【Creating harmony between the performing arts, artisans and the environment.】
The Echo-Logical Taiko project proposes an eco-conscious practice that enriches both the arts and the environment by creating sustainable instruments that connect people and nature.
Since ancient times, taiko has been played in festivals and traditional performing arts to show reverence for the natural world.
The Echo-Logical Taiko project seeks to return to its roots by creating instruments that represent these values.
Through the production of sustainable instruments, forest stewardship, and upholding of the traditions, we hope to contribute to a future where the richness of nature and culture intertwine and thrive.
【 Echo-Logical Taiko with Tokyo Chainsaws Co., Ltd.】
The first Echo-Logical Taiko was developed in partnership with Hinohara Village’s forestry company, Tokyo Chainsaws.
It is a little known fact that 40% of Tokyo’s total area is covered by forests. However, many parts are under-managed, resulting in the trees unable to grow in a healthy manner.
By expanding the production and use of the Echo-Logical Taiko, our hope is to create a more diverse and sustainable forest, increase their value as lumber, and thus improving the efficiency of the overall industry.
This is a new taiko drum by Miyamoto that plays earthy low pitches. Playing on the drum to "nurture" it brings out the lingering.
Tokyo Chainsaws Co., Ltd.
Founded in 2006 in Hinohara Village, Tokyo, the company aims to become a "small but mighty forestry business" by adding value to the wood by using up every part of a tree it harvests.
Instrument size: H53 cm × W53 cm × D48 cm
Size of box: H58 cm × W58 cm × D60 cm
Weight: instrument approx. 6 kg, total weight approx. 8 kg
Taiko drums are beaten vigorously, portable shrines are paraded through the streets, and shouts and Hayashi (musical accompaniment) echo loudly. Such a festival scene is a lively seasonal tradition. Miyamoto Unosuke Co., Ltd., established in 1861, has been supporting the festivals and traditional performing arts that Japanese people have inherited from generation to generation. The company manufacturers, sells, repairs, and rents beautiful and sturdy portable shrines and drums that produce deep tones, as well as Noh gagaku (traditional Japanese court music) instruments and ritual equipment.
“Festivals, which have the power to bring people together, and traditional performing arts, which are proudly presented to the world, are the unique culture that characterizes Japan. In today’s age of globalization, they are playing an increasingly important role.”
For this reason, President Yoshihiko Miyamoto says he is proud of his job of protecting and nurturing this culture and passing it on to future generations. The products are made by a group of craftsmen who pursue the highest quality.
The process of making taiko drums begins with the search for the best materials. The wood used to make the long-bodied drums is domestic wood that is over 100 years old. The wood is carefully dried for three to five years to prevent distortion, and then carefully finished with a hand plane. The leather is treated with a unique natural process. While stretching it with a mallet, the sound is checked and fine-tuned, then stretched over the body to produce a deep and elegant sound.
The making of portable shrines is the fruit of as many as 20 different kinds of specialized craftsmanship. In addition to woodworkers who create the framework of the portable shrine, the lacquerers who apply lacquer to the roof and base, the craftsmen who are in charge of the metal ornaments that decorate the various parts of the portable shrine, and the portable shrine craftsmen who oversee the entire process work in unison to painstakingly create the portable shrine. The “Shigeyoshi Miyamoto” sign attached to the completed portable shrine is said to be proof of the painstaking work of all the craftsmen.
In order to widely pass on the culture of the festival to future generations, in recent years the company has been actively involved in new initiatives. One such project is “HIBIKUS”, a taiko drum school, and “kaDON”, an online taiko drum lesson program for international audiences, to spread the appeal of taiko drums. Another project born out of the company’s commitment to “Made in Tokyo” is “Mori wo Tsukuru Taiko (Creating Forests with Taiko Drums).” This project aims to raise awareness of both the environment and manufacturing by having Tokyo artisans create drums using cedar wood from Tokyo, and then publicizing the process. A live performance of Japanese traditional instruments using these drums was held in March 2021, and was well received. The scope of festivals and traditional performing arts culture is steadily expanding.