Shamisen / Taiko

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pubju
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Shamisen / Taiko

Post by pubju » Tue 10.09.2007 7:37 am

What do the japanese people think of gaijin playing these instruments in Japan?

Since they are so traditional and rooted in japanese culture, would the japanese people frown upon gaijins learning and playing these instruments, or is it encouraged (since it shows the gaijin taking an interest in japanese traditions)?

Igirisu_gaz
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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by Igirisu_gaz » Tue 10.09.2007 8:02 am

I'd be surprised anyone cares outside of maybe your friendly neighbourhood 右翼団体. I have a couple of friends who joined their local Taiko teams and were welcomed with open arms, I did shishimai one year and the locals were happy to have extras get involved. Depends on the people really. But you probably shouldn't care what those who frown upon you doing it think.
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jt
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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by jt » Tue 10.09.2007 8:11 am

pubju wrote:
Since they are so traditional and rooted in japanese culture, would the japanese people frown upon gaijins learning and playing these instruments, or is it encouraged (since it shows the gaijin taking an interest in japanese traditions)?


???

First of all, I don't think that "the Japanese people" is a monolithic entity that would have a singular opinion on the matter.

I imagine that the vast majority of individual Japanese people would see absolutely nothing wrong with a non-Japanese wanting to learn to play a traditional Japanese instrument.

Some people might have other opinions, but do you really want to concern yourself with what those sort of people think?
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Kagemaru
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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by Kagemaru » Tue 10.09.2007 9:41 am

If you're that worried you can always become a [url=http://topicscollector.blog55.fc2.com/blog-entry-1640.html]太鼓の鉄人.
[/url]

spin13
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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by spin13 » Tue 10.09.2007 10:19 am

I can't tell you a thing about what goes on in Japanese drum circles, but I am involved in traditional Japanese arts (kobudo, 古武道).

For the most part, my reception has been nothing but warm. Some of this, I'm sure, is tatemae (建前), but the people who count the most in my study and participation are genuinely glad that I show interest, dedication, and promise. In fact, sensei welcomes and enjoys the questions we foreigners seem so prone to ask; it often feels that if I were not to ask, no one would.

Slightly tangential, related perhaps more directly to the martial arts than all traditional arts, is a tidbit of conversation from the other night at the bar:

The younger [Japanese] generations are becoming less and less interesting in pursuing the older arts. In fact, sensei went as far as to call them soft -- not only uninterested in, but mostly now incapable of manifesting the seishin (精神) necessary for true transmission of the arts.

This wasn't an attack on all Japanese (hardly!) but he did go as far as saying that even many of those who "carry on the tradition" are but paying lip services -- one example being the overwhelming shift toward sport and competitive martial arts. Of course, to say that the general American public is any more fit to carry on the arts would be worse than foolish, but the tiny cross section of foreigners in Japan willing to involve themselves in the traditional martial arts have built themselves a reputation that has some Japanese wishing their own would do the same.

Me? I just like swinging swords.

-Eric

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hyperconjugated
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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by hyperconjugated » Tue 10.09.2007 11:05 am

spin13 wrote:
Of course, to say that the general American public is any more fit to carry on the arts would be worse than foolish, but the tiny cross section of foreigners in Japan willing to involve themselves in the traditional martial arts have built themselves a reputation that has some Japanese wishing their own would do the same.

Me? I just like swinging swords.

-Eric

I watched some time ago Karin Muller's
documentary about Japan. There was
interesting piece about a Japanese swordmaker
who had a Brazilian apprentice. He spent
the first year just learning how to correctly
light up/use the wood-fired oven. I think he
was quite involved in the scene and well accepted.
Irgendwann fällt jede Mauer

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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by two_heads_talking » Tue 10.09.2007 12:29 pm

I am sure there will be cases where certain taiko playing groups would not want outsiders in the group. Now, those outsiders could be as simple as anyone outside their family, group, city, prefecture, and even sex. I have seen some all female taiko groups that can really tap out a beat. I am also sure that there are just as many groups that are looking for "great" players and are only worried about how good someone is (similar to replacing a lead singer in a band). There are also groups that don't care what your level of ability is but what your level of dedication is.

As you can see, for each situation there is a seperate and unique condition. As TJ mentions, it's hard to say how each group will react without you interacting with them. good luck either way.

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pubju
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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by pubju » Tue 10.09.2007 1:17 pm

Well I really love listening to these traditional japanese instruments, and I might be interested in learning to play one of them in the future - but I was worried that people might dislike a gaijin partaking in japanese traditions

I asked what the 'japanese people' thought, because I wanted to hear the general public opinion on the subject. I mean, there are sure to be Japanese people who absolutely HATE foreigners completely and would feel offended if one even dreamt of touching an instrument, and there will be those who accept us with open arms! It's the same with everything.

Thanks for the replies!
Last edited by pubju on Tue 10.09.2007 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by AJBryant » Tue 10.09.2007 9:47 pm

I studied -- but never really learned -- taiko, koto, and shakuhachi.

If a Japanese can learn to play the piano or guitar (or even bagpipes, as I've seen), why shouldn't us gai-folk learn how to play traditionally Japanese instruments?


Tony

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RE: Shamisen / Taiko

Post by two_heads_talking » Wed 10.10.2007 9:09 am

I loved "banging" on the taiko. But to talk to those who practice, it's an artform, a workout, and almost in the same spirit as a martial art. I still remember how sore I was the next day after just "messing" around with the drums and trying to mimic what the "pros" were doing.

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