Welcome to St. Olaf Taiko!

Welcome to the official website for St. Olaf College’s Taiko Drumming Group! This website’s purpose is to serve as a collection of past performance video clips, images, future performances information, and member resources. If you have any general questions about our Taiko group, or any issues with this website, please contact taikopr@stolaf.edu.

About Taiko Drumming and the St. Olaf Group

From Wikipedia:

Taiko has grown in the United States since coming over from Japan in the late 1960s.

The first American taiko group, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, was formed in 1968 by Seiichi Tanaka, a postwar immigrant who studied taiko in Japan and brought the styles and teachings to America. A year later, a few members of Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles were putting away a drum after an obon festival and decided to just have a jam session and after several hours of playing, they decided to form a group. Shortly after, Kinnara taiko was formed. In 1973, the third American taiko group, San Jose Taiko, was formed by a group of young Japanese Americans in the San Jose Japantown. In the 1990s, there was a new development in taiko in the United States. In 1990, students at UCLA formed the first intercollegiate taiko group, Kyodo Taiko. In 1992, the second and third collegiate groups were formed, Stanford Taiko at Stanford University and Jodaiko at the University of California, Irvine. Since the formation of these three groups, collegiate groups have formed all around the nation. It’s estimated that about 36 collegiate taiko groups and about 300 taiko groups in general exist in the United States today. From these student groups have proceeded several American professional groups, such as On Ensemble and TAIKOPROJECT.

Our own St. Olaf Taiko Group was formed in 2004 at the beginning of the year. Our group has strong ties with Mu Daiko, a local professional Minneapolis Taiko Group. Iris Shiraishi was our original sensei (teacher), and still has workshops with us annually. Our group has always been student-led and part of the St. Olaf community.

Our members meet twice weekly—one practice on Friday afternoons from 3PM to 5PM in the Lion’s Pause (or Viking Theatre if needed), and members will also choose to practice during one of two sectional times. During the fall semester, kohai (the name we use for first-time taiko players) will begin to learn Taiko and our songs through close instruction by sempai (more experienced members). Due to the commitment that taiko takes, we encourage that interested students join within the first month of practices, or wait until interim. Second semester is full of fun performances, learning new songs, and developing oneself as a taiko artist.

Note: Members who have class from 2-3PM are not expected to arrive at practice until ~3:10.