Japanese drum helps with mental disabilities


It involves a Japanese drum called 'taiko' (TIE-KO).

The beat of a Japanese taiko drum, is more than music. It's also a type of therapy for disabilities like Down Syndrome and Autism, like 6-year-old Cody Homann has.

"He was diagnosed two years ago, but, he is on the high functioning end." Cody's mother, Sheila Homann said. "We're always looking for new creative outlets."

In her search for outlets, Homann found a group, Fugaku Taiko, from Japan.

After a Durham performance, they demonstrated in a workshop how taiko drumming can be used as therapy.

The group is living proof. Five of them are therapists and five of them are mentally handicapped.

"It's amazing how many other things they get good at as they progress with taiko," President of Nippon Music Foundation, Kazuko Shiomi said.

Rocky Iwashima who started Triangle Taiko has also seen his son, who has Down Syndrome, benefit socially from tiako drumming.

"They love to play taiko," Iwashima said.

Taiko drumming takes a lot of concentration and physical stamina that is why it is therapeutic, but perhaps the biggest reason is it is a release.

"It's like a mirror, if you're very angry you play taiko you get a very angry sound and if you become happy, and you play taiko, you get a very happy sound," Homann said. "I noticed he had to concentrate a little bit, he had to follow directions and just a good release of energy which is always fantastic. I think it was wonderful for him."

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