Japanese spirit felt through drum beats
EVERY time Gen Hidaka performs, he said he sweats off about 2kg in weight.
The drummer is part of a Japanese group called Yamato, which is heading to Bundaberg next month for its first "high-intensity” Australian performance.
The group has performed in 53 countries around the world since 1993, reaching more than six million people, making them the most prolific Japanese performing art group to tour internationally.
Yamato the Drummers of Japan brings new life to the traditional Japanese taiko and wadaiko drums by paying respect to its rich history and exploring contemporary drumming styles.
But it isn't all about the music, according to Gen.
Beginning with the boom of a taiko drum made from a large 400-year-old tree, performers move their whole bodies to strike the drum with a powerful surge of energy that uplifts audiences in sync with the rhythm and intensity.
"We play music however we consider ourselves to be more of a boxer,” Gen said.
"After every show we lose weight because of how hard we work on stage.
"It is more about the physical side of things.”
Gen first joined the group 10 years ago, aged 24, when his friend bought tickets to see a Yamato performance in Switzerland.
"I was actually a college student studying business management at the time,” he said.
"I had no idea about Yamato, I just wasn't really interested.
"But I went along to the theatre and afterwards I felt so impressed, I was blown away.”
Gen said the performance left such an impression that he decided to give up his current college path to join Yamato.
"They accepted me straight away so I began my training,” he said.
"I had to do a lot of weights and running and then my first show was two months later on stage in London.”
Gen has since spent all of his time with Yamato, living and training with the group in Asuka, a Japanese village.
The village is known as the birthplace of Japanese culture.
Yamato create everything themselves, including the musical compositions, lighting design, choreography, performance techniques, makeup, and props such as the bachi (sticks) used in performances.
Gen said Bundaberg audiences could expect a full-on performance when the group visits next week.
"There will be big energy on stage that will leave audiences very excited.”
When: Friday, September 8 from 7.30pm
Where: Moncrieff Entertainment Centre
Tickets: Cost $55 for adults, $45 for children moncrieff-bundaberg.com.au