Taiko Club Marches to the Beat of Its Own Drum

Nicholas Hung, Staff Writer

Strong reverberating beats echo throughout the music quad as Taiko Club practices Japanese drumming, bringing multiple drummers together to create one sound. The sounds of their Monday lunch meetings ring from classroom 304, resonating through the bodies of everyone nearby.

Club president and freshman Yasmin Fukushima created Taiko Club this year and teaches patterns and techniques of Japanese drumming to a close group of students. Developed over many centuries, Taiko is deeply rooted in Japanese culture, and performances are commonly seen at Lunar New Year or other cultural holidays.

Fukushima has taken weekly Kibou Taiko classes at Tanaka Farms since the end of seventh grade and wants to share her art with fellow students.

“I’m Japanese, but I was born in Brazil. Taiko is how I feel more related to my Japanese culture,” Fukushima said.

While the club initially practiced with improvised drums fashioned out of large paint buckets, the club currently practices with short wooden drums purchased by Fukushima, adding to their authenticity as an aspiring Taiko group.

A few of the club members share a unique cultural connection to Taiko and joined to explore a new art form as well as a rich cultural activity with many years of proud history.

“It was something different that I’ve never done before, and because I’m Japanese-American, I feel like I can relate to my culture,” club member and junior Alyssa Kido said.

As a performance group, Taiko Club is looking forward to this year’s eighth grade family night on April 15, where they can make themselves known as one of the many cultural clubs on campus. They are currently working on a more complex demonstration with highly advanced techniques, “Shiawase,” and hope to have it ready for performance in front of the incoming freshman class.

As the tight-knit group continues to practice diligently, they hope to introduce more students to the art and share the club’s hard work with an even larger audience. Fukushima said she hopes that interested students will not hesitate to join.

“I think Taiko, other than being a Japanese art, is also a good way to get closer to the other drummers and get to know each other while having fun,” Fukushima said.

Taiko not only blends the sounds of multiple drums together, but also transforms drummers from individuals to a united group of performers with a single shared goal of sharing their art with their community.