Taiko Games 2009


Like taiko? Like games? Play taiko games!

It’s the next big thing! Read on for more information and video clips about these four, surprisingly fun, taiko-themed games!

Fun for all!

The following games were created as an offering to the taiko community at the 2009 Taiko Conference. Each provides its own set of challenges and is ridiculously fun! All four games are released under the Free Art License 1.3 which means you are free to play these games with your own taiko group, to modify them, and to share them with others. Play, practice, and help us create a pool of fun games on drums!

Batchi Count

Batchi count is a simple, surprisingly fun game for 2-4 players. All players hit the drum two times then put zero, one, or two hands in the air. The guesser shouts out a number and when correct, gets to do a short solo. Repeat with a new guesser!

Taiko Pirates

Taiko Pirates is a game for any number of players, with drums aligned in a row. The goal is to survive the treacherous seas and scallywag mateys – don’t drop your batchi!

For a given number of players, n, Taiko Pirates requires n+4 drums, all set betta (upright). Here is a short video teaching the rhythms and movements.

Taiko No Koushin (Taiko March)

Taiko no Koushin is inspired by the delightful Algorithm March, made by the brilliant folks at NHK. The march incorporates eight, taiko-related poses or movements. The movements are designed to interlock when players do the march back to back, with each marcher starting the movements one step later than the person ahead of them.


いっぽ すすんで バチ かまえ Ippo susunde batchi kamae. (Take one step, your batchi composed.)
いっぽ すすんで つぎ ななめ Ippo susunde tsugi naname. (Take one step, now a slant-drum pose.)
ひっくり かえって おおだいこ Hikkurikaette odaiko… (Turn around, odaiko…)
よこ に あるいて はちじょう Yoko ni aruite Hachijo. (Walk to the side, and Hachijo.)
ちょっと しゃがんで つぎ みやけ Chotto shagande tsugi Miyake. (Lower down a little, next is Miyake.)
かつぎ だいこ もち あげて Katsugi-daiko mochi agete. (Katsugi-daiko, lift, turn this way.)
つかれました きゅうけい Tsukaremashita kyuukei. (Oh exhausted! Rest a bit.)
うちわ あおって ソレソレ! Uchiwa aotte ‘Sore sore!’ (Use the fans, encourage, Go for it!)

Here is a step-by-step video to learn the march!

Tic Tac Don

The most advanced of the four games, Tic Tac Don pits two players against one another in a fierce battle of tic tac toe! The locations on the tic tac toe board are represented by rhythms, played on drums in “nidan-uchi” positions. The two players face one another. The player with the odaiko to their right is in the “action” position, and the player with the odaiko to their left is in the “waiting” position. The player in the action position plays a rhythm, then the two players rotate to allow the other player to make their move.

Learn more about the tic tac toe board locations here.
Learn more about the rhythms that represent each position on the tic tac toe board here.

Downloadable Videos

All of the videos on this page are available in theora (.ogv), quicktime (.mov), and wmv formats for download here. Please note that they are large files, so downloading might take a long time. The videos are released under the Free Art License 1.3.

2009 Taiko Games debut photos and appreciation

These four games were debuted at the 2009 Taiko Conference, on August 7 in Los Angeles. 35 taiko players from across North America assisted in this performance. It was a very special experience for me to have such amazing support from so many wonderful people! We had a great time!

Thank you very much to the Taiko Conference Advisory Board, Darren Endo, Jason Osajima, and the Taiko Conference volunteers for providing the venue, equipment, and logistics necessary to make the performance happen!


Batchi Count was performed by Ryan Ishikawa, Jessica Yun, Isabella Niu, and Alex Sy (hidden above… sorry Alex!) Ryan, Jess, Isabella, and Alex are members of Yukai Daiko, one of On Ensemble’s very favorite collegiate taiko groups.


Me Taiko Pirates be a great, grand group o’ lads; Johes Bater, Chris Kubo, Margaret McKenty, Huyen Tran, Kate Meigneux, Rob Friedrich, Leslie Gray, Janet Hwu, Tiffany Gilliam, Danny Chong, and Shogo Samata. Carrie Carter was our understudy. Thanks also to Stockton Taiko and TaikoProject for their help in developing the game.

Rob, me hearty cap’n, yer a true buccaneer… but yer jokes kill a man’s soul like a squadron o’ devils!


Taiko No Koushin was led by the fearless Hibiki Kojima-Graham, with Joy Nicholson, John Kanai, Larry An, Jennifer Kubo, Tanya Downer, Beth Lowe, Scott Shima, and Joe Small. George Abe and Shohei Takatani were our singers, with Masato Baba on flute. Thanks to Hiroka Fujimoto for composition assistance.


Tic Tac Don was attempted by five brave and amazingly talented players: Yuta Kato, Wisa Uyemura, Miles Endo, David Wells, and Hari Rai Khaur Khalsa Segal. On Ensemble members Masato Baba, Kelvin Underwood, and Shoji Kameda (not pictured) were on jiuchi (base beat), with Mark Nguyen keeping track of the game-play. Thanks to Stanford Taiko for composition assistance.
Jessica Yun drew this great little sketch of the event!

Thank you everyone! Looking forward to another round of games soon… perhaps at Stanford in 2011!

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4 Responses to “Taiko Games 2009”

  1. Rob, Sharon and the Zoo Too! says:

    Ahoy Landlubber!!

    You think only ONE squadron of devil’s is released with my jokes?? Me thinks the world is STILL suffering from them!!!!!
    Captain Rob

    Seriously, I had a wonderful time performing your game! I am still amazed at the creativity in that head of yours. You are truly a wonderful person, so full of giving and sharing. I wish I was half as compassionate as you.

    Thanks again for allowing me to help to debut your “dreams”!!


  2. Matt says:

    You’re a nut, Kris. But you never know – these crazy games might be what the world remembers you by. On your tombstone ‘Here lies Kris Bergstrom, nerd, musician, creator of Taiko Pirates”

  3. hiro says:

    Congratulations!  That’s quite an achievement. Putting heads together was sooooo much fun!
    Your imagination is amazing… no limit… open my eys.

  4. Margaret says:

    Ahoy Kris! Taiko Pirates be the best taiko game I ever did play…thanks for letting me onboard wi’ the rest o’ yer crew. Arrrh!

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