George Abe

(b. 1944) taiko and flute performer

Realizing Importance of Birthplace Honing Artistic Talent at Camp The Birth of Kinnara Taiko Community Defining "Lifestyle" Playing for Yourself Ocean of Sound: Taiko in the Womb Getting along with "Jichan" and "Bachan" Pushing Taiko to the Limit Influencing Japan Japanese American Taiko Thank You, Shakuhachi

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George Abe (b. 1944), renowned taiko and flute performer, was born at Manzanar concentration camp. He was one year old when his family relocated to Los Angeles, California. His mother was kibei, born in the city of Orange, California, moved to Japan when she was about nine years old, and returned to Los Angeles at about 26 years of age. His father was an Issei.

George grew up among artists and musicians, often attending biwa (lute) recitals with his mother. He played multiple instruments in his school band, including the clarinet, saxophone and oboe. As an adult, George remained fascinated with music, and learned to play the shakuhachi and fue, traditional Japanese flute-like instruments.

George was a founding member of Kinnara Taiko, a taiko group based at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, and remains associated with them today. Kinnara Taiko was one of the first taiko groups to form in North America, second only to Sensei Seichi Tanaka’s San Francisco Taiko Dojo. George believes in the influential power of art and the energizing effects of taiko. He uses his art to bring cultural, spiritual and community awareness to others. (December 10, 2004)

camps manzanar racism World War II WWII issei WorldWarII identity kinnara music taiko community 1960s-1970s lifestyle shakuhachi sansei dance shishimai bamboo

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