“A Day in the Life” with Japanese Taiko drummer Masa Ogawa

My husband, Masa Ogawa, is the founder of Yamato. He was born in Osaka in 1967 and grew up in big family with two brothers and a sister. He has the kind of special talent for drawing people into his circle. He had an interest in baseball, guitar, cycling and drawing animation at a young age and was an art student in the university, learning graphic design. This is where I met him.

There was just something different about him from anyone else I had ever met. He expressed an atmosphere of freedom and was always the traveler. Masa could always finish any task in a minute, and I was always jealous of that ease and intelligence. After university, he was ready to go new places, meet new people and learn new things. That curiosity and experience has had a profound influence on his life and creativity.

Masa is most proud of his work as the producer of YAMATO, the Drummers of Japan. He composes all the music, choreographs the drummers’ movement and even gets involved in lighting design, sound design and costume design. Masa creates a new program every two years which always impresses me as I know it is intense, hard work, but he always put his very best energy into everything he does, and the results are astonishing. As his family, we are so pleased to be with him and to be a part of his audience.

– Written by Masa’s wife Chisako Ogawa

I like to play the guitar. Sometimes I play guitar with my son.
I like to play the guitar. Sometimes I play guitar with my son.
Masa Ogawa - The New Year's day of 2020 at the shrine where YAMATO was born in 1993
The New Year’s day of 2020 at the shrine where YAMATO was born in 1993
Masa Ogawa - Teach Taiko drumming in the kindergarten.
Teach Taiko drumming in the kindergarten.
Took pictures of Taiko under the cherry blossom in Asuka. Asuka is one of the good place to see cherry blossom in Spring.
Took pictures of Taiko under the cherry blossom in Asuka. Asuka is one of the good place to see cherry blossom in Spring.
Masa Ogawa - Drinking beer at somewhere on world tour.
Drinking beer at somewhere on world tour.
I climbed up Mt. Fuji with all of YAMATO members. It was so good experience for my life.
I climbed up Mt. Fuji with all of YAMATO members. It was so good experience for my life.
Masa Ogawa - YAMATO's Christmas party in our house in Asuka village.
YAMATO’s Christmas party in our house in Asuka village.
It's a photo of New Year's eve. Eating "Toshi-koshi-Soba" noodle at the loading dock in Hamburg. This noodle is special for Japanese.
It’s a photo of New Year’s eve. Eating “Toshi-koshi-Soba” noodle at the loading dock in Hamburg. This noodle is special for Japanese.

What ‘hood are you in?

I live in a small village called Asuka-mura in Nara Prefecture. Asuka-mura is believed to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. I feel the power from this place and get such energy from here.

What do you (Yamato) do?

We perform Japanese Taiko drumming all over the world.

We have given 4,000 performance in 54 countries over the last 26 years.

What are you currently working on?

We are currently on a 40-city tour of North America this winter and spring so I am busy with writing music, directing and choreographing the show.

Where can we find your work?

We recently performed YAMATO’s Taiko drumming on Friday, January 24th at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Find out more about Yamato’s history and where to see us at www.yamatodrummers.com.

2/8/2020       –       Rochester, NY          –          Nazareth College Arts Center

2/9/2020       –       Ithaca, NY           –             Bailey Hall at Cornell University

2/11/2020      –      Erie, PA             –              Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center

2/13/2020      –      Buffalo, NY          –           Buffalo State Performing Arts Center

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1939 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography