• Japan In Focus

Gifu’s wadaiko drummer vows to facilitate exchanges with U.S.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Wadaiko Japanese drum performer Takumi Kato, right, is seen with Nakatsugawa Mayor Setsuji Aoyama at the city hall in Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture, on July 1.

GIFU — Wadaiko Japanese drum performer Takumi Kato recently met with Setsuji Aoyama, the mayor of Nakatsugawa in Gifu Prefecture, to discuss his plans after relocating to the United States this fall. The 41-year-old musician serves as the prefecture’s Hida-Mino Goodwill Ambassador and hopes to facilitate international exchange between towns and cities in Japan and the United States.

Kato has been performing wadaiko drum concerts at Tokiwaza theater in Nakatsugawa every year since 2010 and assumed the position of the theater’s honorary director in August 2017. He has performed both in Japan and abroad, including at a banquet of the 2015 Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

“I realized [the importance of] peace while in the United States during the Sept. 11 attacks,” said Kato who plans to relocate to Ojai, Calif., on Oct. 4 with his wife and children. “I want to deepen cross-border friendship through my activities and Japanese culture, with the help of municipalities in Gifu that have exchange programs with the United States. I’d be happy if I could get involved in the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics as well,” he said.

“It’s great that your dream is coming true,” Aoyama said. “I have high hopes for your activities, conducted with a sense of purpose in a place where you can make a big leap forward.”