Nen Daiko

Nen Daiko

Fairfax Station, Virginia , United States

Founded Fall 1994

Basic Information


Background Information

Group's Mission and Motivation

Nen Daiko is a taiko group based at the Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax Station, VA. The purpose of Nen Daiko is four-fold:

1) Expose others to the cultural and musical aspects of taiko.
2) Continuously improve the group's technical and artistic caliber.
3) Enhance personal fulfillment through participation.
4) Be mindful of the Buddha Dharma and its relationship to all elements of taiko.

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

The organizational structure is made up of the executive director whose function is to be a liason between the Ekoji Board of Directors and Nen Daiko.

Goals to help Nen Daiko achieve purposes:
1) Establish and maintain the group's style.
2) Structure rehearsals to ensure everyone learns.
3) Close the gap in playing ability by involoving everyone in learning and teaching basics.
4) Involve everyone in the decision making process.
5) Distribute responsibility among members to provide opportunities for leadership.

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

In the summer of 1994, Beth Fujishige, a member of Ekoji, presented the idea of staring a taiko group at the temple. With the support of then Rev. Kenryu Tsuji, funding was provided by the Ekoji Board of Directors to build the first taiko. By the fall of 1994, 5 taiko were built and through Beth's planning, Nen Daiko had their first training session led by Merle and Alan Okada of Soh Daiko from the New York Buddhist Temple. Rev. Tsuji named the taiko group Nen Daiko. The word "Nen" stands for the "Nembutsu"--the reciting of Amida Buddha.

List of Founding Members

Beth Fujishige
Ruth Vines
Greg Nakamura
Maya Nakamura
Kevin Vines
Gabrielle Vu
Alexandra Vu
Lauren Kondo
Gerald Nagatani
Chrisopher Arnold
Wakana Radliffe
Roger Radliffe (taiko builder)

List of Current Members

Ruth Vines
Greg Nakamura
Sachiko Tomomatsu
Emily Ihara
Wally Christensen
Hiroko Makabe
Diane Miyasato
Lya Tomomatsu
Lyna Tomomatsu
Joceline Vu
Josh Chamot

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

The age range is 16-54 years of age. We have an average of 10 years of experience. Several people in the group do have musical backgrounds most of whom are instrumentalists .
Our goals are to work on our technique and present the best program possible. Most importantly, we want to project to the audience the joy we feel when we play taiko.

Description of the group's community - regional, ethnic, social, etc.

Northern Virginia is part of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. The entire region is very diverse and we have had opportunities to perform predominately for festivals as cultural events throughout the area.

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

Nen Daiko began as a temple activity. We are now focusing our energies towards Nen Daiko as a performing group. Because of groups such as Soh Daiko of New York and Hoh Daiko of Seabrook, NJ, we have been able to continue our growth as a performing group. Nen Daiko members interact truly as a sangha (community). Nen Daiko has no paid staff. All honorariums are used as donations to Ekoji and to purchase new equipment.

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.)

Japan America Commerce Association "Akimatsuri"
National Cherry Blossom Festival, Tidal Basin
Sakura Matsuri
Ekoji Buddhist Temple Obon
Seabrook Buddhist Temple Obon
Cherry Blossom Festival events
Elementary School cultural programs

Instructors, Teachers & Mentors
List the instructors, teachers and mentors who have worked with the ensemble.

Members of Soh Daiko of New York
Members of Hoh Daiko of Seabrook, NJ
Kenny Endo
San Jose Taiko
Portland Taiko's Rachel Ebora

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

Yamabiko 1999 Ruth Vines, choreographed by Paul Bodnar & Amiko Matsumoto
Composed as a fun, celebration piece.

Shiawase 2003 Greg Nakamura
Written in honor of a couple married at the Ekoji Buddhist Temple.


Ruth Vines
6500 Lake Have Lane


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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation