Hase Mikita was born and raised in Shizuoka, Japan and began playing taiko at age 8. By age 23, Hase was playing taiko professionally, teaching children taiko, composing original pieces, and entering taiko competitions.
Starting his professional career in 1998, Hase became a disciple of Eitetsu Hayashi, a pioneer of the solo taiko performance style. He still continues to tour as one of the core members of Eitetsu’s ensemble ‘Eitetsu FU-UN no KAI.’
Hase founded two taiko groups: “Ryu-in Daiko” (Dragon-Sound Taiko Ensemble) at Shizuoka National University and, in 2000, “Yo-Soro.” Hase is currently the composer and artistic director of Yo-Soro. As a soloist, Hase has collaborated with various artists including Kabuki actors, Jazz musicians, classical symphonies, DJ’s, Samurai swordsmen, Spanish dance company, Butoh dance company and many others.
Ishindaiko is a taiko group founded in 2003, in Londrina, Brazil. The name ISHINDAIKO translates to “one-heart-drums”. The group always carried this philosophy, maintaining its union and forming the most awarded Taiko group in Brazil. Currently, the group is composed by 40 taiko players with ages between 8 and 28. The group’s most influential teachers are Yoichi Watanabe, Isaku Kageyama, Yukihisa Oda, Daihachi Oguchi, Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Yoko Fujimoto.
Born in St. Louis to a family of musicians, Kaoru Watanabe was classically trained on the (Western) flute and attended music school to further study the flute and saxophone. After moving to Japan, however, he joined the world-renowned KODO and eventually served as one of the group’s artistic directors. He now lives in New York where he runs his own taiko center. Along with Kenny Endo and Shoji Kameda, he is one of the founders of kaDON.
Karen is the founder, artistic director, and primary instructor of The Genki Spark. Since 2010, Karen has developed an ensemble of 20+ women and girls and has overseen the facilitation of numerous community and educational programs conducted in schools, universities, community organizations, and events.
Kenny Endo is one of the leading artists in contemporary percussion and rhythm. Although originally trained as a jazz musician, Kenny then worked with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, the first kumi daiko group outside of Japan. Kenny has the honor of being the first non-Japanese national to have received a natori (honorary stage name) in hogaku hayashi (classical drumming). He is a co-founder of kaDON.
Kris Bergstrom studied taiko at Stanford and then spent three years in Japan studying classical Japanese dance, Kabuki shamisen, and ensemble taiko before founding the highly-acclaimed contemporary taiko group, On Ensemble. As Head Instructor at LATI (Los Angeles Taiko Institute), Kris is dedicated to research of taiko pedagogy while continuing to compose and choreograph challenging new work.
Mark H. Rooney
A recent transfer to Washington DC, Mark has performed taiko around the world and led New England’s largest taiko group combining traditional elements of taiko with contemporary, hard-rocking style. He also builds drums!
Miles Endo is a former director of Gendo Taiko and the son of taiko master Kenny Endo. He graduated from RISD in 2006 with a degree in industrial design and now runs a studio in Providence that makes serving boards, taiko drums, and furniture. He has been playing taiko since the age of 3 and has performed in Japan, the US, and parts of Europe.
Roy & PJ Hirabayashi
Roy and PJ are the founders of San Jose Taiko, which was founded in 1973 (4 years after Ondekoza, 8 years before KODO). The two were inducted as National Heritage Fellows by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011 in recognition of their lifelong work in Japanese-American music, cultural identity, and community building.
Soh Daiko was founded in 1979 as the first east coast taiko group by Mamoru “Mo” Funai, Alan and Merle Okada and Jim Moran. It is based in NYC and is currently made up of about 16 members. The group has performed across the US, in Canada, and Puerto Rico. They are known for their high energy and efficient group dynamics.
Stuart Paton grew up in Tokyo, started his Taiko study with Tanaka Sensei in 1984, and co-founded BurlingtonTaiko in 1986, and has been Sensei of the group since. His passion for teaching helps him talk a lot during his workshops! He has enjoyed learning to make all the drums for B.T.G., as well as trouble-shooting the acoustics bring to out the low-end, and dampen the ringing. Stuart enjoys teaching and driving, so please invite him to teach or perform in your area.
As founder and artistic director of three active taiko groups, Tiffany Tamaribuchi’s vitality reaches extremely diverse audiences throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. In the traditional taiko realm of Japanese-born male performers, she creates a new powerful voice with her multicultural heritage, youth, and feminine perspective.