Gintenkai was formed by underground theater director Yasujiro Ohayashi in Tokyo, Japan. The original 1963 characters of Gintenkai was 銀天会. This spelling was eventually changed to the current 銀天界 when AIRMW director Tatsu Aoki introduced the idea of the Ginten • 銀天 arts to Tsukasa Taiko in 2007.
Founding members were Yasujiro sensei (Yasujiro Oyakata), Kazuki Yanagimachi, Kenjiro Kumagai and 2 others. Tatsu Aoki joined as a junior member in 1971, and recruited Hidehiko Hata, Kota Kikutani, Osamu Kayano, Hitoshi Kurokouji from the Daiei Film School (大映映像芸能学院) in 1974. The Gintenkai group identified themselves as performing arts troupe (演劇舞集団・銀天会) rather than just as a taiko group and were driven by an aesthetic that went against what became as mainstream kumidaiko (組太鼓) context. Instead, they implemented the concept of an authentic traditional arts outreach and advance the nascent movement of Japanese contemporary experimentalism – JAPACON ジャパコン. Gintenkai’s belief was that the mainstream kumidaiko concepts that were developing around the time were a harmful transition for the traditional Japanese aesthetics and that the troupe needed to be isolated from these popular Japanese modern collaborations.
Gintenkai was highly influenced by the American & European Avant-Garde: including films, music, dance and visual arts. Yasujiro sensei’s friends were artists like Nagisa Oshima, Hiroshi Teshigawara, Kobo Abe, Toru Takemitsu and Shuji Terayama who were active members of the Japanese underground experimentalist circles. Extensive performance and creation within the original Gintenkai troupe took place between 1973 ~ 1977, when Tatsu was a core member of Gintenkai until his permanent departure to US in 1979 at around age 14. (Tatsu originally went to US in 1976 and returned to Tokyo to finish his Ginten duties.
Kayano committed suicide in 1975; Kumagai died in an accident in 1979; Yanagimachi was sent to jail for murder in 1980; Yasujiro passed away in 1981 and his better half Kako Inagawa’s whereabout are unknown; Hata died in 1982 by motorcycle accident; & Kurokouji and the others’ whereabouts are also unknown. As one of the last remaining members of the original Gintenkai troupe, Tatsu began transcription of the works and exercises after Yasujiro’s death as part of the reconstruction process. He revived the Gintenkai troupe into what is now the National Gintenkai Project. The reconstruction process is now a collaborative effort between Tatsu and the new generation of the Gintenkai members, to revive and reinterpret the compositions from the 1970s and reapply them to the artistic efforts of Tsukasa Taiko and AIRMW as away to engage with the contemporary art, music and theatre.