The three percussion instruments used in the performance of kangen music are the shōkō, taiko, and kakko. The taiko drum is a large suspended drum of about 55 cm in diameter (22 inches) with heads of ox-hide. It is hit with wood mallets covered with leather or rubber.

Mallets for the taiko

Figure 1

The taiko has two types of strokes: the ‘female stroke’ called 'mebachi' is a soft stroke with the left hand just below the drumhead’s center; the ‘male stroke’ is called 'obachi' and it is a loud attack of the right hand in the drumhead’s center. The obachi is the central orienting beat for the entire orchestra.

Female stroke: mebachi Male stroke: obachi

Example 1