Keeping the Japanese beat

The heart is a recurring theme in Yamato’s tours.

December 11, 2016 21:55
1 minute read.

Yamato drum troop.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Get ready to experience a stunning display of drumming athleticism and artistry as the Yamato Drummers of Japan return to Israel to perform two concerts. The 17-piece ensemble makes contemporary music filled with the fierce, ancient sound of Japanese taiko drums that were traditionally played at sacred Shinto ceremonies and to spur soldiers to battle. Yamato uses more than 20 drums ranging in size from the size of a plate to the huge barrel-like odaiko drum, over a meter in diameter, hewn from a single tree over 400 years old.

Yamato was founded by Masa Ogawa, who still directs the group, in 1993 in Nara Prefecture, considered the birthplace of Japanese culture. They made their international debut at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where their frenetic performance earned them the Spirit of the Fringe award. Since then, they have been invited to 53 countries around the world, playing in more than 3,000 performances, and attracting 6 million viewers.

The heart is a recurring theme in Yamato’s tours. Their 2008 show was called Shin-on, which translates to “heartbeat,” while the most recent spectacle, Bakuon, is subtitled The Legend of the Heartbeat.

Yamato will be performing tonight (8:30 p.m.) at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv and at the Beersheba Performing Arts Center on December 14. For tickets visit

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