About NATC



The North American Taiko Conference is the largest gathering of taiko practitioners in the world! August 18-21, more than 500 participants will converge on Stanford University for three days of workshops, discussion sessions, and taiko performances. The 2011 conference offers 48 workshops on a wide range of topics for players of all skill levels and interests. Attendees have access to the Taiko Marketplace, with drums and equipment from professional taiko makers. Two public performances, Taiko Ten and Taiko Jam, feature exciting music from across the taiko spectrum.

The North American Taiko Conference (NATC) is a biennial event, alternating locations between Los Angeles and other western-US cities. The conference has become an essential element of the taiko community, with workshops and discussion sessions for players of all levels. NATC also features public performances featuring a wide variety of taiko groups. The conference is attended by virtually all of the taiko community’s leaders, along with hundreds of players from around the world.

Started in 1997, the conference was first held in Los Angeles, hosted by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, with the mission of supporting the growth of taiko in North America.

NATC goals

  • Build a community of taiko groups in North America
  • Share traditions and repertoire
  • Support the artistic development of the art-form
  • Document North American taiko history

NATC Fiscal Sponsor: JACCC

The North American Taiko Conference is fiscally sponsored by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) of Los Angeles. The JACCC has played a critical role in the conference since its inception, providing organizational, logistical, and financial support to NATC regardless of conference location. JACCC houses the NATC Advisory Board, composed of taiko players and taiko advocates from across the nation to guide the NATC and related activities.

NATC Regional Host: San Jose Taiko and NorCal Taiko Network

San Jose Taiko is one of North America's premier taiko institutions, and an essential hub of the taiko community. San Jose Taiko is the host of the 2011 Taiko Conference, joined by the NorCal Taiko Network, a collection of 38 groups committed to the successful completion of the 2011 Taiko Conference. The following groups have pledged resources to make NATC 2011 a reality.

Diablo Taiko, Eden Aoba Taiko, Emeryville Taiko, Fresno Gumyo Taiko, Grass Valley Taiko, Ichimi Daiko, Jun Daiko, Maze Daiko, Mountain View Buddhist Temple Taiko, Onami Taiko, Palo Alto Buddhist Temple Adult Taiko, Palo Alto Buddhist Temple Dharma Taiko, Sacramento Taiko Dan, Sandoshin Taiko, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, San Jose Taiko, Shasta Taiko, Shinsei Daiko, Sonoma County Taiko, Stanford Taiko, Stockton Bukkyo Taiko, Taiko Ren, Wadaiko Newark, Watsonville Taiko

NATC Executive Committee

Roy Hirabayashi, San Jose Taiko
Johnny Mori, Kinnara Taiko
Alan Okada, Soh Daiko
Stan Shikuma, Seattle Kokon Taiko

Advisory Council

Anthony Jones
Ron Miyamura
Iris Shiraishi
Wisa Uemura
Linda Uyechi

About Taiko

“Taiko” is the Japanese word for drum. In an English context, taiko is used to refer to the art-form of ensemble Japanese drumming, more technically called kumidaiko. Although the drums have existed for thousands of years and are part of a wide variety of Japanese cultural, religious, and musical traditions, use of the drums as the focus of the ensemble emerged in the early 1950′s. Osuwa Daiko, formed by jazz drummer Daihachi Oguchi, is generally considered to be the first kumidaiko (ensemble taiko) group, and the art-form spread quickly throughout Japan. In the United States, San Francisco Taiko Dojo was formed in 1968, followed soon after by Kinnara Taiko in Los Angeles, and then San Jose Taiko. There are now hundreds of community, university, youth, and professional groups around the world.