San Jose Taiko

For 35 years, San Jose Taiko (SJT) has been mesmerizing audiences with the powerful, spellbinding and propulsive sounds of the taiko drums. Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, SJT performers express the beauty and harmony of the human spirit through the voice of the taiko as they strive to create new dimensions in Asian American movement and music.
San Jose Taiko was founded in 1973 by young Asian Americans searching for an artistic and musical outlet to convey their unique experiences as third generation Japanese Americans, or Sansei. Looking to Japan for inspiration, they selected the symbolic Japanese taiko or drum as their instrument of expression.
Taiko as a symbol holds much of the essence of the spirit of Japan, replete with continued possibilities, renewal and transformation.

In keeping with tradition, the practice and performance of taiko requires dedication, physical endurance, and a harmony and collective spirit. SJT has taken the essence and voice of the traditional taiko, and infused it with the vitality and freshness of their American spirit to create a dynamic and compelling Asian American art form. They use the power and beauty of taiko to transcend cultural barriers and to foster greater understanding of Japanese American culture. Taiko is so deeply a part of the traditions of the Japanese and the Shinto and Buddhist religions, that it can be considered the essence and the heartbeat of the Japanese spirit.
The spirit and essence of both rehearsal and performance require physical endurance, with running and exercise required of all members during practice sessions. All compositions performed by San Jose Taiko are written or arranged by members of the group. Composing, choreographing, designing and producing costumes, and handcrafting of the drums are part of the holistic process in which all members participate. Through this singleness of mind and spirit, harmony is achieved and the music rings with unity and clarity.
Individual members of San Jose Taiko have also toured with Kodo, Ondekoza, Miyarabi Taiko and the jazz/fusion group, Hiroshima.
San Jose Taiko regularly performs concerts and school residencies throughout the United States, Canada Japan and Europe.

In addition to performing, SJT conducts workshops, lecture demonstrations, and master classes as part of its outreach and educational activities. SJT offers taiko classes for over 80 students, it has nurtured and developed a Junior Taiko performing ensemble for ages 13-17.