This is a report submitted by Elise Fujimoto, event coordinator. Jun Daiko was a recipient of a 2018 TCA Mini-Grant to support a Bay Area Buddhist Temple Taiko Gathering.
On Saturday April 14th, 2018, 100 taiko players, instructors, volunteers, and supporters convened at Mountain View Buddhist Temple in Mountain View, California for the first Bay Area Buddhist Taiko Gathering (BTG). The event attracted a diverse array of taiko players from near and far, with attendees from as far away as San Diego, Placerville, and Chicago.
BTG was organized by members of Jun Daiko (Mountain View Buddhist Temple), TaikoSOBA (Palo Alto Buddhist Temple) and Jiten Daiko (San Francisco Buddhist Temple). All three groups are comprised of post collegiate, or former community and professional taiko players looking for a way to continue their taiko practice. The groups all have negotiated agreements with their respective temples that involve an exchange of teaching and community involvement for use of practice space and taiko equipment.
Many Buddhist temples are currently experiencing a drop in membership and are looking for ways to attract and engage their members. By developing a stronger Buddhist Taiko community and taiko curriculum that aligns and helps teach the Buddhist Dharma, we can support the temple communities in their efforts to increase engagement.
“Some of us come from Buddhist backgrounds, and others don’t.” explains BTG Coordinator, Elise Fujimoto “However, we’re now in a situation where we are teaching Buddhist taiko.”
Thanks to a mini-grant from the Taiko Community Alliance, BTG featured keynote speaker Rev. Masao Kodani and instructors Johnny Mori and George Abe from Kinnara Taiko based at the Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles. One of the highlights of the weekend was an 80 person workshop led by the three keynote guest instructors.
Through gatherings like this, we encourage the exchange of best practices and resources that can help such relationships form and thrive.