Our recent performance brings back memories of our 2014 trip to Japan

2014 Okaya Taiko Matsuri

A Trip Down Memory Lane

It’s graduation season, and this month we had the opportunity to participate in Webster University’s commencement at the iconic Muny theatre in Forest Park. The stage renovations were completed just in time for the event, and we got to be among the first performers on the new stage!

It was a chilly and rainy morning, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the new graduates and their families as they filled the seats at the outdoor venue. The rain continued throughout the ceremony, threatening our performance because even a small amount of water can damage the drums.Fortunately we were able to squeeze our small group under the tent’s protective cover so we could perform as planned.

Backstage at the MunyLeft: Helena covers the oodaiko to protect from the rain before we move to the stage.

The rainy event brought back memories of our 2014 trip to Japan, when we played at the Okaya Taiko Matsuri in the rain. Hundreds of drummers were gathered for this yearly event, and when the rain started just minutes before the performance, the drummers covered their equipment with waterproof covering and played anyway. We had never experienced anything like it!

Performing in the rain


Congratulations, Natsuki!

Natsuki KobayashiWe're sad to be saying goodbye to performing member Natsuki Kobayashi this month. Natsuki has been performing with us since 2016 while pursuing her undergraduate degree at University of Missouri - St. Louis. In her short time with us, she's quickly become a key member of the group, playing both taiko and fue. Natsuki has completed her studies and will be returning to her hometown of Nakajo, Japan. Congratulations, Natsuki, we wish you safe return to Japan!

Song Profile: Otemoyan


"Otemoyan" is a traditional Japanese folk song, called a minyo, from Kumamoto prefecture. There are several opinions about the origin of this song: it could have been a love song sung by farmers or an improvisational sung by geisha. 

The piece tells the tale about a young maid who is in love with a man whose face is scarred from smallpox. They have just married, but she is worried about comments the townspeople might make about her husband's looks, so she hesitates to hold a public ceremony. Yet, while his face isn't considered attractive, the young woman is charmed by him.

Tomiko Carter

The song is frequently accompanied by a comedic dance, set in the pumpkin fields of Kasaga (now the site of Kumamoto Station). The Otemoyan souodori (dance parade) is showcased as part of an annual summer festival called Hino Kuni Matsuri in Kumamoto. Our arrangement of the dance was taught to us by Tomiko Carter of the Gaku Group, a traditional Japanese ensemble located in St. Louis. Tomiko (pictured above) has also performed Otemoyan with us, most recently at the 2018 Japanese Festival. 

Upcoming Performances

We will be returning for two popular annual events next month! We hope to see you there!

Shakespeare Festival Green Show
Saturday, June 1 - 6:30 PM
Shakespeare Glen - Forest Park

Gateway Dragonboat Festival
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Creve Coeur Lake Park - Sailboat Cove
We are a non-profit group that performs the art of taiko around the St. Louis area and the world.
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10734 Trenton Ave. | St. Louis, MO 63132
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St. Louis Osuwa Taiko · 10734 Trenton Ave. · St. Louis, MO 63132 · USA

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