Taiko no Tatsujin

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Taiko no Tatsujin (太鼓の達人), literally translated as Taiko Master, is a series of rhythm games created by Namco, famous for creating Pac-Man and Klonoa. In the games, players simulate playing a Taiko drum (a Japanese musical instrument) in time with music. The series has released games for the arcade and for platforms including PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, iOS, Advanced Pico Beena, and mobile phones.

While the series is mainly designed for use within Japan, there are also specially localized releases for other regions, including English, Chinese and Korean language versions.


The main focus of this video game series is to hit a simulated Taiko drum following a chosen piece of music, corresponding to notes (音符 onpu) scrolling from the right.

A song is cleared when the spirit gauge (魂ゲージ tamashii geeji) is filled past the target (ノルマ noruma), by playing accurately enough.

The variety of notes in the game consists mainly of red and blue markers. The red don (ドン) note requires a hit on the face of the drum, and the blue kat (カッ?) note requires a hit on the rim.

Other notes require quick consecutive hits on the drum. Types of such notes includes the yellow bar, the balloon note and the Kusudama ball.

Most entries in the franchise provide four difficulty levels for play: Easy (かんたん kantan), Normal (ふつう futsū), Hard (むずかしい muzukashii), and "Oni" (おに, lit. demon), the highest difficulty.

The sequence of the notes in a level is commonly referred to as a notechart (譜面 fumen).

Certain songs also have extra inner note charts (裏譜面 ura fumen) in addition to the four standard levels. These are intended to be alternative takes on the regular set. Although not a main objective, most inner note charts are made more difficult than regular note charts.

Some inner note charts work by changing to an alternative version of the song, or, exclusively in arcades, switching to a completely different song.

Some songs can feature notechart branching (譜面分岐 fumen bunki) in certain difficulty levels. According to the player's performance, the notechart changes between Normal notechart (普通譜面 futsuu fumen), Expert notechart (玄人譜面 kurōto fumen) or Master notechart (達人譜面 tatsujin fumen).


  • Taiko no Tatsujin (various arcade releases from 2001 to now)
  • Taiko: Drum Master
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Plus
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Wii U Version
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Don to Katsu no Jikū Daibōken
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Tokumori!
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: V Version
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Atsumete Tomodachi Daisakusen!
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Dokodon! Mystery Adventure
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session!

Why They Rock

  1. Awesome gameplay.
  2. Numerous songs to choose from, ranging from Namco originals (one of the most well-known being Saitama 2000), licensed anime songs, classical music, songs from other video games, and even Vocaloid songs.
  3. Several games feature collaborations with other franchises, ranging from Mario, Pokémon, Yo-Kai Watch, Kirby, and many, many more. Dokodon! Mystery Adventure even features characters from Touhou.
  4. Cute and likable characters.
  5. The series had a stop-motion anime spin-off broadcast on Japanese television network, Kids Station (a Japanese TV station which, as the name suggests, airs programming aimed towards children, though it also aired shows that were decidedly less than family-friendly (usually at night), including Popee the Performer, Narutaru, and even Fate/Zero of all things).
  6. You can use different controls depending on the platforms you like to play:
    • Arcade releases are equipped with simulated Taiko, which can register hits when played with drum sticks (bachis).
    • A virtual Taiko drum is provided on devices with touchscreens (DS, 3DS, Wii U, iOS, and Android), played with either styli or fingers.
    • Dedicated peripherals simulating real drums (known as Tatacon) can be purchased additionally for PS2, Wii or Wii U releases. Several releases are even bundled with a Tatacon.
  7. Various aspects of the game can be changed to the liking of every player:
    • Players can choose an alternate instrument or sound to play, rather than the classic Taiko drum.
    • Players can apply modifiers to change aspects of gameplay, like increased note speeds, reversed note charts (red and blue notes interchanged) or randomized note charts.
    • In console releases, players can choose to have the notechart played automatically and correctly.
    • In console releases, players can choose to have the song end early as soon as they miss one note.


Consumer Taiko no Tatsujin games generally receive favourable reviews from critics. Most published console and handheld releases receive Famitsu Review Scores of over 30, out of a total of 40. Taiko: Drum Master attained a 77-point Metacritic score from 35 review



5 months ago
Score 4
I first saw Don-Chan while watching a SSB4 video about Pac-Man and while playing Mario Kart Arcade GP DX in a bowling stadium. I always thought he was biped...

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