The Wire

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In February 2010, Japanese percussionist Ikuro Takahashi performed at Akebono Art and Community Centre in Sapporo, capital city of Japan’s northernmost main island Hokkaido. Film maker Mikio Saito was there to capture it

Before he returned to his native Hokkaido at the beginning of the new millennium, legendary Japanese musician Ikuro Takahashi was the drummer of choice in countless underground bands in Tokyo and farther afield. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, he performed with Keiji Haino‘s Fushitsusha, Nagisa Nite, Che-SHIZU, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, High Rise, LSD March and many more, including his own outsider duo Of Dogstarman.

Since moving back north and settling once again in Hokkaido’s capital city Sapporo – he was born in the former mining town of Kamisunagawa but his family moved to the island’s second largest city Asahikawa when he was six years old – he has variously worked as a solo percussionist, performer and installation artist, as well in a duo with his late partner, the butoh dancer Yoko Muronoi, and any number of free rock and ad hoc units, including Green Apple Quick Step and Meno, both featuring guitarist Hiroto Hayashi. He has also quietly encouraged younger artists and musicians to follow their own paths, regularly organising events at various unusual sites around Sapporo, ranging from special venues like Gallery Inukai or MC Mango’s Dosha, to community rehearsal spaces in more distant wards at the far end of Sapporo’s few subway lines. Indeed in this excerpt from Mikio Saito’s film, the drummer can been seen performing at Akebono Art and Community Centre.

In The Wire 402, Biba Kopf wrote about the DIY Sapporo scene featuring Ikuro Takahashi, Shimettainu, Cup & Saucers, Otaco, and more. Subscribers can access the article digitally via the online archive.