Japan Week 2018!

Happy summer! Tsukasa just concluded our busiest June schedule with a Gintenkai/Tsukasa history trip to Japan followed by Genryu Arts’ Japan Week festival in San Francisco. Following up on a trip director Tatsu took two years ago with Tsukasa’s Cool Ladies group, we went again this year to learn about the roots of the Gintenkai music and artistic context that are the foundations of Tsukasa Taiko and the mission of Asian Improv aRts Midwest. About 20 members from Tsukasa and our sister group Gen Taiko joined us in Japan to meet with Tatsu’s mother, and participate in traditional cultural activities from tea ceremonies to a kabuki music workshop led by Tachibana Shijuro. Toyoaki shamisen had a group lesson with Grandmaster Kineya Chizuru’s students as well.

Then many of us went to San Francisco to play with GenRyu Arts at Japan Week. We learned three new songs that debuted during the weekend performance, along with shamisen performances by Grandmaster Chizuru Kineya and Toyoaki Sanjuro; dance performances by Fujima Shunojo and Fujima Yoshinojo; and taiko performances by Tsukasa Taiko and National Gintenkai Project. We have been invited by GRA for the past few summers but this year marks the first time we brought our young taiko players with us well. Our Gintenkai Captain Kioto was also part of Melody Takata’s art performances Boxes at Tatuchi house with Grandmaster Chizuru Kineya, Willaim Roper, Francis Wong, Tatsu Aoki and of course Melody.

Thank you to Melody Takata, GenRyu Arts for having us!

2017 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Happy Thanksgiving! As is our annual custom, Tsukasa began our day at the 2017 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade on WGN TV.  This year we had more of our chibikko players join us for our early morning show. Thank you to the parents who braved the morning cold and brought us a lovely Thanksgiving breakfast!

Follow the link below and fast forward to 1 hour mark to watch our performance!
Watch WGN-TV’s 2017 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade on-demand


Summer 2017 Enikki Diaries

The end of the year is almost upon us. Tsukasa has two more large performances: the anuual McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and of course our end of the year Taiko Legacy and Reduction concerts at the MCA. We just finished another busy yet successful summer season, from our Night Out in the Parks series to Mitsuwa’s Summer Bon Dance Festival. We of course had our San Francisco friends come to Chicago and we even recorded a new Gintenkai album! (Coming soon~)

This summer we decided to gave our students an enikki homework project. Enikki is a picture diary that is given to students over the summer to present their most memorable moments. So we had our students draw and write about their Tsukasa moments with the promise that one drawing would be printed onto a bag.

This year’s bag features our chibikko member Eita’s drawing!

Look through gallery to see all of our participating members’ drawings and memories!

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Taiko Legacy 14 and Reduction 5!

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We’re excited to be playing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago again this year, for our annual Taiko Legacy and Reduction shows! This year we will be welcoming a new guest, Nishikawa Koryu, who specializes in puppet theater. We will be hosting a workshop with him on Sunday, December 17 after our Taiko Legacy presentation.

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets online!


We also have a new Tsukasa number to answer any questions. Give us a call at 312-610-2581. You can purchase tickets on the phone as well.


News: Job Position at Asian Improv aRts Midwest

Asian Improv Arts Midwest seeks Visiting Instructor/Performer in
Chicago, IL (and other U.S. locations as needed)

Responsible for teaching classes that focus on Japanese cultural arts.
Organize and administer traditional arts programs in Japanese
classical dance and drumming. Responsible for assisting the operation
of the cultural arts organization. Manage cultural arts programs and
organize performances throughout the year. Establish clear objectives
for all lessons and projects, and communicate those objectives to
students. Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet
students’ varying needs and interests. This position involves teaching
elementary school level children.

Requires a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Cultural Arts, or a related
field, plus ten years of experience. Requires 6 years of experience in
Japanese traditional drumming arts and 6 years of experience in
performing with Japanese drumming ensembles. Requires fluency in
reading, speaking and writing in Japanese. Requires knowledge of
Japanese history, culture and social sciences. Requires knowledge of
traditional Japanese costuming and the ability to organize curriculums
for students. Requires Travel to domestic performance sites as needed.

Must also have authority to work permanently in the U.S. Applicants
who are interested in this position may apply online @
www.jobpostingtoday.com Ref # 30211.

Yoko Ono’s “Skylanding” Project

The legendary Ms. Yoko Ono has just unveiled her newest Skylanding sculpture in Chicago’s Jackson Park. It’s the first  permanent sculpture of hers in the Americas and initiated by Project 120, local nonprofit investing in Chicago’s public parks.

Tsukasa had the honor to take part in the many iterations of the project. Last summer we played for the groundbreaking ceremony to officiate the location of the sculpture. As the official music for the project, we spent some time at the Chicago Recording Company recording with The Miyumi Project -with special guest Dee Alexander- for the Skylanding album. The recording was a reinterpretation of Ms. Ono’s “Plastic Ono Band”  from the 1970s. The limited edition album was given away to those who attended the official unveiling ceremony which was held on October 17, 2016 at Jackson Park. The day concluded with an evening show by The Miyumi Project at the Stony Island Arts Bank with a surprise guest Rick Nielsen from rock band Cheap Trick!!

Tsukasa is honored to have been a part of such a wonderful and iconic project. Thank you!

Visit the project website here.

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Meet Mana – My Tsukasa Taiko: Member Testimonials Series 019

Meet Mana, one of our Chibikko members.

  1. Why did you choose Tsukasa Taiko?


  1. Please share your most memorable Tsukasa moment.

Evanston Ethnic Art Festival。司太鼓初デビューで、間違えたところもあったけれど、最後まで一所懸命頑張れたので。Oak Park Street Festival。「道産子」演奏初デビューで、特に緊張したのは、バチをフリップする所が上手にできたから、嬉しかった。

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

銀天界に入ってTaiko Legacyに出演してみたい。