San Diego Taiko

San Diego Taiko

San Diego, California, United States

Founded 2004

Basic Information


Background Information


Established in 2004, San Diego Taiko is a group dedicated in building member skills and a diverse performance repertoire. Our mission is to share our passion for taiko with the San Diego community through performances and workshops, and to provide an opportunity for local taiko players to hone their abilities.

Describe the ensemble's organizational structure and philosophy, including leadership structure, membership policy, and instructional process.

San Diego Taiko’s structural development has been organic and we currently run based on consensus. Two founding members with considerable prior experience with other taiko groups serve as practice leaders and coordinators. However, every member is encouraged to share in the teaching. Membership is based on an individual’s prior experience and ability to learn quickly. Individuals who are interested in joining attend one of our more formal instructional classes which can lead toward trainee status. Our rehearsals proceed along fairly traditional lines inspired by groups we previously studied with: a typical practice consists of stretching and warmup and basic taiko exercises working on form, rhythm and group playing followed by work on current pieces (restricted to members, with others invited to watch and learn).

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

In the spring of 2004, Kathy Fuller moved to San Diego bringing with her a beautiful new set of five taiko made by Toshi Kato. Separately, John Iversen and flutist Akiko were laying plans to begin a taiko group in June of the same year. Finally, in the summer of 2004 they got together and San Diego Taiko was born. The group holds bi-weekly rehearsals and private beginners’ workshops, which have grown enormously, through word of mouth. The group has performed at community functions, festivals, sporting events, corporate events and private engagements. San Diego hosted its first concert, DrumSTRONG on Feb. 1, 2007. DrumSTRONG was a huge success, gathering a crowd of taiko fans and friends from many different backgrounds. DrumSTRONG was a collaboration between San Diego Taiko and Sene Africa, in 2008 DrumSTRONG2 featured Super Sonic Samba School and in 2010 DrumSTRONG3 featured LeiIsa.


  • Kathy Fuller
  • John Iversen
  • Chikako Iversen
  • Brian Pound
  • Eric Franchomme


  • Victoria Chu
  • Margo Evans
  • Kathy Fuller
  • Chris Huynh
  • John Iversen
  • Eric Franchomme
  • Kamille Franchomme
  • Carrie Kishimoto
  • Bobby Koga
  • Chelsey Koga
  • Stephanie Toeroek
  • Nao Umemura
  • Yasuo Umemura


List the instructors, teachers and mentors who have worked with the ensemble.

We owe a great debt to our original teachers from Soh Daiko and Odaiko New England. Soh Daiko: The senior members of Soh Daiko, especially Alan and Merle Okada, Teddy Yoshikami, Sandy Ikeda, Jennifer Wada, Choony Lee and John Ko Odaiko New England: Elaine Fong Individuals who have worked directly with San Diego Taiko: Noel Garcia


San Diego, CA, US


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