In July of this year, we were made aware of a fundraising campaign on the website Kickstarter that really interested us — Don Doko Don: The Yamakiya Taiko Drum Club Project. It was created in June 2012 by Darryl Wharton-Rigby, a former ALT of Kawamata Town here in Fukushima, Japan on the JET program from 2005-2007.

The Yamakiya Taiko club is an award-winning taiko group comprised of students and young adults from the Yamakiya District of Kawamata. They have played shows all over Japan to high praise over the years due to their spirit and unique style, but after the March 11th Disaster they were forced to leave their hometown as the Yamakiya District was evacuated due to high levels of radiation. Despite their hardships, the group is determined to continue on as a group and perform together, and that determination earned them an invitation to play in the United States in April 2012 as a part of the TOMODACHI Initiative.

Since 2003, Darryl has shot a lot of footage of the club and through this Kickstarter campaign, sought the funds that would be necessary to create a documentary to tell the story of the Yamakiya Taiko Club. After hearing and reading more of their story, we felt compelled to make a donation to help out, and thanks to the generosity of many others, Darryl will have enough funding to produce this documentary. We wish Darryl good luck in creating this film, and we hope for the absolute best for the Yamakiya Taiko Club as they continue to bring the sound and spirit of Yamakiya to the world through their Taiko performances.

You can read more about the Yamakiya Taiko Drum Club on their Kickstarter page!

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