Board of Directors


Derek OyeDerek Oye (Chair), Program Associate, The Rose Hills Foundation
Derek is currently a member of Kinnara Taiko of Senshin Buddhist Temple. He’s been honored to learn from Cal Raijin Taiko (Go Bears!), ICU Wadaiko, Yoki Daiko of Tenrikyo Church, Taiko Effect, Blazing Trails Taiko, the Los Angeles Taiko Institute, and UnitOne. Derek has experience in nonprofit and community work, and was a Board Fellow at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute through Kizuna’s Next Generation Leadership. (Contact:


Alan OkadaAlan Okada (Vice Chair), Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Citi Foundation (Retired)
Alan Okada and his wife Merle have played taiko to accompany Obon celebrations in New York, Seabrook, NJ and Washington, DC since the mid-1970’s and were founding members of Soh Daiko, the first taiko group on the East Coast of the United States. Alan chaired the Kodo Art Sphere America (KASA) board and served as an advisor for the Japanese American National Museum’s Big Drum exhibit. He served on the advisory committee for ten North American Taiko Conferences and the World Taiko Gathering.  He has worked as a muralist, graphic designer and community organizer. From 1991-2011, he worked in international corporate philanthropy at the Citigroup Foundation, retiring as vice president and chief administrative officer. He has served as vice chairman of the Advisory Council of the Leopold Kronenberg Foundation in Poland, treasurer for the Asian American Arts Alliance, and as a member of both the International Committee of the Council on Foundations and the national Corporate Advisory Committee of the American Red Cross. (Contact:

Akemi ImaiAkemi Imai (Co-Secretary), Certified Nonprofit Professional
Akemi began learning taiko drumming in 2001 with Makoto Taiko in Pasadena, CA and has served as Artistic Director and Artistic Coordinator for USC Kazan Taiko from 2007-2010.  Akemi served on Makoto Taiko’s Operations Committee from 2009-2014, and became President of the group after it obtained 501(c)3 nonprofit status in late 2014. She is a former Board Fellow of the Next Generation Leadership program organized by Kizuna and obtained a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at Antioch University Los Angeles in 2018. After serving as Makoto Taiko’s Executive Director for the past year, Akemi has relocated to the Bay area to explore new opportunities to expand her nonprofit professional experience.(Contact:

Margaret McKentyMargaret McKenty (Co – Secretary)Technical Writer/Editor
Margaret has been a long-time player, instructor and Board member for Hinode Taiko Inc. in Winnipeg, Canada. A founding member of the Winnipeg Early Music Society, she has performed in genres ranging from medieval/folk fusion to Renaissance madrigals to baroque opera and oratorios. She helped edit TCA’s Statement of Core Values and Guiding Principles and served on the Transition Committee and By-Laws subcommittee before joining TCA’s Board of Directors in June 2015. (Contact:


Alysse itataniAlysse Itatani (Executive Committee), Accounting Specialist, Riverside County SELPA
Alysse is a member of TaikoMix, based in Riverside, CA.  Her love of music started at the age of 9 with flute, and taiko when she studied at the University of CA, Riverside (UCR) through a class taught by the late Reverend Tom Kurai.  During her time at UCR, she befriended the future cofounders of TaikoMix while pursuing her B.S. in Business Administration.  Alysse joined TaikoMix in 2006 and led the group through the incorporation process as a non-profit organization.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of TaikoMix as Secretary, and remains an active performing member.  Her educational background includes professional certifications in Nonprofit Organization Management and Paralegal Studies. (Contact:


Elise Fujimoto (1)Elise Fujimoto
, Sr. Program Manager, Customer Experience, GuideSpark, Inc.
Elise served as Conference Coordinator for TCA’s inaugural, NATC 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada and Programming Consultant for NATC 2017 in San Diego, CA.  She was previously a member of the TCA Transitional Board and serves as co chair of the Programming and Communications Committees. In addition, Elise serves on the NATC and TCA Tech Committees.  Elise is a charter member of Jun Daiko, based in Mountain View, CA and serves as an instructor for the Mountain View Buddhist Temple Taiko group. (Contact:

Rome HamnerRome Hamner, General Manager, San Jose Taiko; Independent Teaching Artist and Performer
A certified Orff instructor with nearly 20 years experience, Rome is a teaching artist and taiko performer whose career includes 14 years as the co-director of Odaiko Sonora, the ensemble she co-founded in Tucson, AZ. Performing highlights include playing Odaiko for a crowd of 30,000 while suspended 200’ in the air and combining poi training and pyrotechnics to play with lit bachi, i.e., bachi that were set on fire on purpose. Rome believes passionately in the power of taiko to change lives and has developed 30+ unique curricula in Taiko and Orff-based general music for students of all ages. Rome holds a Masters in Public Administration and currently plays with Taiko SOBA in Palo Alto, California and Kristy Oshiro’s Queer Taiko, is an activator in PJ Hirabayashi’s TaikoPeace movement, and leads in-school taiko residencies in the south San Francisco Bay Area. (Contact:


Tamiko OokaTamiko Ooka, Account Executive, National Tenant Network
Tamiko began learning the art of Japanese drumming in 1990 with instruction from Reverend Ron Miyamura of the Midwest Buddhist Temple and Soh Daiko. She is a founding member of Hoh Daiko, a Japanese drumming group established in 1991 and affiliated with the Seabrook Buddhist Temple in southern New Jersey. Tamiko has served as both artistic director and manager for Hoh Daiko and is still an active member. Tamiko became a member of Soh Daiko from 2002-2004 and 2011- present.  She currently serves as Chairperson for Soh Daiko in New York City.  (Contact:


Wisa UemuraWisa Uemura, Executive Director, San Jose Taiko
Wisa started her taiko journey with Stanford Taiko in 1994 and served as Artistic and Administrative Director during her four years there. Beginning as a performing member with San Jose Taiko in 1998, she has also held the positions of Artistic Staff and General Manager, and was instrumental in the development and execution of San Jose Taiko’s successful leadership succession plan before taking on the Executive Director position in 2011. She served on the advisory committee for the 2011 North American Taiko Conference and the 2013 World Taiko Gathering while helping found TCA. (Contact:


Toni YagamiToni Yagami, Founder, Taiko with Toni
Toni started playing taiko in 1978 with Denver Taiko and moved to California in 1988 to join San Jose Taiko as a staff member and performer. She returned to Denver in 1995 and founded Taiko with Toni, an enterprise that allows her to apply the skills from her B.A. in Music Education to share taiko with the local community, especially schools, and provides an outlet for her handiwork, as she crafts custom bags for taiko and other instruments. Toni has shared her taiko energy as a participant of the RhythMix trip to Sado in 2001 (now KasaMix since 2003), was the trip coordinator in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014, taught workshops at the 2005 and 2007 NATCs, and initiated and curates the TCA Partners Program. (Contact: