SF Koto Group Hanaikada have been sharing our Koto music with residents of nursing homes, patients in hospitals and library audiences in the San Francisco bay area. We also participated in local events such as Sakura Matsuri and Japan Day. We enjoy being able to share our koto performance.
Rochelle Paula Lum, a native San Franciscan graduated in Theatre Arts with emphasis in scenic design and puppetry. She has traveled and lived abroad in Japan studying their folk art culture and theatrical arts (ie Kabuki and Bunraku). She worked /studied traditional Bunraku and modern puppet construction at a puppet company in Japan.
It was during a Cherry Blossom Festival 30 years ago that she saw a Washi Ningyo Japanese Paper Doll demonstration by instructor Yurie Nakamura and decided to learn the art from her. This eventually lead to team teaching the art with her.
There is a uniqueness to the art of Japanese Paper Doll making. One could learn Japanese history and culture through the making of a single doll and at the same time see how the paper/dolls come alive through simple hand manipulations. There is a certain unexplainable beauty in this process.
In order to keep, preserve and share the Japanese Art of Washi Ningyo, it needs to be shown and taught. The support of JCCCNC in the heart of Japantown has allowed this to happen.
Many who came to see or learn, are from different walks of life and places. They may live close or travel from afar. But all who cross this path will leave with a smile knowing they experienced something very special.
A San Francisco native, Linda Tomoko Mihara began her lifelong Origami journey at age 5. She is the granddaughter of Tokinobu Mihara, author of two of the first books on Origami written in English in the early 1950’s.
Linda received the 2015 Asian Pacific American Heritage Award from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee for her work in Origami design and for her contributions to the Asian Pacific American community. She has won awards for her innovative Origami art, including the Award of Excellence, the Juror’s Award, and Awards of Merit from the California State Fair Fine Art Compititions. Her professional folding is used in both private and commercial work; she appears at conventions and events around the world. Her clients include Pixar, Hermés of Paris, Chanel, Industrial Light and Magic, Chloe, Louis Vuitton and Seiko. Linda has created origami for TVcommercials for Disney, McDonald’s, Mitsubishi Motors, Clear Haircare and Febreze. She has curated many Origami exhibits including most recently at the National History Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.
While she continues her creative work in Origami, Linda manages Paper Tree, the family business in San Francisco’s Japantown. This year marks the 51tst anniversary of the business, which started in 1968 when the Japanese Cultural Center opened in the redeveloped area called Nihonmachi. In 1974, Paper Tree moved to a new home on the historic Buchanan Mall, which is home to origami inspired fountains by Japanese American artist Ruth Asawa. In 2018, Paper Tree capped their 50th anniversary by becoming a San Francisco Legacy Business. The Paper Tree continues to serve the community by participating and supporting the various community events, including the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festivals and Nihonmachi Street Fairs.
Tsukasa Taiko is a program of Asian Improv aRts Midwest that offers taiko drum instruction, education, and performances. Its mission is to preserve, develop, and pass on the traditional concepts of Japanese art as a cultural legacy, while also expanding and evolving the art of taiko.
As a community group dedicated to understanding and strengthening Japanese American, Asian American, and Japanese identities, Tsukasa Taiko respects tradition while developing artistic excellence and connoisseurship. Nevertheless, Tsukasa Taiko’s programs are open to all. Its student and performing groups are composed of a range of ages from toddlers to grandparents, as well as representing an array of ethnicities. Tsukasa Taiko offers year round group music classes, private lessons, and a variety of special workshops for traditional Japanese musical instruments, including taiko, shamisen (3-stringed lute), and shinobue (bamboo flute) to all ages and skill levels.
As an active performing group, Tsukasa Taiko presents over fifty shows a year, both locally and internationally. Tsukasa Taiko offers classes, workshops, lectures, and demonstrations designed to teach how to play taiko, as well as to advance the understanding of the cultural arts as a reflection of a community’s heritage and legacy. It works closely with schools, companies, and corporations to provide special performances and presentations on the history of taiko and Japanese music. Tsukasa Taiko’s popular performing ensemble maintains an active local, national, and international performance schedule, including such prestigious venues as the Contemporary Museum of Art, the Steppenwolf Theater, the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Symphony Center, the Smithsonian, and the Malta International Theater Festival in Poland.
Tsukasa Taiko’s director, teachers, and staff are all dedicated professionals, recognized as world class, working artists. Director Tatsu Aoki is a world renowned, highly respected performing musician, composer, and recording artist, who works in traditionally based Japanese music as well as experimental and jazz idioms. Guest artist Noriko Sugiyama has returned to Chicago from Japan, having been granted a performing visa to work with Tsukasa Taiko. With its strong leadership and aesthetic vision, Tsukasa Taiko is positioned to further expand and advance Japanese art in Chicago, and to develop as a cultural beacon for the future.
Learn more at https://www.taikolegacy.com/
Melody Takata is Festival Director of Japan Week and the founder of GenRyu Arts. She is a multi-faceted artist trained in Japanese Classical Dance, Taiko and Shamisen. Sensei Takata has been performing for over 20 years in Japan and U.S.A. Takata grew up in the Japanese American community of Los Angeles with a rich experience in traditional arts. From age 8 she learned odori (Japanese dance) at the Nishi Hongwanji as part of the obon festival ritual (festival honoring ancestors). At age 10 she began formal study of Nihon Buyo (formal name for Japanese classical dance) at the Fujima School and has performed dance at numerous theater works under Madame Fujima Kansuma until age 20. From age 13 to 18 she studied shamisen with the Kineya School. At 15 she began studying and performing with Los Angeles Matsuri and at 20 traveled to Japan to study and later perform as a member of Tokyo’s O Edo Sukeroku Taiko, one of Japan’s most highly renowned taiko ensembles. Ms. Takata completed the ACTA master apprentice program for 2002-2003 on shamisen with Hideko Nakajima Sensei. Most recently, Ms. Takata has reestablished study with Madame Fujima Kansuma in Los Angeles to strengthen her integrity of Nihon buyo and to ensure a high standard of integration of odori into Gen Taiko’s repertoire.