday, October 9, 2014 6:00 p.m.
Venue Niayaran Cultural Center (Tehran)
Address: Opposite Niyavaran Park, Pasdarn Ave., Tehran
Tel: +98-(0)21-22814223
Date Friday, October 10, 2014 6:30 p.m.
Venue Music Museum of Iran (Tehran)
Address: No. 9, Namazi Alley, Takhti T-junction,
Shahid Darbandi Street, Tajrish, Tehran
Tel: +98-(0)21-22231708 / (0)21-22672785

Organized by: The Japan Foundation, Embassy of Japan in Iran

Performer Profiles

Photo of Ichitaro (Wadaiko)

Ichitaro (Wadaiko)

In 1990, Ichitaro joined Ondekoza and studied under Tagayasu Den who was the founder of the group. He ran 15,000 kilometers around the United States between 1990 and 1993. During that period he performed over 500 concerts in major cities throughout the country, including four performances at Carnegie Hall in New York. Then he performed more than 2,000 stages as the main drummer of the group all over the world. In 2004 he left Ondekoza and made his debut as a solo drummer. In January 2010, he performed at the opening ceremony of Japan Year 2010 in Turkey, organized by the Japan Foundation, in Ankara, Turkey.  He also performed in other cities of Turkey as well as in Blida, Algeria, and earned high praise. From  February to Mach 2010, he was invited by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to perform in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In August 2013, he toured five cities in Switzerland with a New York based wadaiko group Taikoza. In November, he was invited by the Japan Foundation to perform in Republic of Malawi and Kenya, where he achieved success. He has been collaborating with not only Japanese traditional instrument players but also musicians of other musical genres, such as classical music, rock and jazz.

Photo of Seizan Matsuda (Shakuhachi)

Seizan Matsuda (Shakuhachi)

Matsuda took up the shakuhachi in 1969. He obtained a bachelor’s degree from Department of Traditional Japanese Music, the Tokyo University of the Arts, and went on his post-graduate study at the Graduate School of Music of the same university. He is now the leader of Ondekoza and also a board member of two NPOs: Bamboo Orchestra and Music&Rhythms. In 1992, he formed a group of shakuhachi players called Bamboo Orchestra, which became his main activity. In 1993, he joined Ondekoza and started performing worldwide. To date, he has done over 1,000 performances. In 2001, he became the head of the Ondekoza upon the passing of the founder Tagayasu Den. Since 2005, he has been performing with Ondekoza and Bamboo Orchestra, and besides them, he launched the Music&Rhythms (M&R) project, for which he organizes bamboo instrument making workshops for children and concerts all over the world. In April 2008, he produced a special concert on the occasion for Ondekoza’s 40th anniversary, which took place at the National Theater of Japan. The group performed in the United Arab Emirates, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Taiwan, Qatar, India, the Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia under his artistic direction. In 2012, Ondekoza took part in a concert at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, followed by a month-long, globe-spanning tour, organized by the Japan Foundation, in order to express Japan’s gratitude for the supports received from people across the globe after the Great East Japan Earthquake. In 2013, they continued performing abroad including a concert in Abu Dhabi, and increased their activities in contemporary art with the theme of natural symbiosis: they participated in the Setouchi Triennale and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale. In 2014, they went on a tour throughout Japan to celebrate the group’s 45th anniversary.

Photo of Tokuichi Tomita (Wadaiko)

Tokuichi Tomita (Wadaiko)

In 2003, Tokuichi Tomita performed at the 2nd Tokyo International Wadaiko Competition, as a member of the group, where they won the second place. In 2006, he moved to Nagano, which is in the central region of Japan, to do his activities: teaching and playing the wadaiko. In 2007, he was a member of the winning teams in both the 14th All-Japan Wadaiko Competition (Group Division) and the 6th Tokyo International Wadaiko Competition (Ensemble-Style Wadaiko General Division). Joining Ondekoza as a guest performer from 2007, he became a member of the current Ondekoza lineup in 2012. In addition to his performance, he has gained experiences in stage directing, lighting and sound design. This enables him to understand stage organizing.

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation
Europe, Middle East and Africa Section, Arts and Culture Department
Person in charge: Kitagawa (Ms.)
Tel: +81-(0)3-5369-6063
E-mail: Yoko_Kitagawa@jpf.go.jp
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