Founder of "NOBU", producer and artist management in the stage, art, culture, and entertainment fields. Nobuyuki produced various Kodo performances as company producer for 10 years from 2009. During his time with Kodo, he created many world tour works and produced co-starring productions with a wide range of artists including Tamasaburo Bando, Hatsune Miku, BRAHMAN, and the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. Performances were taken place at Kabukiza, FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL GREEN STAGE, Suntory Hall, NHK Hall, etc. As one of the founding members of the World Taiko Conference, Nobuyuki is enthusiastic to spread the cultural entertainment centering on the performing arts of taiko.
Chieko Kojima first encountered Japanese folk dancing when she moved to Sado to join Sado no Kuni Ondekoza in 1976. She went on to become one of Kodo’s founding members in 1981. In addition to her work with Kodo, she also has an active solo career that includes projects such as “Yukiai,” where she seeks out new encounters and collaborations with artists and taiko groups within Japan and throughout the world.
Kojima is known for her original dancing style during Kodo’s taiko-based performances, which is best exemplified by her vivid portrayal of the goddess Ameno-uzume in the first season of “Amaterasu” in 2006. She became a Kodo Distinguished Member in 2012, and was the director of the annual concert series “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island” for four years, starting from its inaugural season that same year.
She continues to ambitiously broaden her expressive outlets, as demonstrated by her recent productions based on the “Tales of Dojoji,” which then became the inspiration for her first photo book, ” Kasane no Kiyohime Monogatari: The Myriad Layers of Kiyohime,” a unique work created with photographer Maiko Miyagawa and released in 2015.
One of the leading personas in contemporary percussion and rhythm, KENNY ENDO is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continuing to explore new possibilities for this ancient Japanese instrument. A performer, composer, and teacher of taiko, he has received numerous awards, accolades, and a “natori,” (stage name in classical drumming). Kenny is a consummate artist, blending taiko with original music through collaborations with international artists. Kenny is proud to perform on taiko provided courtesy of Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten.
Born in 1988 in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, Yamabe grew up listening to his father playing taiko, and his mother playing piano at a young age, and became more familiar with taiko from the age of 3 and performed on stage from the age of 6.
At the age of 16 in 2004, he became the youngest to win the highest award at the Tokyo International Wadaiko Contest in the Odaiko category.
He attracts attention as "one in 50 years taiko player". Incorporating the traditional mitsu-uchi (three-stroke, aka horse beat), and yotsu-uchi (four-stroke), with international percussive rhythms, he sublimates them into various sounds.
His activities are not limited to the taiko world, but also collaborates with Japanese enka musicians, such as Hiroshi Itsuki and Fuyumi Sakamoto, J-POP such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and sessions with rock bands such as SPYAIR.
He also attracted many audience attention with Fuerzabruta’s WA! production, with a long-run of about 400 performances.
He is known as one of the leaders of the Japanese taiko world due to his "perfect rhythm" ability (instead of perfect pitch), and great stage presence. Like his recorded music in his CD, “TAISHI”, released in March 2019, he hopes to compose Japanese music and widen new possibilities as well as direct performances and become Japan’s profound taiko player and creating artist.
Kaoly Asano started in 1991 as a taiko player and an instructor at Baren-Daiko in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. In 1997 she formed the group, GOCOO, and continues to serve as leader, composer, and performer, establishing a new world fusion style of taiko. GOCOO toured the US in 2000, and tours Europe annually since 2003. As of October 2018, they have performed 240 concerts in 38 countries. Her compositions were used in the film soundtracks of “MATRIX Reloaded”, and “MATRIX Revolutions”.
She has also had concerts in EU, Latin America, Australia, and other countries, and performed at cross-genre concerts (such as Rock, Jazz, and Reggae) including WOMAD in UK, SZIGET in Hungary, Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, BOOM Festival in Portugal.
In the meantime, she also established the TAWOO taiko dojo, holding classes and workshops at various events including at schools from kindergartens and universities. She opened sister Dojos in Hokkaido, Yokohama, Chiba, Ise, Nagano, Homburg, Shanghai, and Brazil, and has taught taiko both domestically and internationally. In 2018, participated to the Third European Taiko Conference took placed in Hamburg as a workshop leader. Every year since 1997, she produces a festival, TAWOO Rhythm, for taiko performers with TAWOO Taiko Dojo members and members from the sister dojos.
She has also performed at:
- European Capital of Culture in Austria (2002) and in Greece (2006)
- Festival Cervantino in Mexico, one of the biggest festivals in Latin America (2005)
- Mawaine Festival sponsored by Kingdom of Morocco (2008 & 2011)
- COP10 concert, Live Nature, sponsored by United Nations in Germany (2008)
Born in 1975, Yoshihiko Miyamoto graduated from Keio University School of Economics. He then received his Masters degree in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick, UK. He has been the President and CEO of Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten Co., Ltd since 2010.
Founded in 1861, Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten manufactures and sells taiko, mikoshi, and festival equipment. Yoshihiko engages in the preservation and development of a wide range of Japanese cultures such as festivals, traditional arts, and kumi daiko.
Since 2014, he has launched Wadaiko School Hibikus, and operates three locations in Yokohama, Asakusa, and Fukuoka Tenjin. He has also established kaDON, a U.S. subsidiary, as the world’s first online instruction for taiko and fue.
He is currently also a board member of Japan Folk Performing Arts Association, steering committee of Nippon Taiko Foundation, vice chair of the Tokyo Taiko Federation, senior advisor of the All Kyushu Taiko Federation, committee of Edo Tokyo Kirari Project, and finally the executive steering committee for the World Taiko Conference.
Yeeman Mui (ManMan)
An experienced performing artist and acclaimed teacher, with a passion for bringing communities together through the joy of music and taiko, Yeeman Mui (ManMan) founded Taiko Together, a parent-child taiko program starting from age 2, and Taiko FUNdamentals, a professional development program for teachers. After graduating with an MPhil in Musicology (University of Hong Kong), she later obtained her certification in Orff Schulwerk. Originally from Hong Kong, she received a fellowship from Taiko Center of the Pacific (2012-2014) and became a performing member (2013-2017), receiving extensive training from Kenny and Chizuko Endo. She currently teaches at Los Angeles Taiko Institute.
Managing Director of Kodo Cultural Foundation. Sugano has been part of the Kodo organization since 1982. Since then, he has been mainly in charge of production work overseas, visiting 35 countries as a company manager. He has also been in charge of planning and operation of Earth Celebration, an international art festival that has been held annually on Sado Island since 1988, as a General Producer. Sugano also served as a board member of the North American Taiko Conference in the early stages, which has been held since 1997. He is also a Niigata Tourism Charisma, and a board member of Kodo Arts Sphere America, a non-profit organization in the United States.
EXADON (Introductory video):
2010 was an auspicious year as it marked the start of my Taiko journey and the genesis of CCS Taiko, when a chance viewing of a small troupe of young performers mesmerised me.
At that time, my 10-year-old grandson, who has autism and learning difficulties, was struggling socially and it occurred to me that perhaps Taiko could help certain children and adults with special needs, to find a way of expressing themselves through this exceptional medium.
At the age of 62 I knew that I needed to find a teacher of Taiko to fast track my ability to help this community of special needs youngsters to reach their potential. I “asked the internet” and the answer very quickly came back that Jonathan Kirby could be my mentor as he had written a book on “How to Teach Taiko”.
Ten years on I still have in my community group, some of the first children that I helped – now young adults of course! One young man is well on his way to becoming a special needs teacher of Taiko.
Taiko really is for everyone, including deaf/blind students and those with challenging behaviours and learning disabilities. These areas can create hurdles for such learners as well as for those with complicated life baggage – in other words, most of us! Taiko transcends all of this and offers a “can do” culture in which individuals can thrive. My passion becomes their passion!
Sydney Shiroyama, OTR/L began playing taiko at the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple when she was 7 years old. While studying psychology at UCLA, she joined the intercollegiate group Kyodo Taiko. After college, she moved to Japan for two years to teach English and played with a local community group on Awaji Island. Inspired by special needs taiko groups she observed in Japan, Sydney researched the therapeutic potential of taiko drumming while obtaining her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University. She designed and led taiko workshops for children and adults with disabilities, and for adolescents and adults seeking mental health services.
Sydney worked with performing members of San Jose Taiko to develop a recreation class for individuals with Parkinson's Disease, and collaborated with Eri Uchida to develop TaikoIN', an approach to designing and implementing inclusive taiko experiences. She now works with various taiko groups and artists internationally as a consulting occupational therapist, and uses taiko in her therapy practice at a pediatric sensory integration clinic in California.
Leader of Toyokuni Yufuin Genryu Taiko (Oita Prefecture)
Vice Chairman, Nippon Taiko Foundation
Level 1 Certified Instructor, Nippon Taiko Foundation
Technical Committee, Nippon Taiko Foundation
Honorary Chairman, All Kyushu Taiko Association
○ In 1979, "Toyokuni Yufuin Genryu Taiko" was established and Hasegawa has been active as a leader ever since. Performing not only in various parts of Japan but also in other countries around the world to spread Japanese culture. In 2008, the ensemble was appointed as a Yufu City Intangible Cultural Property.
○ In 1993, Hasegawa established the All Kyushu Taiko Association and became chairman. He became an honorary chairman in 2012 and continues to the present.
○ In 1998, he became a board member of the Nippon Taiko Federation (now the Nippon Taiko Foundation), and in 2008 he became vice-chairman.
○ In 2011, Hasegawa won the prestigious position (Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award) at the Japan Taiko Senior Competition.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan in the year 1955, Miaochun Wang developed her career as a nursing school instructor after graduating National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Science in 1974. While continuing her nursing career in Japan, she enrolled in Aoyama Gakuin University in 1974 to pursue a degree in Education, and began studying “Ikebana” the Japanese art of flower arrangement. After graduating in 1983, she obtained her diploma as a first-class kindergarten teacher and Ikebana certificate, and worked as the Chief Nurse for a Tokyo Clinic.
After returning to Taiwan in 1989, she founded the Hiroka Japanese Kindergarten and serves as the principal to this day.
Miaochun incorporated Taiko into her kindergarten curriculum in 2003, established the Taiwan Taiko Association in 2007, and serves as the Chairman to this day. The Taiwan Taiko Association actively participates in lessons and events hosted by the Nippon Taiko Foundation, which assists with developing international relations with Japan. Her efforts in pursuing taiko and improving international relations were recognized and she received the Foreign Minister Award from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2018.
Derek Oye is a fourth generation Japanese American, or yonsei, born and raised in Torrance, California. Derek currently serves as the Board Chair for the Taiko Community Alliance (TCA), a US-based NGO that empowers the people and advances the art of taiko through programs and services for taiko groups and professionals, including the North American Taiko Conference. Derek is a member of Kinnara Taiko, North America’s first Buddhist taiko group and has been honored to learn from Cal Raijin Taiko (Go Bears!), ICU Wadaiko, Yoki Daiko of Tenrikyo Church, Taiko Effect, Blazing Trails Taiko, the Los Angeles Taiko Institute, and UnitOne.
Inspired by the history and spirit of his alma mater, UC Berkeley, and time as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Derek has dedicated his career to the nonprofit sector. He is currently the program associate at The Rose Hills Foundation, a responsive grantmaker that supports Los Angeles based nonprofits serving low-income and underserved communities. Previously, he worked at community healthcare organizations as a grants manager and program manager focusing on strategic planning and quality improvement. Derek is an active volunteer at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, and proud graduate of both Kizuna’s Board Fellowship program (2016) and CAUSE’s Leadership Institute (2019).
As founder and artistic director, Jonathan has led Kagemusha Taiko for more than 20 years. The group has played across Europe, also in Japan and the USA, earning plaudits for their originality and distinctive style.
In the UK, Jonathan has led the drive for taiko to become established in schools, principally for children aged 8-16. This involved: the development of taiko curriculum, published in a range of books, dvds and online videos; creation of beginner-level repertoire, shared freely; and an extensive teacher-training programme. All of these were designed to be appropriate for the cultural context of the UK.
In 2005, Jonathan created the 1st UK Taiko Festival (UKTF). With a focus on celebration, groups of all abilities had the opportunity to participate. By bringing people together physically, the UKTF has also helped create a sense of taiko community in the UK.
In 2016, Jonathan created and directed the 1st European Taiko Conference (ETC), bringing together 90 taiko players from 41 taiko groups and organisations, in 15 countries and speaking 10 different languages. The Conference sought to bring people together in a safe and structured environment in which friendship and trust could grow. The first ETC was a catalyst for many subsequent taiko events in Europe, and has so far been repeated in the UK (2017) and in Germany (2018 and 2019).
The story of the development of this approach to taiko is told in Jonathan's book: "The Way of the Drum - Taiko without Borders" available worldwide. For Jonathan, taiko is based on principles, it comes from the person, not from any particular place. It is accessible to everyone and enjoyable for all.
Lucas Muraguchi has been playing Taiko since I was 13. But have fallen in love with those drums for as long as he can remember. He loves everything about Wadaiko: the culture, the music, the styles, the festivities, and especially the way it connects people from across the globe in a single heart-and-drum-beating family. There is nothing he enjoys more than talking about Taiko and making Taiko friends, as he feels his soul feeds from this Taiko magic.
Lucas is one of the founding members of ISHINDAIKO, the kumi-daiko group from the city of Londrina in South Brazil, in 2003. Also, a song composer, instructor, and concert artistic director for the group. He was the leader of the ISHINDAIKO team that participated in the 9th Junior Taiko Contest, in Kyoto. He is a 9 times Brazilian taiko champion as a player, composer and/or trainer, and is an instructor and composer for about 20 Taiko groups in Brazil. He has performed and led workshops in Brazil, Argentina, Japan and USA (World Taiko Gathering and East Coast Taiko conference).
He is the head of TAIKAMPADENTRO, an annual Taiko camp with players from all regions of Brazil, and has been a project manager of Kodo´s Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Yoko Fujimoto and Chieko Kojima workshops in Brazil.
Lucas is a director of MY BIGGEST DRUM: A short film about an Odaiko player in slow motion, winner of the 1-Minute Film Festival, and is a 1-kyu Taiko player in the Nippon Taiko Foundation Proficiency Certification System. He is also a jury member of the Brazilian Taiko Contest and other regional taiko contests.
Roy Hirabayashi co-founded San Jose Taiko (SJT) in 1973, the third oldest taiko group in North America. He performs both the taiko and the shinobue. Roy is a composer, performer, and teacher. For his years of community-building through SJT, he and his wife PJ were awarded the 2011 National Endowment of the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, America’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
As a taiko artist, he has led taiko master classes and workshops throughout the United States and internationally. He has toured with Kodo and Ondekoza and has performed with various other taiko artists, jazz musicians, dance companies and performance artists. He is a founding board member of the Kodo Arts Sphere of America (KASA), North American Taiko Conference (NATC) advisory board, and Taiko Community Alliance (TCA). He is currently on the Advisory Council for TCA.
Roy is a founding member of the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose (JCCSJ). The JCCSJ is focused on the historical and cultural preservation of San Jose Japantown; one only three Japantowns left in the U.S. Roy is a co-founder of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI). MALI is a leadership-training program for multicultural arts leaders. He is currently the MALI Program Manager at the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. In 2017 he performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Library of Congress Noontime Series in Washington D.C. He is a member of the US-Japan Council Japanese American Leadership Delegation.
Born in Nagoya city, Junpei was familiarized with playing Japanese traditional instruments at a young age, and was prized with numerous awards at taiko contests. Since 2003, he has experienced about 1000 performances in Japan and abroad for 12 years as a core member of Wadaiko Matsumura-gumi. Junpei also collaborates with other genre musicians, and succeeded in solo performances at various venues.
In 2016, he launched a Waraku Comprehensive Art Ensemble, “Junpei Yamada x Nekkyo Dagaku”, based in Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture, creating productions of his own work to the world.
Under the theme of Waraku Comprehensive Art, “Junpei Yamada x Nekkyo Dagaku” aims to put on dramatic productions that incorporates Japanese music elements (such as shinobue, Tsugaru shamisen, shakuhachi, koto) with traditional Japanese dancing and theatre, centered with taiko playing.
From 2016 to 2017, the ensemble did a 9-city debut tour within Japan, performing for a total of 7,000 audiences.
Aside from large production performances, the ensemble also appears in TV programs, events, and performances abroad.
Junpei also has been involved in many large-scale events such as “Nishio Sen-nin Taiko (1000 people Taiko)” and “Nekkyo Dagaku Festival” performed by 600 pupils, as well as producing many government related cultural events and projects. In 2016, he was appointed as “Nishio City Tourist Ambassador” by Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture.
In addition, he has composed and wrote lyrics for the 60th anniversary of Tokoname City’s theme song “Tokoname Tottoko Bayashi”, theme song of Shin-Nishio “Nishio Oto Emaki”, and the song "Ozone Bayashi" in the Ozone District of Nagoya City. Junpei focuses on the spread of taiko playing, and the development of the local arts.
CEO of Echo Partners Co., Ltd.
Chairman of Surugaya Co., Ltd.
Kinoshita was born and raised in Naritasan Monzen-machi Nakano-cho, a town closest to Narita-san (Mount Narita).
His family business is an inn that was founded in 1798 and later became a restaurant for Narita-san visitors. Currently the business is passed down to his eldest son, and operates as a unagi (eel) restaurant called Surugaya.
Monzen-machi Nakano-cho still retains a nostalgic atmosphere, and with the streetscape and Narita-san Shinshoji Temple in the background, Kinoshita planned events to attract visitors that harmonized the community with traditional performing arts.
From its third time of the event, “Narita Taiko Festival” became the main event, and was held for 32 years. Each year brings 200,000 visitors, and welcomes over 1500 performers every time, which makes it one of the largest taiko events in Japan.
Kinoshita was mainly involved in the early stages of event planning, and production details. At the same time he was also the Vice Chairman of Narita City Tourism Association.
The Narita Taiko Festival aims to provide a performance opportunity for a large number of taiko performers, and to cater to the visitors to enjoy a powerful live performance.
Taking advantage of the characteristics of the international city, Narita, the festival actively invites taiko and other percussion ensembles from overseas.
Born in Maikawa, Ichinoseki City of Iwate Prefecture in 1977, Koiwa is a folklore of a Japanese folk performing art, Shishi-odori. As a board member of Japan Folk Performing Arts Association in Tokyo, he is involved in disseminating the fascination of folk performing arts of Japan, and supporting the performing arts affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake by forming the Tokyo Shishi-odori group, and co-founded Tateito Yokoito LLC in Sendai City. Koiwa produces events within Japan and overseas that connect the traditional culture with regions and communities, to pass the art forms to the future generations. He is currently based in both the Tohoku region and Tokyo.
Photo byYoko Ishii
Tateito-Yokoito LLC. was launched in January 2016 to plan and produce projects that give new perspectives and ways of involvement for the local culture passed down in the lives of the Tohoku area in Japan. This is done through local arts, festivals, technology, food culture, lifestyle, customs, and more.
This organization aims to contribute to the reconstruction, succession, and the expansion of population through the local culture of Tohoku.
Some of the notable involvement includes: Japan Expo’s Tokyo Shishimai Collection 2020, Ministry of Foreign Affairs JAPAN HOUSE, The Agency for Cultural Affairs: Children’s Development Program Through Cultural Art, and Iwate prefecture’s Traditional Culture Experience Program Development Project for Foreign Visitors to Japan.
They continue to share folk art and cultural performances both in Japan and abroad, while acting as an advisor to co-created projects in the fields of education and tourism.
Born in 1980 in Yunotsu of Ota City, Shimane Prefecture.
Taizo studied the technique and craftsmanship of the Shimane Prefecture traditional craft, “Iwami Kagura Men (mask)” at the age of 11.
In 2003, he graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design, and worked as administrative staff for 5 years after finishing his degree in the arts.
In 2008, he returned back to Shimane Prefecture to establish Kobayashi Kobo Co, Ltd.
・Manufacturing and sales of Iwami Kagura masks
・Repair and restoration of old masks
・Kagura mask painting workshop, school classes, lectures
・"Washi molding" production (using a traditional method used to make Kagura masks, onto murals and spherical work)
・Collaboration with flower artist "Shogo Kariyazaki" for "Peony collaboration Shogo Kariyazaki x Yamata No Orochi" (2012, 2013)
・Serpent head production and movement instruction for Kodo’s "One Earth Tour -Mystery-" (directed by Tamasaburo Bando) (2013)
・Serpent head production of "EXILE TRIBE PERFECT YEAR 2014 Dome Tour 2014" (18 performances in 6 cities), production of Serpent, and tour assistant (2014)
・Production of a mythical rabbit mask with EXILE member ÜSA (2015)
In recent years, his works were used in the movie "Tatara Samurai" (released nationwide from May 20, 2017) and in the special performance "Tamasaburo Bando x Kodo YUGEN" (May-September 2017) .
Asumi started playing taiko in elementary school with a local group called Sakura Taiko up until middle school, and then played with Yachiyo High School’s taiko club, “Kogumi”. She then started college at Rikkyo University to study Psychology of Visual Perception and Visual Presentation, while being involved with various groups such as Wadaiko Iroha, KOGMIX, University Taiko Association, Kanto Taiko-ren DAN. In 2019, she was on set for the movie, “Tataki Kowasu Hodo ni Kimi e”, released in 2021 as a taiko player, attended her first North American Taiko Conference, and worked as staff for the University Taiko Festival. She is currently the leader for Wadaiko Iroha, and mainly play taiko drums on stage.
Asumi is a 21-year-old with great curiosity. Her special skill is to juggle several part-time jobs. Currently appreciates beautiful early mornings with birds chirping in the crisp quiet sky. She took a spontaneous solo trip out to Cambodia during her second year in college, sparking her interest to travel the world and meeting new people. Asumi looks forward to meeting new people and learning through WTC!
Yui is from Los Angeles, California, currently residing in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. She began playing taiko at the age of 20 through the influences of her brother, and later joined Kyodo Taiko at UCLA while getting her degree in Sociology. Her college experiences with Kyodo Taiko and the Nikkei Student Union has helped shape her current identity as a Japanese American. After graduating from college, she continued to play taiko in several groups such as Prota, while working in the aerospace industry.
In 2014, she made the big move out to Sado Island in Niigata, Japan to work with Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble Kodo as an international tours and projects staff, with curiosity on how life would look like with a career in taiko. With Kodo, she works on tours, collaborations, and events in mostly North America, South America, and the Asian countries, while actively participating and coordinating programs and gatherings that brings together taiko players from across the globe. In 2017, Yui became freelance, and while still working for Kodo, she was appointed board member for the U.S. non-profit organization, Kodo Arts Sphere America (KASA).
Currently, she is also the managing staff for Matoi no Kai, a gathering of young taiko players from various groups in the Aichi and the surrounding areas, as well as managing, consulting, and assisting other taiko related artists and organizations for their English and international business matters, and also a staff to organize TEDxAnjo. In the fall of 2020, she is co-coordinating Japan’s first taiko conference, the World Taiko Conference, to help further develop the growth of the global taiko community.