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LOUDER than the Vulcan! The Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) Taiko Drummers made an entry with a bang at the Royal International Air Tattoo when they gave their first overseas performance.

The drummers have accompanied a Boeing KC-767J from Japan to the airshow: the visit marks Japan's first appearance at the Air Tattoo, making it the 53rd country to display at the event, and is also the first time the Japanese have sent an operational aircraft to a flying display outside Asia.

But the drummers made their own mark with a virtuoso performance in front of Japanese dignitaries and visiting media. Playing a variety of drums, flutes and cymbals, the 26-strong troupe from Iruma Air Base, led by Col Kimitaka Iwaki, performed several beautifully choreographed pieces some serious, some joyous and finished the session by inviting guest of honour Lt Gen Sugiyama and other members of the audience to join in.

All serving soldiers at Iruma Air Base, the drummers began the performance by saying they hoped to build a bridge of friendship between countries. This session certainly laid a solid foundation, and they'll be performing three times a day at the Air Tattoo: don't miss them!

July 7, 2012