Taiko terms

BACHI: Drumstick


CHANCHIKI: A small metal bowl struck with a deer-horn mallet used as a rhythm instrument.

CHAPPA: Small cymbals

CHU-DAIKO: Medium sized taiko

DOJO: Practice hall or studio

FUCHI: The edge of the drum where the skin of the head is stretched over the rim of the body.

FUE: Bamboo flute

FUSHICHO: Not Dead Bird. Phoenix.

GAMBATE: “Best of luck to you” (Teacher watching students play)

GAMBARI MASHO: “Best of luck to all of us!” (Teacher playing with students)

GOMEN NASAI: I am so sorry.

HAPI: Short sleeveless jacket

HAI: Yes

HIRA-DAIKO or HIRADO: A wide drum with a shallow body, often played up like a gong or very large ones are played down with very large bachi.

ISHONI: All together


KAKEGOI: Shouts of tradition, timing or enthusiasm

KAN: The handle on the side of a drum.

KATA: Form. The precise positioning of the body. May also mean a predefined movement or exercise.

KIAI: Shout of spirit

KODO: The most widely known professional Taiko group in the world.

KUCHISHOKA/GA: Onomatopoeic verbalization of beats used as a method of learning without having to use the body or make loud noises. DON = single beat, DOKO, DOGO or DORO = two beats, SU = a rest of silence, TSU = soft beat, TSUKU = two soft beats e.g. DON-tsuku. KA = a tap on the FUCHI, KARA = two beats e.g. Edo Matsuri begins “DON DON DON, KARA KA KA”

MA: Space. The silence between beats.

MATANE: Goodbye/Good evening “See you later”

MITSU-DOMOE: The interlocking “three teardrop” mandala often used to represent the spirit of taiko. Usually painted in black on white.

MOKU-GYO: A hollow wooden skull-sized percussion instrument.

NAGADO-DAIKO: Long-bodied taiko. A taiko whose body is made of a single piece of wood.

OBI: Sash or belt

O-DAIKO: Most honourable great drum. The biggest or most precious drum present. More generally an “up” drum as opposed to a “down” drum.

OHAIO GOZAIMAS: A wish for a good beginning and success in the next period of time. Usually used as “Good morning” in Japan, but always used for first greeting others in the dojo at any time of day.

OKEDO-DAIKO: Drum constructed of staves and tensioned with ropes. May be carried at the hip, used on a down stand or as an economical O-daiko.

OYASUMI NASSAI: “I’m going to bed” but apparently often used by performing artists at any time when parting. De rigeur when leaving the Emeryville Taiko dojo!

RENSHU: Practice. Every taiko group has its own practice song called Renshu. They are not all the same!

SAIGO: Last repetition.

SENSEI: Teacher

SHIME-DAIKO: Small, heavy, high-pitched taiko. Literally a tied drum tensioned by ropes. Thus okedo daiko are also technically shime daiko.

SORE(soh-reh): A common KAKEGOI often meaning “again”.

TABI: Split-toed sock or foot-glove with or without reinforcement of the sole.

TAIKO: Great drum


UCHIWA-DAIKO: Fan drum held in one hand.

WADAIKO: The art of playing Taiko

YOI SAR: A kakegoi. Used by sailors/fishermen as “Heave-ho”