Steeped in tradition, American karate pioneer Bernard Edwards

Bernard Edwards Shihan (grand-master) has been a lifelong practitioner of karate. A competitive champion in the early part of his life, he won several prestigious tournaments both in Japan and the U.S. He opened his own school in San Mateo, Calif. to teach Hakua Kai karate, which was the style’s first official school in America. […]

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 […]

Learning tea at San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University offers two unique classes to undergraduate and graduate students of its Japanese Program. The university is officially registered to teach its students the Omotesenke School of Tea, and has been doing so since 2009. Midori McKeon, professor of Japanese and an Omotesenke lecturer, teaches semester-long classes on Japanese tea ceremony, or […]

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, […]

Forging a path for tea ceremony in the United States

The Urasenke tradition of tea ceremony in the San Francisco Bay Area is strongly affiliated with the Kobara family. Meiyo Shihan (Distinguished Master) Soko Kobara and her late husband Seiji Kobara co-founded the Chado Urasenke Tankokai San Francisco Association 55 years ago and have been an instrumental part of the Urasenke tradition of tea in […]

The Hazard family and martial arts in Northern California

Those who have been around kendo (bamboo sword fighting) in the United States, fondly remember the name Benjamin Hazard. According to twin sisters Malyne and Alyne Hazard, two of the late kendo master’s four daughters, he had a hand in creating several kendo dojo in Northern California, as well as establishing kyudo (archery) and naginata […]

Shirley Muramoto’s ‘Hidden Legacy’ to explore arts in the wartime camps

Each year, more and more stories from the World War II American concentration camps are shared, broadening the public’s awareness about the long-term effects mass incarceration has had on the Japanese American community. Stories about people like Fred Korematsu, the Heart Mountain draft resisters and the “No-Nos” are esteemed within the community for their strong […]

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 […]

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