Drummers Unite! Joji Hirota and Spark

drummers unite


Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the
future  Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.

This event is also supported by the Bagri Foundation.


Further details will follow soon.


Japan encompasses many different contributions to the world - and this is reflected in the diverse ways in which it is studied and researched at Oxford. The arts and culture, alongside the rich histories, literatures and languages of Japan, will feature as part of a wide-reaching cultural festival in late 2021, led by the University of Oxford as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme.


Bringing together artists and performers based both in the UK and in Japan, the events series will engage the wider public through public events, grounded in collaboration. This festival will both showcase the work of creative performers and artists and reach diverse large audiences in Oxford; it will also have a global reach where the material goes online. We will connect with key organisations and artists as we bring together and celebrate the arts and culture of Japan.


joji st marys

Joji Hirota and The London Taiko Drummers

The mighty thunder of huge taiko drums. Intricate and fascinating rhythms and soundscapes take us from traditional rhythms into melodic drumming. “ GENERAL LIVE-WIRE ”

The Times

Joji Hirota and The London Taiko Drummers founded in 80’s, regarded as a highly established Japanese traditional and contemporary Taiko Drumming Group

The leader Joji Hirota worked various field of music, dance , theatre, films, TV.

Hirota’s Composition for their production of ONNAGATA Lindsay Kemp Co. won Time Out Award for the best dance company

The group was the opening act for the LIVE EARTH at Wembley stadium.

Regularly appeared various festivals such as WOMAD in UK and Worldwide, Shrewsbury festival and so on.

Hirota’s solo performance at the Hanover, EXPO 2000 organized by WOMAD,

Performed various prestigious occasions, such as the UK Business Award Ceremony with the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales,

Also performed to represent Japanese Culture (Music) as a part of Japanese Government project as the envoy to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Africa, Israel, Europe and many more countries

Hirota composes for various music, recent work include Hollywood director Martin Scorsese film on 2017  * Silence* which his music Kin no Mai was used.

Films performance includes, Last Samurai, Harakiri, 47 Ronin, The Isle of Dogs, etc.

The other  composition works are include BBC Drama, the Wildlife Survival TV series won the best documentary film award  - with a collaboration with Anthony Phillips,

Royal Shakespeare Company as percussionist and co-composer also given a Taiko workshop for the actors

2011  Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan in March.

Joji responds by creating  Beyond the Requiem supporting concerts based on his arrangements of Tohoku folk songs Given yearly concert with  The London Taiko Drummers  and The London Metropolitan Orchestra for remembrance that day

Awarded Ambassador’s Commendation Award by Japanese Embassy in UK (2004) Hirota was chosen as one of the 100 Japanese Respected in the world for poll vote in Newsweek 2007



Spark!  is a medium-scale street theatre show performed by five to seven characters that combines high-impact drumming, dynamic choreography and beautiful lighting design. The performance combines static set-pieces, movement between sites and audience interaction.The performers constantly shift the focal point of the show and sometimes surround the audience completely so they feel immersed in the drama which unfolds. The show gradually builds in intensity culminating in a huge climax of light, sound, smoke and movement.










Find out more about the Japan 2021 – Humanities Cultural Programme here.