Taiko Copycats

Posted in Thoughts, Video by minoroots on 11/19/2009


The president of Arashi Taiko has since contacted the current Kyodo Taiko members, and offered an apology while formally asking for permission to perform ‘Encore’. The video in question was also taken down from YouTube. I read the forwarded letter and it seemed sincere, and I thought it was a nice gesture (though, unfortunately, a bit after-the-fact). I hope the current members of Kyodo would be gracious enough to work something out with Arashi that leads to a positive relationship—maybe a joint practice or something if they can meet at next year’s Intercollegiate Taiko Conference.


…and I’m not talking about Emily’s mother-of-all-slaps to Craig’s face. This is about full-on Taiko Plagiarism.

Got an e-mail link from Yumi from Taikoproject [via Liz] to the following YouTube video of Oklahoma University’s Arashi Taiko performing their brand-new piece:

Problem is, some of us happen to be familiar with the tune… I mean veeeeerrrrrry familiar. As in this is “Encore,” which UCLA’s Kyodo Taiko composed back in 1997. As in my buddies Christine/Craig/Jason re-mixed this particular rendition. As in I was one of the first to perform the piece, back in ’07:

The similarities are uncanny… er, blatantly obvious.

Part of me is amused/flattered that the OU kids liked it enough to copy it. Taiko’s about community, and I don’t mind sharing. It’s nice to see that taiko is spreading to places like Oklahoma.

Then again, another part of me is upset that they never did seek permission. I can see why my friends who co-wrote the piece are so pissed. To us, Encore isn’t just any song—it’s Kyodo’s signature song that’s been passed down from generation to generation, for over a decade.

Maybe they did give credit to “This group we found on YouTube” before performing at the “University of Oklahoma African Student Association ‘ROOTS’ talent show”… Who knows.

But if you’re gonna copy it, it wouldn’t hurt to try asking the owners of the song for permission first.



6 Responses

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  1. kathy said, on 11/19/2009 at 6:33 pm

    wow, that sucks. i dont even think they’re playing it well. geez.

  2. Mickie said, on 11/19/2009 at 9:34 pm

    video’s been removed by owner… I think someone knows they got caught..

  3. Alex said, on 11/20/2009 at 2:44 pm

    damn. i was about to troll all over that video.

  4. sugi said, on 12/05/2009 at 12:22 am

    i loved your song… and taiko perfrmance… sorry..m(_ _)m

  5. Aseem said, on 12/05/2009 at 7:27 pm

    Hello, I am a member of Arashi Taiko and like our leader, would like to apologize to the members of Kyodo Taiko, and reiterate that we did not perform your song with any intention of malice or gain. We never claimed that the song is ours. Au contraire, we’ve been telling everyone about ‘the exciting song by Kyodo Taiko’ that we were practicing, even linking to the original video above for our friends to watch. We realize now that we should have sought your permission before we played the song in public, and the apology stands. We would like Kyodo to know that we appreciate your performance and skills profusely.
    Thanks and apologies!

  6. Stephen said, on 12/06/2009 at 3:14 am

    Hey, I’ve met some of the Arashi members. Their President first saw taiko just a couple years ago at another U’s culture night. He liked it so much, he came back to OU and started talking to people, especially international students. A group of students (not music majors) started an unofficial club. They managed to make their own drums and then even hand-sewn costumes. They didn’t know how to write music, but they turned to their closest, readily-available sensei– the taiko groups on YouTube. So there you go– that’s how your song was performed illegally. I guess you know more about this since you read whatever apologetic letter he wrote. I expect he doesn’t want to be sued, and yes, he is probably sincere. I’m unhappy, though, with the treatment you and your contributors are giving this. Was it illegal and unethical? Yes. Was it scandalous? Please. After 200,000 Youtube hits, don’t be surprised if there’s a group in England doing the same, for the same reasons– “That looks fun. Maybe we can try?”

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