Teaching drumming to the masses

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Taiko club shares its love of traditional Japanese drum by performing for campus


Justin Ngo
Taiko members and other performers are on the stage at the Tacoma Dome on Feb.10 for the Asian Pacific New Year festival.

Pierce College is a diverse environment with a high level of involvement from international students. A variety of international clubs have been established to share and welcome different cultures. One of the outstanding clubs is taiko, where everyone can come and study how to play the taiko drum.

The taiko club was established by Yoshi Yabe, a Pierce College international student from Japan. The original name is “taiko and culture club,” however, it is known as “taiko club” for short.  Taiko refers to a traditional drum in Japan. The drum performance is usually played at festivals and concerts.

The club started last quarter and has been developing successfully. Some of the main activities in the club are introducing the taiko drum, learning how to play this Japanese instrument and practicing for performances.

The purpose of this club, according to Yoshi, is to “involve everyone with their culture, but the main thing is playing taiko. We want to know more about other cultures and introduce Japanese culture to the others.”

Yoshi, along with students Hisa Sugiyama, Asuka Ito, Mami Danjo, Nana Hiramatsu, Takuya Masutani and Haruka Asakura, lead the club with the most taiko drum experience. They have played this instrument for three years, starting in high school in Japan.

Yoshi and his friends first started the club by borrowing taiko drums from Stadium High School. At the moment, there are more than 50 students who are interested in the taiko club and around 15 to 20 students who are regularly learning and practicing the taiko drum.

Yoshi said their biggest accomplishment thus far was performing in the International Students’ Appreciation Night last quarter and the club has grown in popularity since. They closed the 20th annual Asia Fest on Feb. 10 in the Tacoma Dome. The most recent presentation was at the Lunar New Year celebration held in the Performance Lounge Feb. 16