by Lea Regina Dulay and Lourhenz Igloria/UM Interns
THE YAMATO Drummers of Japan performed for the first time at Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School (PNJKIS) on June 13 in honor of the 120th anniversary of the Japanese Migration to the Philippines.
The audience was thrilled by the nearly two-hour performance that captured Japanese culture’s joyful, energetic, and intense spirit.
Masa Ogawa, Yamato’s artistic director, said they were glad to contribute to the propagation of the culture of Japan through their performances in the country. And as a symbol of their friendship, Yamato decided to give the taiko drums to PNJKIS.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t want to ask Ogawa-san about the donation kasi I can’t imagine pero Davao has a very special history and it’s a sad history, and Japan Foundation want to continue the relation[ship] so maybe Ogawa-san can’t imagine that kind of history and strong connections with Japan that’s why maybe he could decide about the donation,” said Ben Suzuki, director of the Japan Foundation Manila.
After their live performance, the eight taiko drums were donated in a turnover ceremony, continuing its legacy. They will embark on history with the friendship of Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Taiko drums are made from cow skin and are a rare instrument that can only be made and repaired in Japan.
Dr. Ines P. Mallari, school president of PNJKIS and Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku (MKD), was delighted and honored to hear that Yamato donated its 15-year-old taiko drums to their school. The group also hosted a workshop for the students who will be using these to perform at festivals and other events.
“We protect the Taiko also because that’s part of our connection with you, and this is part of the history that we are making now—as we also try to share the culture of Japan with [the] Davao community,” Mallari said.
Yamato has been showcasing its mixture of modern and traditional talents worldwide for 30 years. They have been in the Philippines several times in 2007 and performed in Manila and Cebu.
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