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Based in mountainous Oita Prefecture in northeastern Kyushu, the privately owned and run Drum Tao company has barely paused from pounding away at the international entertainment market since it launched its overseas ambitions with a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004.

Since then, the troupe of wadaiko (traditional Japanese drum) performers has taken what it calls its “rhythm of tribe” to more than 500 cities across 26 countries — including seven tours of Germany, six of the United States (with one off-Broadway run) and others to Singapore, China, Kazakhstan and the Philippines — along the way, playing to an astonishing 8 million people.

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