Board of Directors


Derek Oye

Derek Oye (Chair), Health Systems Manager, Primary Care Systems, American Cancer Society
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 over 4 years of experience in nonprofit and community work, and is currently a Board Fellow at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute through Kizuna’s Next Generation Leadership.


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. Alan chairs 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 eight 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.

Wisa UemuraWisa Uemura (Treasurer), Executive Director, San Jose Taiko
Wisa started her taiko journey with Stanford Taiko and served as Artistic and Administrative Director during her four years there. Beginning as a performing member with San Jose Taiko, 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.


Akemi ImaiAkemi Imai (Co-Secretary), President, Makoto Taiko
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 has been on Makoto Taiko’s Operations Committee from 2009-2014, and later 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 is currently studying to obtain a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at Antioch University Los Angeles.
Margaret McKentyMargaret McKenty (Co – Secretary)Technical Writer/Editor
Margaret is a long-time performing member and current President of Hinode Taiko Inc. (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.


Alysse itataniAlysse Itatani (Executive Committee), Accounting Technician, 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 Reverend Shuichi “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.


Elise Fujimoto (1)Elise Fujimoto
, Project Manager, 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.


Jane LinJane LinProject Engineer, Rudolph and Sletten

Jane first saw taiko at a Stanford Admit Weekend performance and was in awe by the artistic, athletic, and musical nature of taiko. She played with Stanford Taiko for 5 years before becoming an active member of the Taiko Community Alliance. She is currently serving as Co-Chair of the Programming Committee and lead for the TCA Collegiate Taiko Advisory Group.


Rome HamnerRome Hamner, Development and Communications Manager, Silicon Valley Urban Debate League
A certified Off 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, CA, Kristy Oshiro’s Queer Taiko, and is an activator in PJ Hirabayashi’s TaikoPeace movement


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.

After graduating from Rutgers University, Tamiko had the opportunity to travel to Japan with the Japan Exchange Teaching Program. While in Japan, she played with local community taiko groups and was able to participate in workshops dedicated to various styles of Japanese drumming such as Chichibu Yatai Bayashi and Miyake daiko. Through the years, Tamiko has performed at various venues including the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C. She organized Taiko Tsunami 2, a major concert featuring both Hoh Daiko and Soh Daiko along with world-renowned Yoshikazu and Yoko Fujimoto of KODO.

Toni YagamiToni Yagami, Founder, Taiko with Toni
Toni has a B.A. in Music Ed. and started playing taiko in 1978 with Denver Taiko, moved to California in 1988 to join San Jose Taiko as staff and performer, returned to Denver in 1995 and started Taiko with Toni.  She was a participant of the RhythMix trip to Sado in 2001 which became KasaMix in 2003, and was the trip coordinator in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.


Wynn KiyamaWynn Kiyama, Executive Director, Portland Taiko
Wynn started playing taiko with San Jose Junior Taiko and performed with Soh Daiko in New York City for ten years. He practices Japanese classical dance with the Tachibana School of Nihon Buyou and his research into bon odori (obon dance) in America has been shared in workshops, conference presentations, a CD, and museum exhibit. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology from New York University and has taught at Rutgers University, Westminster Choir College, Columbia University, Colby College, and Portland State University (PSU). He currently leads the Japanese street music band Happyfunsmile, directs the PSU Taiko Ensemble, and serves as the Executive Director of Portland Taiko.