Jumbo! Mita Kenji, Toyako


Originally from Kainan City in Wakayama Prefecture, “Jumbo” Mita Kenji first discovered the potential of Hakodate during a motorbike tour of Japan when he volunteered to help out as volunteer staff at Hakodate’s Port Festival. That experience introduced him to many “can-do” locals, and also to Hakodate’s many lovers of drumming. He has strong connections with WMDF. In 2000, he joined with Yamakita Norihiko and Kimura Yuto to form the African percussion unit “N’Dana”, who are veterans of WMDF 004 and of tours throughout Japan. Through the Hokkaido Africa Network, he also collaborated with the Senegalese drummer Mamadou Lo to form “Safaiko” and performed with the Zimbabwean band “Jenaguru”, whose junior branch are veterans of WMDF 005. In 2003, he moved to Kimobetsu-cho at the foot of Yoteisan mountain and formed there the “African Drumming Circle ToyaToya”, who have been regular supporters of WMDF. ToyaToya draws its members from all age groups and they regularly bring their energy and enthusiasm to festivals, schools, and generally anywhere where loud noise is tolerated. Jumbo’s mission is to continue to demonstrate the joy of life through music, and especially through his passions for African rhythms and for picture books and story-telling.