Etsuo Hongo

Taiko player. Founded five taiko groups in Southern California

The reason he came to the United States (Japanese) First taiko performance in the United States (Japanese) Differences in taiko style (Japanese) Originality of each taiko group (Japanese) Benefits of living in the United States (Japanese) Promoting group identity through taiko contests (Japanese) Taiko's sounds as Japanese cultural tradition (Japanese)

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Etsuo Hongo, a shin-issei, was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He began his taiko training there, and was exposed to the idea of taiko in the United States when he read a 1968 Japanese newspaper article about San Francisco Taiko Dojo. Almost immediately after he came to the United States in 1973, he searched out a place to play taiko. He attended the Long Beach Buddhist Temple obon, where he was given his first opportunity to play taiko in this country. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to South America, where he spent the subsequent year visiting various Nikkei communities and continuing to play taiko in local festivals.

After his travels in South America, Mr. Hongo decided to return to the United States where he started his gardening business. In 1977, he established Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko. He now has five groups--totaling some 100 students. The other four groups are L.A. Mugen Taiko (est. 1988), Venice Koshin Taiko (est. 1992), L.A. Taiko Okida Gumi (est. 1996), and El Marino Rainbow Taiko, an elementary school program for 2nd through 5th graders. (April 1, 2005)

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