Oakland Taiko started as an Oakland-based taiko class for children by Yuri Morita under the guidance of Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka. When Yuri left for Japan, the assistant director Susan Horn became the instructor and in 1998, established the group as Emeryville Taiko. As this group grew and evolved, it became a non-profit, registered 501(c)(3) organization. After 25 years, Emeryville Taiko is transitioning to a new name to reflect where we’ve practiced and learned for the past decade – Oakland Taiko.
Roots and Renaissance
1400 years of tradition meets jazz
Taiko drumming is an exciting modern art form with ancient roots. With origins in the religious ceremonies and folk festivals of Japan, modern "kumi-daiko" style emerged starting with the work of a single artist, jazz drummer Daihachi Oguchi in 1951. Spreading rapidly in Japan in the following decades, kumi-daiko has experienced a worldwide renaissance that began in the 1960s and continues to grow today.
Taiko in North America
San Francisco, 1968
Inspired by the lack of taiko at Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco, Seiichi Tanaka founded the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, first in the US. Since then Taiko dojos have been developed in LA (1969), San Jose (1973), and by now, hundreds of groups are active all over the continent.
Handmade by members
Many of our drums are hand-built by dojo members and other volunteers who also maintain our collection of drums and equipment. Other drums have been gifted to us, or loaned to us, by our supporters and our community.
A tradition of innovation
Our vast and ever-changing repertoire includes songs taught to us by visiting instructors, compositions by our senior students, permissioned pieces from other goups, and "open source" arrangements offered by the greater taiko community.
Donations support our mission to bring the joy of taiko to more people and events in our communities. All donations are tax deductible. As a designated "public charity" under section 509(a)(2), your donations may be tax deductible up to 60%.
Oakland Taiko © 2023 a 501(c)(3) non-profit