Traditional Japanese Taiko
The taiko group Yoki Daiko, is based at the Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters of North America in Los Angeles, California (Dendocho). Yoki Daiko is a community music group that practices and performs traditional Japanese taiko along with contemporary interpretations of this dynamic art form. Established in 1996, Yoki Daiko is comprised of members of the local Tenrikyo diocese and people who just simply love to play taiko!
Currently, the members in Yoki Daiko come from various backgrounds, but come together every week to practice their love for taiko. The group originally started with practically all members of the Tenrikyo Church, and as Yoki Daiko’s reputation has spread, most of the members come from outside of the diocese.
Members of Yoki Daiko hold a seasonal children’s program called Chibi Taiko. Established in 2001, Chibi Taiko students learn the fundamentals of taiko and the principles of working together as one to create powerfully rhythmic music. At the end of the program, a recital is held to showcase what the children were able to accomplish.
Regarding the role Yoki Daiko plays in the Tenrikyo mission, it can be summarized within the original goals established for Yoki Daiko when it was formed:
- To gather those with a mutual interest and love for taiko.
- To nurture the youth of our diocese through taiko and develop traits of self-discipline, mutual respect, and harmony.
- To be a form of spreading the fragrance of the Tenrikyo teachings by attracting non-Tenrikyo people of all ethnicities.
- To spread joy and provide community and cultural service through taiko performances and workshops.
The last goal, “To spread joy through taiko,” is what Yoki Daiko strives for within each performance it gives in front of the audience and community. It is as an opportunity to share with others the joy and gratitude for being able to perform taiko for them. Indeed, the expression of spirited joy and thankfulness are fundamental principles in Yoki Daiko. No matter how much fun you yourself may have in playing taiko, if the people watching cannot share in that joy, then it becomes a self-serving act where the essence of playing taiko is lost.