Taiko Books and Videos

Taiko for Schools. Volume One: Fundamentals

Working with teachers in North Devon, Jonathan Kirby has created a new set of “bite-size” materials designed for teachers in primary and secondary schools who want to start teaching taiko, or who are already doing so and want support materials that they can use quickly and easily themselves, or make accessible directly to their students.
Taiko for Schools was commissioned by Devon Music Education Hub, Taiko Outreach Programme, working in partnership with Kagemusha Taiko.


The content of Taiko for Schools can be explored by looking at the list of online videos which can be found here. The videos are password-protected, for use by purchasers of this book.
Intended for primary and secondary schoolteachers in the UK, the printed book is available for purchase through PayPal, price £25 GBP, including postage. For Europe and the rest of the world, the price is £30 GBP, including postage.

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The Way of the Drum – Taiko without Borders       

Taiko drumming is rapidly gaining in popularity around the world.

An exciting, exhilarating style of ensemble drumming created in Japan in the 1950s, taiko gathered momentum in subsequent decades in Japan and then in North America, and more recently in Europe, Australia and South America.

This book traces the development of one of the first groups in the UK, and the work done by that group to build nationwide engagement with taiko on the basis of its social and educational benefits as well as artistic expression and simple enjoyment. It also tracks the broader development of taiko in the UK and Europe through a focus on events such as the UK Taiko Festival and the European Taiko Conference.

In this ground-breaking account, Jonathan Kirby explores important questions about how we adopt and adapt art-forms from other cultures and remain authentic and honest. He shares lessons learned and expertise acquired over 20 years as a taiko professional in the UK, and sets out a bold and compelling vision for taiko in future – taiko without borders.

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Praise for “The Way of the Drum – Taiko without Borders”:

  • “This book tells an extraordinary story… The only thing I find more astonishing than Kirby’s sheer boldness in founding Kagemusha Taiko is the achievement of sustaining it.” Click here to read the full review by Peter Thomson, Emeritus Professor of Drama, University of Exeter.

  • “Though ostensibly a book about taiko drumming, itself a fascinating subject, Jonathan’s book is a compelling read in many other ways. By jettisoning a successful corporate career to pursue a personal passion, it is a tale of sacrifice, relentless dedication and investment in the things that really matter in this life, fostering lifelong relationships and friendship.” Dr Julian Neal.

  • “Each chapter is a textbook in and of itself, providing a glimpse into what is required to help taiko grow at a local, national, and international level. It tells stories and offers perspectives that haven’t really been discussed on a large scale, from how to grow a market for taiko performance, to the challenges that come with such an endeavour, to the philosophical challenges that one encounters during this process. Jonathan’s dedication to taiko education shines in this book, and I truly hope that as many people as possible read this – it’s an essential contribution to the taiko community.” Ben Pachter, TaikoSource

  • “This is a compelling guide to establishing a taiko presence in the UK and Europe. Without appearing to be a handbook, it succeeds by intertwining honest experience with practical business principles and does so while avoiding the turgid, anodyne prose of many business management handbooks. Put another way, it is very readable which is why I managed to read it over two uninterrupted sessions in a day.”

  • “This is a remarkable and compelling tale of instinctive drive overcoming huge challenges and has left me emotionally drained. I was struck by the book’s honesty and modesty as well as the author’s determination to further the development of taiko in the UK by putting the happiness and wellbeing of others before all else.”

  • “I felt very privileged and moved, at the beginning of my Taiko journey to hold this book in my hands. I’m thinking a lot these days about where I am going with taiko and with my life in general, so the book is already proving to be invaluable.”

  • “Thank you for this book. It is truly inspiring. Thank you for your honesty throughout the book, not only as you open yourself to the reader as you discuss your experiences, but also as you look back upon the last twenty years and reflect on what has and has not worked. This certainly felt like a very personal book, and it was a honour to be able to read it. I’m hoping to take the lessons you presented in this book and apply them to my own life – not just in terms of taiko, but also in a broader approach to organizational management and outreach.”

  • “Thank you so very much for documenting your work in a very enjoyable story. It resonates a lot with me – I am finding it beautiful, moving and very inspiring, and I know it is already making a difference in me.”

Watch the Video:

“What is taiko? Taiko is a vehicle for teaching everything that is important in life.”