Yamato was founded by Masa Ogawa in 1993 in Nara, ‘the land of Yamato” which is said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. Presently based in Asuka Village, Nara Prefecture, Yamato travels all over the word with Japan’s traditional Wadaiko drums, putting its very souls into the unusual instruments, whose sound stirs the hearts of people everywhere.
In the village of Asuka, a place with more than a thousand years of history and culture, Yamato seeks new expression with Wadaiko as its backbone. They think of the sound of the drums – made of animal skin and ancient trees, some of which are more than 400 years old – as a pulse or heartbeat (Shin-on), the center of life and the source of power which pulsates within the human body. Like the strong and sturdy heartbeats of a lonely runner with a sleek and powerful body, Yamato attempts to create the energy of life, which envelops the audience and performers. What one feels when surrounded by the sound of Wadaiko, brought out by these highly trained performers, is what the Japanese call “Tamashy”, translated as soul, spirit, and psyche – the basic elements of life. It is something which is invisible and intangible but whose existence is certainly felt. The pulse, carried down from antiquity, will resonate within all the bodies gathered at any given performance.
“Go anywhere if invited and make the world a little more happy” is the group’s motto. With 150-200 performances a year worldwide, Yamato takes their motto very seriously.
From “Yamato-no-kuni” to the World.
And from the world to “Yamato-no-kuni” again.
We continue our journey.
2015-2016 World Tour
“BAKUON” – Legend of the Heartbeat
The theme of our new program is “the story of a strong, passionate, and continuous beat.” The story is based on the sound of the heartbeat in every one of us. This sound of the heartbeat is continuous, from our birth & growth to our day-to-day existence. Above all, we who carry this sound are the protagonists in this story of today, which is but a brief moment in the endlessness of time. In all that exists between the blue sky and green earth, throughout all that is vividly visible in this world, our hearts are continuously beating. Although it may be quiet, it is a strong pulse. Inspired by this sound, we weave this beat into our story – the story of Yamato. Each beat from the taiko drums in Yamato represents who we are. It is our history, a life’s story of sweat and tears, and the endless memories recorded in the sound of every person’s heart who is gathered here. Alas, though our place in this vast storyline may appear insignificant, we still endeavor to inscribe a new page into the story!
2017-2018 World Tour
“Chousensha” - The Challengers
YAMATO challenges the possibilities of Taiko drumming.
We continue challenging ourselves to achieve our potential.
The members of YAMATO are always the Challengers.
With us, you will also be a challenger at every moment.
People challenge themselves every day.
Under the sky, on the ground,
They keep moving forwards with hope and dreams in their hearts.
Sometimes, they are alone. Sometimes, they are hand in hand with someone.
In pouring rain, in approaching darkness,
We gather all our courage and challenge our unpredictable lives.
Eventually the sun rises in the distant cloudless sky.
The beat of our hearts in our bodies faces the sunrise.
Our continuous challenge.
The source of our energy.
Feel the uninterrupted vibration of the beat throughout our bodies.
We will never lose. __________________________________________________________________________
Since its formation in 1993, the high-energy taiko drum troupe “YAMATO” has made over 3500 performances in 53 countries. Having travelled the world with traditional Japanese taiko drums to share our energy to 6 million people, the latest program is titled “The Challengers.”
Since the group’s inception, YAMATO has pursued the possibilities of the traditional Japanese taiko drum. While paying respect to its rich history, YAMATO has been bringing new life to contemporary taiko drumming.
When the performance group YAMATO was formed unexpectedly, we lacked the traditional structure like other Japanese taiko drum groups. For that reason, it became essential for us to create something new, and that action was a challenge.
Together we ate, slept, and strengthened our bodies and souls, we dedicated all our strength in playing the taiko drums day after day. We, the young expressionists of YAMATO, struggled in the realm between tradition and innovation. Honestly, it was unavoidable to receive criticism because of our approach of using traditional instruments to create something new. What’s more, using every moment of our time in production was a difficult lifestyle and we always felt uncertain about the future. To cope with this uncertainty, we created our slogan, “We would travel wherever we are invited! To give energy to the world!” Then we travelled all over the world. Among our travels, the applause and cheers we received from those we met gave us the energy to step into the future, and overcome the numerous difficulties that stood before us.
Our newest program, The Challengers is created with the members’ feelings on their own lives and their experiences of challenging their own limits. Most of all, The Challengers offers an anthem for encouragement to all of you who were born in the same era and continue their own challenges.
In this program, we are making new attempts and that can be called challenges. Most notably, YAMATO will be wearing outfits designed by the international fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto who also produces his own shows that have grown into massive festivals. Despite we have been producing all our outfits up to this point, why have we teamed up with an international designer?
It is because we need to wear his outfit to feel his big energy woven into it. As we inherit his limitless spirit of challenge, we are able to refine our spirit even further and stimulate our challenging spirit.
This is a new challenge and a new step to YAMATO.
YAMATO will continue to challenge.
Just like everyone who challenges themselves at every moment.
We are all challengers.
Let us challenge together.