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The legend of "Hi no Taiko"


We have heard that Taiko (the Japanese drum) was introduced into Japan from continent of China in the Emperor Keitai's days. Emperor Keitai accomplished a grate task which he ruled over the Hokuriku. Keitai's castle was located on the hill in Mikuni in those days. He designed "Senjin-Daiko" (the front drum) for stirred up the officer in his army to raise the morale, and he beat it to frighten away hostility enemies. This is the way, there has been the history of the JapaneseTaiko in Mikuni since16th century.

IIn Mikuni, it established the original form of Mikuni drum that at present is preserved and accumulate a device and improvement to leave affair of a drum and be handed down to future generation long, even after the emperor advanced to central in Japan(Yamato region) since then. Whenever large merchant ship came from the whole country and entered to Mikuni harbor, merchant's youths of the harbor were sounding and beating the welcome drum to pray their's business prosperity.

The legend of "Hi no Taiko" dated back to over 300 years ago. When the Echizen premier was Tadanao Matsudaira(1595-1650), unfortunately Mikuni seashore was hit by a tremendous storm. The storm lasted for 60 days and nights. All ships could not be free to come and go the harbor, the townspeople who were most of fishermen had to stop the coast fishery. The caused great hardships on the town, and the people were nearly dying from hunger.
Minato Toimaru, who was the leader of Mikuni at that time, was worred about these problems of his town. He called all of the heads of the town's neighborhoods to talk solution to their problem over with them. At meeting, Mr.Toimaru said that the townspeople had to unite in their spirit to suppress such happen. He felt that this disaster was the God's anger of the sea . They thought that they managed to calm the God. Unanimously the townspeople decided to build the fire and beat the Taiko in the next morning. They built a blazing fire, and the young people of the town took turns beating the Taiko for three days and nights.

Then the storm passed, and the sea became calm down. The peace of previous days returned to them. Soon the fishermen began to go fishing again. But it was strange that the fishery had a run of good catch whenever they did after the happen.

This legend has been handed down to us by generations of story telling in Mikuni. After Mikuni Town set "Hi no Taiko" offering day as Jan 7. Today there is the event of the first of the year when young townspeople compete with playing the Taiko. The skill of "Hi no Taiko" was given the townspeople by the oral tradition still now.

The following five performances are the main body of the "Hi no Taiko".
( "Hi no Taiko" has been also used as general name of our public performances.) .
1.Tojinbo Aranami Midareuchi
2.MikuniMinato OfuneKangei KamenDaiko (give big ships welcome)
3.GokokuHoujyo Kuzuryu NagshiDaiko (for fertility five grains)
4.SyobaiHanjyo KiganDaiko (wish for business and prosperity)
5.Hi no Taiko
Quotation from "The legend of Hi no Taiko". Book

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