Meet Naomi – My Tsukasa Taiko: Member Testimonials Series 010

Meet one of our longtime Tsukasa Mamas, Naomi whose three kids (Kiyomi, Koji, Kenji) are part of the core members of the Gintenkai performance unit.

  1. Why did you choose Tsukasa Taiko?

Taiko groups in Chicago back then (2001~2002) belonged to different Japanese American temples. My family couldn’t commit to the temple to just learn Taiko, and we had always wished for an alternative option. Tsukasa was the only Taiko group that stood independently and wasn’t affiliated with any religious groups. We also knew the instructor and his students from watching their performances and really enjoyed their style. I knew I wanted my children to pursue the art of taiko drumming with Tsukasa because they had a different presence when they played at community venues.

  1. Please share your most memorable Tsukasa moment.

The first time we performed at the Chicago Cultural Center in front of 700 people for Taiko Legacy 3. The Cultural Center had to turn down incoming guests because our show was way over capacity! It was incredible to see how much the group had grown since when we first started, performing in the Preston Bradley Hall of the CCC in addition to stages at Japanese American community festivals and events.

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

I would like to have my kids learn from other Taiko artists. Really enjoyed the hands-on workshop with Shidara Taiko from Japan. It’s nice and exciting to see the performers in such a close range as well as to learn new skills and techniques from them. I believe it helps Tsukasa players to open up their perspective about taiko drumming, and what the similarities and differences are between groups and each respective styles.