Okajo Castle Premium LIVE「岡城 プレミアムLIVE」 was a project by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee, to measure Olympic and Paralympic basic policy promotion.
This was a special outdoor performance by Drum Tao at the Oka Castle Ruins, also known as Oka Castle or Okajo Castle (actually “jo” itself means “castle” in Japanese but somehow the typical English translations for places tend to have the same words repeated twice!).
Even though Okajo Castle is now in ruins, it still retains a special charm and is a popular spot to visit to see cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.
Tickets for the show can’t be purchased and Drum Tao had invited the public to apply for tickets to the event. There were a total of over 6000 applications but only 900 people successfully obtained the tickets.
This was my pass to the event and I made sure that I held on to it tightly!
Unfortunately, on that day the sky was merciless and brought forth heavy showers. However, Drum Tao had assured on their Facebook page that rain or shine, the show would still go on. They had even setup a tent on the stage during the day, in the event that the sky didn’t let up that evening.
We had to walk uphill to the main castle site where the performance was being held and this path can be quite slippery and muddy when it is wet.
Daylight was soon fading and the atmosphere at this location was starting to head toward the mysterious…
We were told there would be 2 stages at this venue and we were then systematically ushered by groups to the first stage at the castle’s turret, where we were allowed to use our cameras.
The drum beats brightened up the atmosphere and it felt as though they were welcoming us to this place.
Here’s a look at what took place whilst we were all standing in the rain at about 5:10pm. (Can you spot me? Haha…)
Watch the video of the performance:
After this brief segment, we were then ushered towards the main stage at the Honmaru「本丸」, which is the palace in the inner-most circle of defense, but were told that both photography and videography weren’t allowed here, unless you are from the official media.
Rain rain go away… unfortunately, it continued to pour whilst we took our seats!
The use of umbrellas wasn’t allowed as they would obstruct the view of those seated around you, thus everyone was expected to wear raincoats and watch the show in the rain!
A bit of trivia……. Okajo Castle is well known as the location for the famous Japanese song Kōjō no Tsuki「荒城の月」, which was composed by Rentarō Taki「滝 廉太郎」in 1901. The name of the song literally translates to “The Moon over the Ruined Castle”. I still remember this to be one of the first songs taught to me by my guitar instructor some 20+ years ago!
The music of this song was inspired by the ruins of Okajo Castle and its lyrics, written by Bansui Doi, were inspired by the ruins of Aoba Castle and Aizuwakamatsu Castle.
It was truly a befitting tribute to the venue that the show opened to the haunting strains of the flute playing Kōjō no Tsuki「荒城の月」. Forget the heavy rain, soggy ground and wet clothes – although it was too cloudy to be able to see the moon, the audience were mesmerized as it was an extremely beautiful and magical moment!
Here’s some excerpts from the show at the main stage (posted by Taketa City):
Although the rain didn’t relent, our spirits were not dampened and judging from the response from the audience, everyone had a great time as the performance was amazing and all the members of Drum Tao were so talented! I was also extremely impressed with their sound system as everything sounded perfect even though this was an outdoor venue! Well done Drum Tao!!
(We also paid a visit to Drum Tao’s home base the next day <- click to find out more)