Hikari Taiko

Hikari Taiko

CA, United States

Founded 1978

Basic Information

    Cultural and Educational Purpose

Background Information

Group's Mission and Motivation

Combining the rich Japanese tradition along with the powerful heartbeat of the taiko drums and with the dynamic energy of our own expression, our message is to project love, harmony, understanding and cultural education; and to promote holistic wellness to the various multi-cultural communities.

Group History
Describe how, where, and why the ensemble was founded. What was its inspiration?

The founder of Hikari Taiko was Tak Murata in 1978 at the Southeast Japanese School and Community Center in Norwalk, California. The beat of the drums and group performance was the inspiration to start a taiko class at Norwalk. We were absolutely enthralled with the drums and had to start our own classes.

List of Founding Members

Tak Murata Stanley Morgan - Artistic Director (1978-1980) Mary Jane Mayeda - Artistic Director (1980-1990) Glen Mayeda, Janice Igarashi, Sandy Shimizu - Artistic Director (1980-1990), Judy Itani, Keiji Takasago, Toru Terasaki, and Sally Terasaki

List of Current Members

Mary Jane Mayeda - Artistic Director, Head Instructor (1996-current) Glen Mayeda - Artistic Director (1996-current) Janice Igarashi - Senpai Julie Koga - Artistic Director, Instructor (2003-current) Yoko Kawamura (Instructor), Gladys Kamikawa (Instructor), Kurt Hamra (Instructor).  Michael Lin, Juri Fujii,  Harriet Yamada, Joyce Kawahata, Annie Yu, Robie and Steve La, Rachel  and Susan Sunahara, Donna Inaba, Sharon Esparza, Angela Lopez, Rosy Nguyen, Lillian Kennedy, Connie Chung, Audry Takamiyashiro, Maggie Wang, Emily Odell, Shu-Hua Lin, Linda Kusuda, Helen Hikiji, Aaron Chiu, Lien Chiu, Chris Chiu, Lilli Chen, Christina Chang, Sandra Kirschner, Jenina Marcelo, Lisa Salazar, Mylene Perez, Miki Morales, Frank Yorita, Susan Nakafuji, Philip Loveridge, Sean Rabbitt, Sam Combes

Membership Composition
(i.e. ethnicity, generation, average years of experience, musical backgrounds, and motivation for playing)

Hikari membership consists of: Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, Filipino, Caucasian, and Hispanic. Most members have no prior musical background other than a few flute players, piano, and guitar. We accept all who wish to learn the art of taiko drumming. The motivation for the majority is hearing taiko, loving the sound of the drums and wanting to take classes to learn the art of taiko drumming.

Biggest Changes
Describe two of the biggest changes that have characterized the group's development since its founding

Biggest changes were: becoming a non-profit organization and adding 3 more classes and instructors.

Performances, Recordings, Publications

List a selection of your regular performance venues (for example, Denver Sakura Matsuri, Seabrook obon, business conventions, Manzanar Pilgrimage, Maui Marathon, etc.)

Autumn Festival at Long Beach Aquarium,  GlenFest Film Festival, Tanabata and Nisei Week Festival, Los Angeles Chinese New Year Celebration, Masters Award Ceremonies, La Mirada Celebration of the Park, SEJSCC Carnival, SEJSCC Annual Fund Raiser Dinner, Keiro Nursing Home

Audio & Video Recordings
List a selection of publicly accessible audio and/or video recordings featuring the ensemble.

Movie - Balls of Fury, released April, 2007

List a selection of articles, master's theses, dissertations, or other publications written about the ensemble.

CNN News on Hikari Taiko by Jessica Jang, The Art of Taiko Drumming & Hikari Taiko by Theresa Hu (Cal State Univerity, Long Beach) Hikari Taiko written by Matthew Arakaki (Japanese School paper, Norwalk, Ca) Poem, Sharing the Valuable Music of our Hearts by Robbie Schuldt (Hikari Taiko) Paper and video tape on Hikari Taiko written by Cal State, Long Beach college student)

Signature Works
Please include title, composer, date of composition, special reason(s) for composition, and what the work represents to the group.

Chikara (Power) - written by Mary Jane Mayeda 1983 Isshin Daiko - written by Mary Jane Mayeda 1985, modified by Julie and Howard Koga (Describes the harmony of "one heart" in the spirit of togetherness) Mokosanjuso - written by Moko Igarashi, modified by Mary Jane Mayeda & Julie Koga 1999. (depicts the fun, joy, laughter of children playing. Takara Bune - written by Mary Jane Mayeda 1985 revised and choreographed by Julie Koga in 2008 (story about pirates who find a treasure chest and celebrates their find) Omoide (Remembrance) - written by Lloyd Nakano 2002 Nettai U Rin - Tropical Rain Forest - written by Mary Jane Mayeda 1997 Shamodama - written by Mary Jane Mayeda 2004 (means bubbles), Karifornia no Nami written by Julie Koga Jan 2013 (depicts the California waves and kids playing in the surf), OKE Lovers written by Yoko Kawamura 2013 (Okedo piece), Spirit of the Warrior written by Julie Koga 2015 (depicts strength and persistence of warriors), Acceleration written by Gladys Kamikawa 2015.


MaryJane Mayeda


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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation