Performance for Bushido, Fight Night

Thornbury Theatre, 27 November 2021
Report by Aki Kimura
Bushido Performance Taiko

Five of us, Ayako, Peggy, Irene, Jasmine and I, performed at Bushido, Fight Night on 27 Nov 2021 for its opening show.  We knew very little about this mixed martial arts event but were excited about showcasing our “KOKORO” on the stage. We were also secretly hoping that we might find future Miyake performers amongst the fighters (and audience).  

For those who don’t know “KOKORO”, KOKORO is the name of our biggest and most beautiful taiko. Due to its size and weight, 65kg, we use it only for special occasions, but this time, thanks to Bushido staff, KOKORO got to the top of the long flight of stairs and to the stage in no time!

Following behind KOKORO, when we got into the theatre; what jumped out at us was a UFC style cage in the middle of the main room! From outside of the theatre, who would think such an event was happening there.  We also saw fighters, trainers, referees, doctors, organisers and other staff running around to get ready for the night.  Yes, the atmosphere was so different from our usual local community events like a Japanese festival.

Eventually, the organiser and MC explained us how they would like to run the event. We discussed the timing and when our performance should begin.  At the very beginning, the MC would announce the commencement of the event and greet the audience, and then Kagura would start.  After two rounds of Kagura, when Kiyari starts the MC would introduce the contestants one by one, and each fighter would pass behind us to get into the cage. 

Ayako was in Mao chan (Shishimai, lion dance)  on the other side of the stage to welcome the fighters.  Unfortunately, there was not enough space around the cage for her to go down and perform closer to the audience.  

It was a very short performance but our strong sound must have impressed the audience and fired up the fighting sprits of the contestants. Obviously, none of the audience expected to see our performance that night, so it must have been a great entertainment for them, and it was also an excellent opportunity for us to promote Taiko as well as Miyake Kai!

After the performance, we waited for the interval so Bushido staff would have a chance to get KOKORO back to the car.  While we were watching the bouts at the back, the organiser came up with an idea of getting one of us to present the trophy to the winner.  As Ayako had left the venue to get the car, I was asked to go into the cage on behalf of Miyake Kai.   

I was honoured and thrilled with the mission but needed to dress appropriately, so Peggy and I quickly swapped T-shirts and I managed to squeezed myself (size M) into Peggy’s (size S) Miyake tee. Led by the organiser, nervously I entered inside the cage (first time!) and my mission was successfully completed on very short notice. Well done!!

However, there was a very distinct possibility that the winner would have preferred a young bikini girl as a presenter rather than a Taiko performer of his mother’s age.  

Question: Next performance at a mixed martial arts event, should the performers wear bikini under Yukata (!) just in case? The answer is somewhat debatable. 😂

Lessons learned:

  • Be adaptable – you may be in charge of an additional task at very short notice 
  • Be prepared  go to the performance in black Miyake T-shirts, or at least take it with you. Bikinis may be useful for some situations