According to myth, taiko was started by Ame no Uzume, a shaman-like female deity. One day, fed up with her cruel younger brother, the sun goddess, Amaterasu, hid herself in a cave. The world became pitch dark and the other deities tried to appease Amaterasu, so that world be bright again. They held a big party in front of the cave and Ame no Uzume danced an erotic dance, stamping her feet on a wooden tub. The gods laughed and cheered loudly and the noise provoked Amaterasu to come out her cave. And thus, the world saw light again.
The various drums of taiko are of Chinese origin and were brought to Japan between the Yayoi period (500 BC - 300 AD). Along with the martial use of the drums, they also held a strong foundation in the court style music called Gagaku, performed in the castles and shrines across ancient Japan. Gagaku alone is one of the oldest styles of court music that is still being played in the world today.