Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating 50 years and embracing the future

San Francisco’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary with organizers hoping to present a celebration of Japanese culture that is bigger than ever. This year, the two weekend-long event will host a 50th anniversary gala, more than 200 guests from Japan and expanded entertainment, including a scavenger hunt. Richard Hashimoto, who previously […]

PLAYING FOR COMMUNITY: San Jose Taiko founders P.J. and Roy Hirabayashi

Known both locally and internationally, P.J. and Roy Hirabayashi were among the latest inductees to the Hokka Nichibei Kai (Japanese American Association of Northern California) Bunka Hall of Fame during its annual New Year’s party Jan. 28, alongside fellow San Jose’s Japantown cultural arts icon Reiko Iwanaga (Reimichi Hanayagi). The Hirabayashis, founders of San Jose […]

THE TAIKO TRAVELER: Kristy Oshiro teaches taiko and builds community

When professional taiko artist Kristy Oshiro prepares to drive to a neighboring city to teach classes, she puts a bucket of bachi (taiko drumsticks) on her passenger-side seat, 15 drum stands in her trunk and stacks 15 practice taiko (drums) in the back seat of her Honda Accord. “And safely! I can still see out […]

Ei Ja Nai Ka: A ‘good’ taiko collaboration

SAN JOSE — Those planning to attend an Obon festival this year might experience “Ei Ja Nai Ka,” a unique and high energy taiko performance that combines song, dance, chanting, and of course, taiko drumming. The title, “Ei Ja Nai Ka,” literally translates to, “Isn’t it good?” or more directly, “It’s good!” The performance was created […]

Tomorrow’s leaders: Collegiate taiko groups

The modern kumi-daiko (Japanese drum ensemble) has a more than 40-year long tradition in the United States. The sound of large drums and bells drum up support for local community events, serving as the start of many Japanese American community events. With its prevalence, more people, including collegiate groups, are playing taiko today than ever […]

Japanese cultural arts classes

Editor’s Note: Don’t see your cultural group listed? Contact us at cbfguide@nichibeiweekly.org to add your group to our cultural arts class listings. Daion Taiko Location: Orange County Buddhist Church, 909 S. Dale Ave., Anaheim, Calif. Contact: (714) 827-9590, daion78@gmail.com, ocbuddhist.org Drum Revolution Location: Belmont, Calif.; Orinda, Calif. and El Cerrito, Calif. Contact: (510) 926-9780, info@drumrevolution.com, […]

Seiichi Tanaka, the father of American taiko

Surrounded by members of the San Francisco Taru Mikoshi Ren in the city’s 1968 Cherry Blossom Festival, Seiichi Tanaka pounded on a taiko borrowed from the recently opened Suehiro Restaurant in the newly opened Japan Center Malls, then called the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center. He was the sole drummer that year, but in the […]

BEATING OUT A NEW PATH: The proliferation of taiko in America

The art of taiko drumming has had a presence in the United States for just under half a century. Several pioneers fostered and drove the art from its cultural roots to what is now an internationally recognized form of performance art featured in mainstream movies, television and music. Taiko Takes Root in the U.S. In […]

Japanese cultural classes

Taiko San Francisco GenRyu Arts Location: Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St., S.F.’s Japantown Contact: (415) 420-3151, info@genryuarts.org, www.genryuarts.org Maikaze Daiko Location: Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., S.F. Contact: (415) 513-7798, info@maikazedaiko.org, www.maikazedaiko.org San Francisco Taiko Dojo Classes: 212 Ryan Way South San Francisco, CA  94080 Contact: (415) 928-2456, […]

Southern California Obons and summer festivals

Valley Japanese Community Center’s Obon festival is on Saturday, June 22 (5-10 p.m.), and Sunday, June 23 (5-9 p.m.), at 8850 Lankershim Blvd., Sun Valley. Bon Odori begins at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. There will be food and entertainment (including the Matsutoyo Kai dance and musical group on Saturday, Los Angeles Matsuri […]

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