Art & Design

documentary film: "Angry Drummers: A Taiko Group from Osaka, Japan" (85mins)

18 February 2014, London

The Buraku community is Japan’s largest and ethnically indistinguishable minority. People from this community traditionally lived as outcasts in areas called buraku, and engaged in despised professions associated with death and killing, such as grave-digging, execution, tanning, and butchering. After many years of anti-discriminatory struggle, discrimination against Buraku people has become less blatant and direct, but is still widespread in areas such as employment and marriage.

Buraku communities are found mainly in western Japan. Osaka is one such place, where taiko drum-making has been an important means of subsistence for them.  This film documents the history and activities of a drumming group called Ikari (‘Anger’ or ‘Rage’) from Osaka City's Naniwa section, which has been a drum-making centre for over 300 years. Starting in the 1960s, taiko drumming groups sprang up all over Japan - yet for many years, the taiko craftsmen were the subject of discrimination. In 1987, a group of young people started playing taiko mainly for fun, but unexpected responses from the community elders triggered them to understand the history and experiences of their community and they began to use drumming as a means to achieve human rights agendas.

Inspired by Ikari’s success, taiko groups were established in many other Buraku communities in the larger Osaka area, providing them with a venue to affirm their Buraku identity with new awareness and cultural pride in their own history.  By cross-examining the motivations of individual members and the history of a region with a deeply sedimented memory of discrimination and prejudice, this film explores the potential for performing arts to play a massive part in minority groups’ struggle for human rights.

The film's creator, TERADA Yoshitaka of Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology, will answer questions after the film. (See 22 February events for a related film on music and minorities in Japan.)


free admission, no charge, no advance booking

18 February 2014, 7.00pm
Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS Main Building, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG


SOAS, University of London