College of Liberal Arts
BA in History
Taiko drumming has been a Japanese cultural art form from as early as the fifth century. A taiko "boom" in which ensemble groups gained popularity took off in Japan post-WWII, and in the United States during the late 1960s-early 1970s amid the Asian American Civil Rights Movement. In discussing the historical experiences of the burakumin outcastes of Japan and Japanese Americans, this paper explores how taiko has been used as a form of social activism for these marginalized groups, and how this cultural reclamation facilitates the process of developing self-identity.