Sakura Gakuin Open Class with Yamato - Report & Photos

The entertainment site did an extensive review of the Sakura Gakuin Open Classes with YAMATO at the TFT Hall 500. The consecutive classes divided in 2 groups were about learning drums with YAMATO. Below Natalie's report and photos translated by our member Thomas Malone

Sakura Gakuin learning drums with YAMATO in the Open Classes

On January 31st Sakura Gakuin held one of their public class events at Tokyo's TFT Hall 500 entitled, “A class with the Yamato Drum school”.

The instructor for the first public class event of 2015 was the Wadaiko (Japanese drums) group, “Yamato” which was formed in 1993. Their base of operations is located in Asukamura, Nara Prefecture but for 6 to 10 months of the year they are performing in countries outside of Japan and have in fact already put on over 3,000 performances overseas.

The public class event this time was separated into 2 one-hour sessions with the members changing for each 1 hour class. The first hour was attended by Kikuchi Moa, Isono Rinon, Ooga Saki, Yamaide Aiko and Okada Megumi and the second hour was composed of Mizuno Yui, Taguchi Hana, Notsu Yunano, Shirai Saki and Kurashima Sara. In order to acquire as much of abilities as possible in this direct instruction in performing with Japanese drums the girls came dressed in T-shirts and jeans which differs from their usual attire of school uniforms. Also differing from the usual format, Mori -sensei, who usually stands separate from the class as he deals with the give and take between the students and the instructors, this time also joined in with the girls in studying playing the drums.

Before the class began, Kikuchi Moa who attended the first hour session said that she was really looking forward to the class because she has been playing the game “Taiko no Tatsujin” (Drum master) for a long time. But the other day she got beat when playing against Taguchi Hana and has lost her confidence. And because of this stated her intent of doing her best today to get back her confidence. The Fukei were really roused by Isono's new way of introducing herself-”I am!” “Rino---n!”. In the second hour, Taguchi announced with a spark in her eye that if she is to create a new club she would choose the Japanese drums and that she had been thinking of taking up the study of Japanese drums anyway and so was really looking forward to this class. And in the same manner of Kikuchi Moa who attended the 1st hour session she spoke of her objectives in the class as also having to do with “Taiko no Tatsujin”.

To begin the class, “Yamato” put on a performance serving as their initial greetings to attendees. Watching this overpowering and thrilling performance at such a close proximity the girls all expressed their excitement with comments such as, “Amazing!” and “My heart felt like it was going to burst”. Next “Yamato” led the girls through a part of the kind of training they do on regular basis. Everyone was shocked to learn just how hard their training is. One example being that “Yamato” members will swing a gigantic drum stick that weighs over 10 kilograms a thousand times in one day.

Isono and Notsu in their respective 1st and 2nd hour performances played the gigantic bass drum while the other members performed and practiced on the drums known as Miyadaiko. In order to incorporate the the rhythm of the drum beats into themselves the girls vocalized verbal chants as they played using a technique of alternating chants of, “Yo!”, “Seiya-!” and “Ha-!”. To conclude the 1st hour class “Yamato” and Mori-sensei put on a group performance. The members of Sakura Gakuin thrilled the audience with dynamic drum ensemble with their powerful beating of the drums.

At the end of the second hour at the request of Taguchi the members bet on the gigantic bass drum with the heavy drumstick while screaming out what is on their mind. After this Mizuno looked back on the day and reflected, “I think it is very Sakura Gakuin-ish that with each member doing their individual best we were able to create a unified performance”, bringing the class to a close.