Meet Kiku – My Tsukasa Taiko: Member Testimonials Series 007

Meet Kiku, a from the Cool Ladies / Arashi group. She is also part of Toyoaki Shamisen.

  1. Why did you choose Tsukasa Taiko?

I have studied Taiko for a number of years, including several years in Japan where I studied with Kenny Endo, a well-known Japanese American teacher and performer. He introduced me to his sensei from the Mochizuki school of nagauta, and I took up shime daiko and shamisen under this teacher. The experience in Japan changed and deepened my appreciation for traditional Japanese music. Upon returning to the U.S. I wanted to continue the learning I had begun in Japan. I started shamisen lessons under Tatsu Aoki and then joined the Tsukasa Taiko Arashi class. It is amazing to have such a teacher and resource here in Chicago, and the cross fertilization of shamisen and taiko is very enriching.

  1. Please share your most memorable Tsukasa moment.

I will describe the most recent, which was at the Holiday Delight festival at the Japanese American Service Committee. After two years with Tsukasa Taiko I felt I am beginning to appreciate its sense of community. Our performances began with the children’s groups, moved to our adult class, and ended with the performing group members. I felt very fortunate to have found such a community in which to continue learning and enjoying this art.

  1. What do you look forward to doing with Tsukasa in the future?

Aoki sensei has a strong vision for preserving the musical traditions he grew up with, while introducing creative influences from the modern age. He and the other teachers provide us with the opportunity to learn the most demanding, intricate and exciting pieces. I am looking forward to how far we can stretch and grow, individually and as a group.