Meet Kiyomi – My Tsukasa Taiko: Member Testimonials Series 012

Meet Kiyomi, our Gintenkai Leader!

  1. Why did you choose Tsukasa Taiko?

I joined Tsukasa 12 years ago with my two younger brothers as a cultural extracurricular activity that all three of us could partake in. In 2002 I had graduated from my Futabakai Japanese Saturday School and was looking for a whole new “Japanese” experience to pursue. After watching the founder of Tsukasa Taiko perform at my high school cultural showcase, I was convinced that taiko was it. I’m so glad to be a part of the group today because since then I’ve been able to share multiple stages with truly incredible artists and accomplish goals that no other taiko groups have ever achieved. It’s exciting to know that Tsukasa is the artistic taiko pioneer in the Midwest.  

  1. Please share your most memorable Tsukasa moment.

I have countless memorable Tsukasa moments but Taiko Legacy 10 is one of my absolute favorites. It marked a milestone for us as we presented our 10th anniversary show of the Taiko Legacy concert series at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition, our executive director had put together Reduction, a unique, poetic, art-focused presentation that explored the idea of collaborative storytelling. I enjoyed rehearsing and performing for both shows that were different as night and day. I love that Tsukasa is able to present an entertaining, exciting, percussion and choreography-based traditional drumming show as well as a creative, theatrical, performance art show that seamlessly fuses multiple artist works. I really don’t think I can experience that anywhere else.

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

I’d like to collaborate with new events and artists and would also like to host a Tsukasa taiko intensive camp! Last year’s Reduction showcase opened my eyes to new possibilities, and I would love for Tsukasa to perform at gallery exhibition openings, work with filmmakers and photographers, inspire designers and visual artists, and dive even further into the greater Chicago or Midwest art scene. We often explore musical journeys crossing into the genres of jazz, blues, Japanese traditions (naturally…) but I’d love to seek opportunities where we can combine audio, visual, and performance art. Another dream for me is to have a taiko intensive “camp” featuring our youth and senior students where we can perfect routines, experiment with improvisations, challenge ourselves, and build team spirit. Most of us already know each other and bond during community performances but I’ve love to take it to another level where students are able to come up with their own productions under instructor guidance and ongoing mentoring sessions.