An explosion of taiko nuts on Facebook

On Monday afternoon at approximately 4:00pm I thought “hmmm…  the new Facebook group features look great…  maybe there should be a North American Taiko Community group.”  So I hit the little create group button.  It was kinda cumbersome adding friends so I only added 20 or so people to the initial group but that was enough because in just over 24hours there were over 800 members.  Crazy!  It was like an explosion of taiko nuts on Facebook.

On Ensemble has recently been looking for a new studio and we’ve been clearing out our storage locker and trying to find new homes for some of our equipment that we don’t use.  A drummer friend of Maz and I from Mt. Shasta will be inheriting our trusty old van and Sam the director of the Yamasong short film will be taking two flight cases.  We also had 4 beautiful suwari dai that Kris has built during our college years.  We used them at Stanford Taiko and in the early On Ensemble years but they’ve been collecting dust for years.  So I took a picture of them and posted it to the group and in 5 minutes had new eager homes for the shime stands!

I’m pretty excited about this Facebook group as a possible hub of online activity for the North American Taiko Community.  The next step will be to figure out how we can turn all of this connectedness into something that will actually be useful for all those taiko nuts out there trying to start groups, make drums, write songs and even make a living with the art form.  What kinds of resources might be useful?  Can we actually pull our collective online energy and do something interesting?  Or will it just be a welcome break from work?

5 Responses to “An explosion of taiko nuts on Facebook”

  1. Jacob says:

    This is so great what you’ve done with an idea and a bit of effort.
    An idea that has occurred to me in the past, especially given that most taiko folks in N. America tend to be very progressive, is to work together across the continent to raise awareness of issues in our communities and contribute in meaningful ways when the opportunity presents. A passion of mine happens to be language endangerment and language revitalization in First Nations’ communities. The area that encompasses Vancouver, BC, Seattle, WA and extends into Oregon is considered one of five global “hot spots” for critically endangered languages. (Within 20 miles of my home I can count several communities who have less than 20 fluent speakers left, including one commnuity with only three speakers left.) Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico comprise another global “hot spot.”
    Of course, there are many other worthwhile causes that people in the taiko community support and I believe that if we all support each other, we can make an even greater impact than we will if working alone or in small groups.
    A little less egalitarian but also important might be the organization of workshop tours, especially for those of us orphan groups who have no sensei. Not only would this help us out, it would boost the income of those who have the skills to teach groups or individuals who are desperate for more training.
    So, thanks for starting this, eh. :)

    • shoji says:

      @Jacob Your work with endangered languages sounds interesting. I had no idea BC, Seattle, Oregon area was considered a hot spot for endangered languages. What is the strategy when a language gets down to 20 fluent speakers? Is it documentation in case it vanishes or do you try to increase the number of speakers somehow?

      I completely agree that if we poll resources and support each other great things can happen. The community that this art form has built in North America remains our strongest asset.

  2. karen young says:

    It’s so exciting to see so many taiko players in one place. What was the largest North America Taiko Conference we’ve had? Did we ever reach this size? One of the things that would be exciting to me would be to use FB as a tool to organize. I’m also interested in connecting with players that use the art form to promote social issues or connect with the community. One of the many, many things that has drawn me to taiko was hearing the early stories of KODO wanting to combat Westernization in Japan or the early JA taiko nuts in North America who fought for equality and the visibility of Asian American issues. After over a decade of performing with Odaiko New England, I recently spun off to collaborate with other community organizers to bring our art form to activist organizations, neighborhood centers, youth groups, and schools. I wonder how many others value these aspects of our community and how they continue to promote this part of our history? I think this Facebook group has tremendous value — our community has enough longevity that everything has been tried. If you have a question about something – post it and I bet you’ll get at least half a dozen answers. I look forward to us using this technology to strengthen and grow our community.

    • shoji says:

      @Karen I saw that you had some new taiko affiliations! Are you still playing with ONE or is it just Genkispark now? Let me ask you this… what do you think the viability of starting a community drum building grant might be? It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a bit now. Back in the day when my grandfather and all the JA farmers had to raise money for their businesses they would all pitch in to hep eachother out. They would pitch into to a pool of money and take turns using the money to grow their businesses. I was thinking we might be able to pull of a similar smaller scale thing for some of those people out there who are really struggling to build their first drum… The idea hasn’t fully formed but if we got 80-100 people involved who were willing to pitch in $5 every 3 months or so we could fund give $500 to a person wanting to start a group at their college and how cool would that be? I could go with one less Starbucks every 3 months to help grown the community a bit!

  3. dude,
    what i want to know is: You are letting go of Red Leader, the van, the institution??
    how will you get around and fight the Evil Empire?
    it is the passing of an era.
    i mourn.

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