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Aimachi is a Tenrikyo church based in Nagoya, Japan. Outside of Japan, Aimachi is most known for its marching music and color guard ensembles. A selection from their 130 member marching band compete internationally as an indoor percussion ensembles, indoor marching ensembles, Baton twirling, and Winter guards. The group rehearses outside of Nagoya in Handa City.
Aimachi was started in 1962 with four members. The Founder of the Band, Kiyokazu Sekine, is the son of Aimachi's founder and continues to serve as the group's Director. In 1996, the Aimachi winterguard performed in WGI for the first time, placing 18th in the Independent World division. In 1998, the Aimachi marching band became the All-Japan National Champion in the All-Japan Marching and Baton Twirling championships for the first time in their history. They have gone on to win in January 1998, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, December 2008 and 2009, and performing in exhibition in December 2007 and 2010. They also won the WAMSB World Championship for Marching Showbands in 2002. The percussion ensemble performed in the 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2008 WGI Independent World championships receiving the bronze medal in their last two appearances.
Since 1990, Americans on Aimachi's instructional and design staff have included Gordon Henderson (Band Director), Mitch Rogers, Michael Gaines, Jim Campbell, Tim Fairbanks, Erik Johnson, Scott Kretzer, Brett Kuhn, Jim Moore, Martin Rhees, Dean Westman, William Plenk, Christian Carichner and Stephen Mason.
In July 2011, the Aimachi Band traveled to Switzerland to perform at the Basel Tattoo.
This group performs in many competitions across Japan, the Winter Guard International championships, and other exhibition performances throughout Asia. At WGI Percussion, they placed 3rd in 2000, 2006 and 2008 in the Independent World Division. A group celebrating their cultural origins, they deviate from conventional battery percussion by adding taiko drums, shime-daiko drums, and the odaiko drum to a traditionally western activity. They add many elements from their award winning Winter Guard into their performances, including flags, rifles, sabres, batons, and dance sections to offer a visual package unique in the percussion circuit.
Aimachi's winterguard uses conventional flags and weapons, but also adds the unique baton twirling to the performance. Their 2007 WGI bronze medal performance featured World Champion Baton Twirler Seishi Inagaki. Their history in WGI color guard competition is as follows: 1996 (18th place), 1999 (10th place), 2002 (10th place), 2004 (7th place), 2007 (tying for third in the Independent World Championships along with Blessed Sacrament) behind Fantasia and Pride of Cincinnati, and 2009 (3rd place).