Oto-Wa Taiko was formed by members of the Ottawa Japanese Community Association in 1989. After gathering several interested members of the community, a group was formed that fall. For the first two years, the group didn’t have any drums and had to practice on car tires which is also common for beginners in Japan.
The name Oto-Wa Taiko, while phonetically reflecting its community of origin, Ottawa, uses two Japanese characters, oto and wa. Oto means sound while Wa means harmony. Taiko means drum. The character wa was chosen to symbolize the harmony among the group members as well as the harmony of spirit between the players and their drums as they make oto together.
Over the years, Oto-Wa Taiko has performed many times each year in and around the Ottawa area, as well as a few occasions in other Canadian cities such as Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg, and outside Canada in Sendai, Japan and Rochester, NY.