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Kokiriko (Clatter Pillar)


The Kokiriko (or Binzasara) is a traditional Japanese percussion instrument made from bamboo slats held together with letter straps. The sound is similar to “dominoes falling” as the wooden slats strike one another.

A traditional Kokiriko is made from thin pieces of bamboo, however the Kokiriko in our library is created from larger pieces of timber and is also marketed as a ‘Clatter Pillar’ or ‘Rhythm Band’.


Cultural notes

The Kokiriko features heavily on Japanese folk music and dances.

Suggested activities

Group/ Circle Time: 

  • Old MacDonald Had a Band – This version is sung to the tune of the original, except instead of animals, he has instruments. Divide your class into groups with each one playing a different instrument (.i.e. tambourines, sticks, drums, triangles, etc.)
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It – Replace body movements with instruments. (i. e. play your drum, tap your sticks, shake your maraca, etc.)

Books/ Story time:

  • Use rhythm instruments to add sound effects, portray characters or emphasize an important or repetitive phrase in the book. Check out Bright Hub Education for some examples of books that work well with percussion instruments

Music and Movement:

  • Include a basket of movement props such as scarves, ribbons and feathers
  • Set up a listening station with CD’s from different cultures and encourage children to play along with the songs

Language and Counting: 

  • Songs like “Ten in the Bed” and “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” are good songs for teaching counting and sequence and also reverse counting. Sing them during circle time and after singing each verse, count while tapping rhythm sticks or drums.

Sensory Play: 

  • Hold a “sound hunt” to find things that make interesting sounds.

External Links

  • Check out the Kokiriko Bushi, the oldest known folk song in Japan, which uses the Kokiriko as a sound-effect instrument

Related items in our catalogue

Percussion Instruments

The research for this resource was made possible through a grant from the Central Coast Council.