As the 花見 (hanami) season reaches its peak, Nichi Bei Weekly’s publication from the week of April 4th included an article on the burgeoning taiko culture in North America. Written by Tomo Hirai, the article focuses on the career of Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka, an important figure in spreading the kumi-daiko style across the United States, and the resulting taiko community which thrives in and around San Francisco. (Gen Ryu Arts, Tsukasa’s sister dojo and affiliate, is listed as one of the active groups in the area at the end of the article as they reside in Japan Town at JCCCNC)
While the focus is on taiko culture in the West Coast, Hirai recognizes Tsukasa Taiko’s important role as part of the history of taiko in the Midwest. He takes the time to interview our director Tatsu Aoki and includes quotes discussing the Tsukasa as the first community group to do public concerts (in large scale and artistic venues) in Chicago. But there also seems to be a slight misunderstanding of Tsukasa’s aesthetics of taiko.
Tsukasa Taiko has a profoundly different aesthetic and agenda regarding the representation and presentation of taiko. Our goal is to distinguish ourselves from the commercial world of taiko and uphold the integrity of taiko as a traditional fine art. That is not to say that kumi-daiko or any of the accomplishments of other groups is to be overlooked, because the joy of taiko is a mutual feeling among us all. However, we do strive to intellectualize our practice as an art form that stays true to the core essence of Japanese Culture.
Tsukasa Taiko appears on pages 4 and 5 of the NICHI BEI WEEKLY E-EDITION.