HISTORY OF TAIKO
THE ORIGINS OF TAIKO
It is not known when the first instance of taiko began in Japan, some argue it as early as 4000 years ago (2500 BC) during Japan's middle Jomon period, to 2000 years ago (300 BC - 300 AD) near the early beginnings of the Yayoi period; however, taiko during this time is suspected to be very different from the conventions of taiko today. In many early cultures around the world, music served as a communication tool between groups of people, and taiko has been suspected to be similar in those regards.  Taiko had uses within war known for boosting the morale of troops as well as an intimidation technique against enemy forces; however many uses of the taiko drum were found in Shinto and Buddhist shrines. Taiko underwent a change during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) during Japan's cultural phenomena, sparking an rise in the use of taiko for various uses in Gagaku court music, Noh and Kabuki productions, and in religious ceremonies. 
BEGINNINGS OF KUMIDAIKO IN JAPAN
The beginnings of the modern day taiko as it is seen today began with a Jazz percussionist by the name of Daihachi Oguchi in 1951 when he stumbled upon traditional sheet music of taiko in the Osuwa Shrine. Up until this point, taiko had been a solo instrument, featuring one or two drummers on a single drum; however, Oguchi applied the western concepts of ensemble performance to taiko and the concept of Kumidaiko (Group drumming) was born, creating the first group Osuwa Daiko in honor of the church where Oguchi first encountered the music.  Osuwa Daiko became the pioneers of the kumidaiko world inspiring many other notable groups to follow such as the influential Oedo Sukeroku Taiko formed by Seido Kobayashi, creating many pieces, equipment innovations, and techniques that have become a standard for kumidaiko in the United States. 
MOVING OVER TO THE STATES
A student of Oedo Sukeroku Taiko by the name of Seiichi Tanaka moved to the United States in 1967, creating the first Kumidaiko group in the United States by the name of San Francisco Taiko Dojo in 1968. Shortly after Tanaka created the first group, two others were quick to follow: Kinnara Taiko in 1969, and San Jose Taiko in 1973.  To this day, these groups have been very influential in the North American style of taiko today, creating the younger generation to preserve and explore the creative outlets of the art form leading to the formation of the collegiate taiko scene in 1990 with UCLA Kyodo Taiko. Akin to the first three kumidaiko groups in the U.S., there were three main collegiate taiko groups that started the trend of collegiate taiko: UCLA Kyodo Taiko in 1990, Stanford Taiko in the winter of 1992, and UC Irvine Jodaiko in the summer later that same year. These three groups sparked a rising trend within the United States, leading to the rise of collegiate taiko groups around the nation such as: UC San Diego Asayake Taiko, Brown University Gendo Taiko, University of Oregon Ahiru Daiko, UC Berkeley Raijin Taiko, and UC Riverside Senryu Taiko to name a few, though many more groups around the nation and world have arisen.
MODERN DAY TAIKO
Taiko has made many progressions since the arrival to the United States fifty years ago; however, with the cultural melting pot of communities and colleges, there is bound to be a very wide range of musical possibilities within taiko. Collaborations with other genres of music have started to arise leading to various productions such as San Jose Taiko's recent collaboration with The Bangerz  to incorporating slight elements of popular music into taiko repertoire. One of the most influential groups in this new era of modern taiko can be attributed to Los Angeles based group On Ensemble, applying techniques and concepts of every realm of the music world from Mongolian throat singing, Gamelan, and extended electronic music techniques.  Every year, taiko is rising in popularity across the world with the creation of many new collegiate, community, and professional taiko groups as well as their increasing involvement within other realms of performance outside the traditional means of kumidaiko. One of the most recent examples of taiko's involvement within a large music performance is the inclusion of TAIKOPROJECT with the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars on their tour for their most recent album "Up in the Air" and at the live performance of iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas during the summer of 2013.
THE FUTURE OF TAIKO
The future of taiko is still up in the air. There are many things that can happen even within one month, such as collaborations with rock stars, or the inclusion of taiko in Western art music orchestras. What is certain though is that many more taiko groups around the world will continue to inspire younger generations to think of more innovative ways to utilize the taiko as an instrument found not only in Japanese music, but also throughout the rest of the music world.