Taiko no Tatsujin

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This article is about the Taiko no Tatsujin series. For the North American installment in the series, see Taiko: Drum Master.
Taiko no Tatsujin
Taiko no tatsujin arcade machine.jpg
A Taiko no Tatsujin (2011) arcade cabinet
Genres Music, Rhythm
Developers Bandai Namco Games
Publishers Bandai Namco Games
First release Taiko no Tatsujin (2001 arcade game)
February 21, 2001
Latest release Taiko no Tatsujin: Tokumori!
November 20, 2014

Taiko no Tatsujin (太鼓の達人?), literally translating to English as Taiko Master, is a series of rhythm games created by Namco. In the games, players simulate playing a Taiko drum in time with music. The series has released games for the arcade and for platforms including Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Wii U, iOS, Advanced Pico Beena, and mobile phones.

While the series is mainly designed for use within Japan, there are also official releases for other regions, including one North American release on PlayStation 2 using full English, two Chinese arcades (11 Asian Version and 12 Asian Version) accommodated for Asian regions such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, and an alternate build for Momoiro ver., referred to as its "Asian Version", currently running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.[1] Other releases can also be seen in other regions despite not having been officially exported.



The main objective of Taiko no Tatsujin games is to hit a simulated Taiko drum following a chosen piece of music, corresponding tonotes (音符 onpu?) scrolling from the right.

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


Arcade releases are equipped with simulated Taiko, which can register hits when played with drum sticks (bachis).

Console releases mainly uses buttons to play, while certain devices can support additional methods of input:

  • A virtual Taiko drum is provided on devices with touchscreens (DS, 3DS, Wii U, iPod touch, smartphone), played with either styluses or fingers.
  • Dedicated peripherals simulating real drums can be purchased additionally for PS2, Wii or Wii U releases.


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.[2]

Other notes require quick consecutive hits on the drum. Types of such notes includes the yellow bar, the balloon note and the Kusudama ball.[2]


Most games in the franchise provides four difficulty levels for play, namely Easy (かんたん kantan?), Normal (ふつう futsū?) and Hard (むずかしい muzukashii?) and the hardest Oni (おに?, lit. demon).

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

Inner notecharts[edit]

Certain songs also has extra inner notecharts (裏譜面 ura fumen?) in addition to the four standard levels, intended to be alternate takes on the regular set.[3] Although not a main objective, most inner notecharts are made more difficult than regular notecharts.[3]

Some inner notecharts works by changing to an alternate version of the song, or, exclusively in arcades, switching out for a completely different song.[3]

Notechart branching[edit]

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?).

Gameplay options[edit]

Various aspects of the game can be changed to the player's liking:

  • Players can choose an alternate instrument or sound to play, instead of the classic Taiko drum.
  • Players can apply modifiers to change aspects of gameplay, like increased note speeds, reversed notecharts (red and blue notes interchanged) or randomized notecharts.
  • 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.


Taiko: Drum Master[edit]

Main article: Taiko: Drum Master

Taiko: Drum Master is the first and only English-language release in the franchise, first released for the PlayStation 2 on October 26, 2004 in North America and September in Japan. Instead of Japanese pop and anime music, Taiko: Drum Master uses English-language pop music by artists including Queen and Madonna, and Western animation theme songs from Dragon Ball and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.

Taiko no Tatsujin 14[edit]

Taiko no Tatsujin 14 (太鼓の達人 14?) is the fourteenth arcade release of the series. With more than 150 playable songs, 14 inherits many features from previous releases. For a limited time, 14 participated as part of a collaboration with McDonald's. [4] As part of the franchise's 10th anniversary celebration, an upgrade patch was made available for 14, adding five extra songs to the track listing.[5]

Taiko no Tatsujin (2011 arcade)[edit]

Taiko no Tatsujin (太鼓の達人?) is the fifteenth and currently operating arcade release of the series. This release is significantly different from previous arcade releases, allowing players to store play data with Bandai Namco's Banapassport card, customizing player characters and by-player difficulty settings.[6] The game can also receive online updates to add playable songs and features. Initially exclusively for use in Japan, the cabinet is later released to Asian regions outside Japan since January 2014, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.

Taiko no Tatsujin underwent multiple large-scale updates, including C/N: KATSU-DON (July 2012), Sorairo ver. (ソライロ ver.?) (March 2013), Momoiro ver. (モモイロ ver.?) (December 2013) and Kimidori ver. (キミドリ ver.?) (July 2014).[7] A fifth large-scale update, to be named Murasaki ver. (ムラサキ ver.?) is expected to be carried out in March 2015. [8]

Taiko no Tatsujin: Wii U Version[edit]

Taiko no Tatsujin: Wii U Version (太鼓の達人 Wii Uば~じょん!?) is the first Taiko no Tatsujin game exclusively for the Nintendo Wii U, released on November 21, 2013 in Japan only. The game was said to carry 70 songs, and features appearances of Golden Bomber and Super Mario Bros.,[9] and a collaboration campaign with Japanese idol group Momoiro Clover Z.[10]

Wii U Version features the new gameplay mode Baton Touch Play (バトンタッチ演奏?), where multiple players alternately play a single song in a relay race-like fashion. The game also supports the Wii U GamePad with a touchscreen drum, and can be played with the GamePad alone without needing a television set.[9]

Both free and paid downloadable content, including outfit items and additional playable songs, are available via the Nintendo eShop. [11]

Taiko no Tatsujin: Don to Katsu no Jikū Daibōken[edit]

Taiko no Tatsujin: Don to Katsu no Jikū Daibōken (太鼓の達人 どんとかつの時空大冒険?) is the second Taiko no Tatsujin game exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS, released on June 26, 2014 in Japan only.[12] The game includes a reported number of 60 songs, and guest appearance of Jibanyan from Yo-Kai Watch, Airou from Monster Hunter 4, Funassyi and Kumamon.[13]

Don to Katsu no Jikū Daibōken features a main story plot in Space-time Adventure Mode (時空大冒険モード jikū daibōken mōdo?), in which series protagonists Don and Katsu travel through time to different periods, encountering various friends and enemies.[14] Players engage in random encounter drum-playing battles and gather befriended enemies as team members, similarly as in Pokemon games with added rhythm game elements.

Both free and paid downloadable content, including additional quests for Space-time Adventure Mode, outfit items and additional playable songs, are available via the Nintendo eShop.[15][16] Additional content can also be unlocked via scanning QR codes hosted at various other media[17] and using Spot Access functionality at specific locations.[18]

Taiko no Tatsujin: Tokumori![edit]

Taiko no Tatsujin: Tokumori! (太鼓の達人 特盛り!?) is the second Taiko no Tatsujin game exclusively for the Nintendo Wii U, released on November 20, 2014 in Japan only.[19] The game boasts a collection of 100 playable songs, and features appearances of guest characters such as Funassyi, Kumamon and Hatsune Miku.

Tokumori features two new modes: Mekadon Gasha (メカドンガシャ?), a capsule toy set-up for unlocking unlockable content, and Intro-don (イントロどん♪?), an intro quiz mini-game. Baton Touch Play Mode returns from Wii U Version.

Both free and paid downloadable content, including outfit items and additional playable songs, are available via the Nintendo eShop. [20][21]

Taiko no Tatsujin: V Version[edit]

Taiko no Tatsujin: V Version (太鼓の達人 Vバージョン?) is a Taiko no Tatsujin game exclusively for the PlayStation Vita, released on July 9, 2015. The game includes more than 80 playable songs, with a focus on anime, Vocaloid and video game music.[22][23]

V Version features a main story plot in Donder Quest (ドンだークエスト dondā kuesuto?), in which protagonist Don adventures with a young female named Maple to defeat Noise and the ancient dragon Revolution.[22][23][24] The game also features the practice mode Taiko Training (太鼓トレーニング taiko toreiningu?) that can fast forward, rewind and change speed.[22]

A traditional Chinese version, with translated Chinese menu and dialogue text but retaining Japanese voice acting, will be released on the same release date in Taiwan and Hong Kong.[25] This version is expected to feature Asia-exclusive playable songs, to be continually made available after release.

Collaborations and guest appearances[edit]

Taiko no Tatsujin frequently hosts collaboration campaigns with other video game franchises and companies. Collaboration efforts include porting signature songs into Taiko no Tatsujin games, sometimes with special dancers and background designs. In return Taiko no Tatsujin elements are respectively ported to other games.

The following are a selection of larger collaboration campaigns:

  • Puzzle & Dragons
    • Three Puzzle & Dragons background music pieces were added to the track listing of Taiko no Tatsujin Plus and the new arcade.
    • Special dungeons featuring Taiko no Tatsujin characters are available for a limited time in Puzzle & Dragons.
  • Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA
    • The song Hatsune Miku no Gekishou (初音ミクの激唱?) is available in Portable DX, featuring note sequences exactly corresponds to the gameplay of the same song in Project DIVA.
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
    • A Taiko no Tatsujin-themed Hunting Horn Weapon and Guild Card Background are available as downloadable content in the game. The Hunting Horn is unique in that apart from utilizing Taiko sounds it also changes the standard notes into Taiko no Tatsujin-themed notes.[26]


From 2005, Kids Station broadcast 26 3-minute shorts of the Taiko no Tatsujin characters in clay anime. A manga version of the series was also serialized in Comic Bom Bom.

Mini versions of the game appear in the Namco game Tales of the World:Narikiri Dungeon 3 when the main characters is equipped with a costume resembling a drum, and in the Nintendo DS game Nodame Cantabile.

In Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, there is a Japanese-themed stage based on the series. Don also makes an appearance as a playable driver.[27]

Appearances in media[edit]


Consumer Taiko no Tatsujin games generally receive favourble 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 reviews.[28]

List of Taiko no Tatsujin Famitsu Review Scores
Release Score
Wii Minna de Party Sandaime (Wii) 32/40 (9/8/7/8)
Wii Kettei-Ban (Wii) 32/40 (9/8/7/8)[29]
Wii Chogōka-Ban (Wii) 32/40 (8/8/8/8)[30]
Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb (3DS) 31/40 (8/8/8/7)[31]
Wii U Version (Wii U) 32/40 (9/8/7/8)[32]
Don to Katsu no Jikū Daibōken (3DS) 33/40 (8/9/8/8)[33]
Tokumori (Wii U) 32/40 (9/8/7/8)


  1. ^ "現在、台湾の他に香港、タイ、マレーシアの一部店舗で稼動中のモモイロVer.、見かけましたら今のうちに「PaPaPa Love」遊んでみてくださいね♪(タケモト)". Twitter. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
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  6. ^ "[AMショー2011]「太鼓の達人」「湾岸ミッドナイト マキシマムチューン 4」など,人気シリーズ最新作の筐体がずらり。バンダイナムコゲームスブースレポート". 4Gamer.net. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "AC太鼓の達人 キミドリVer.稼働日発表&生放送決定!". 太鼓の達人 開発日記. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "『太鼓の達人ムラサキVer.』が2015年3月より稼働開始! 新情報も飛び出した『太鼓の達人』公開生放送【闘会議2015】". ファミ通.com. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
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  10. ^ "[TGS2013]「太鼓の達人 Wii U ば~じょん!」の詳細も明らかにされた,「太鼓の達人×ももいろクローバーZ コラボ紹介ステージ」の模様をレポート". 4Gamer.net. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
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  13. ^ "3DS「太鼓の達人 どんとかつの時空大冒険」ふなっしーや「妖怪ウォッチ」などコラボレーションが続々と決定!体験版も配信中". Gamer. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
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  15. ^ "『太鼓の達人 どんとかつの時空大冒険』に『アナと雪の女王』主題歌が期間限定で無料配信決定". ファミ通.com. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "『太鼓の達人 どんとかつの時空大冒険』“人気曲+追加クエストパック(6)”が配信スタート 『粉雪』『モンキーマジック』などが演奏ゲームに登場". ファミ通.com. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "『太鼓の達人 どんとかつの時空大冒険』冒険モードでてきがアイテムを落としやすくなる“サンタクロース”のきせかえを入手できるキャンペーンが実施". ファミ通.com. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
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