Denver Taiko

Denver Taiko

Denver, Colorado, United States

Founded Informally Fall 1975 Actual January 1976

Basic Information


Background Information

Group's Mission and Motivation

Denver Taiko is a community based organization whose primary goal is to share our cultural heritage with the community. We also strive to preserve this cultural art form by providing taiko training and exposure to the next generation. Our junior group currently has over 30 members. We perform in many festivals, public functions and school events throughout the year.

List of Founding Members

Joyce Nakata Kim
Mark Miyoshi
Carolyn Tagawa

List of Current Members

Aiko Tagawa Kimura, Yuji Kimura, Mark Sakaguchi, Azaria Eshima, Edward Nance, Kari Koga, Kia Silverman, Karen Shimamoto, Jackie Shimamoto,  Diane Shimamoto, Emi Shimura,Sarah Morehouse, Eric Berve, Ian Berve, Tepper Koga, Emiko Koga, Jenny Soong, Kimmie Won, Nick Sato, DeDe Torizawa, Mike Torizawa

Membership Composition
(i.e. ethnicity, generation, average years of experience, musical backgrounds, and motivation for playing)

Mainly Japanese ancestry, experience ranges from 34 years to 1 year. Most members have some musical background and many have come from our junior group.

Description of the group's community - regional, ethnic, social, etc.

Coming from Colorado we have many influences from Latin to African. The asian community although small is growing.

Biggest Changes
Describe two of the biggest changes that have characterized the group's development since its founding

The visit of Sensei Seiichi Tanaka in 1978, he gave us the soul of what taiko is. Going to Japan in 1984 as a group, gave us exposure to many different philosophies and types of taiko playing. We visited Kodo, Gojingo, Tenri and Oedo Sukeroku in 10 days. In 2003 many of our members were exposed to the philosophy of Sensei Yoiichi Watanabe. He had a profound influence on how we perform and train as a group. In addition he made us come closer together as a group.

Performances, Recordings, Publications

List a selection of your regular performance venues (for example, Denver Sakura Matsuri, Seabrook obon, business conventions, Manzanar Pilgrimage, Maui Marathon, etc.)

Denver Sakura Matsuri Festival
Kansas City Japan Festival
Denver Dragon Boat Festival
Boulder Asian Arts Festival
Greeley Arts Festival
Denver Parade of Lights
University of Northern Colorado Asian Festival


Instructors, Teachers & Mentors
List the instructors, teachers and mentors who have worked with the ensemble.

Sensei Seiichi Tanaka
Sensei Kobayashi
Sensei Kenny Endo
San Jose Taiko
Sensei Yoshikazu Fujimoto
Sensei Yoiichi Watanabe

Taiko Collaborators
List a selection of taiko players or groups that have collaborated with the ensemble.

Taiko with Toni
Matsukawa Taiko
Ogden Taiko

Non-Taiko Collaborators
List a selection of non-taiko players or groups that have collaborated with the ensemble.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble
Mudra Dancers
Koto Colorado, Junko Shigeta

Audio & Video Recordings
List a selection of publicly accessible audio and/or video recordings featuring the ensemble.

Ichi go Ichi e, Once in a Lifetime, CD

Kazoku, Family, CD


Aiko Kimura
1947 Lawrence St, Denver, CO 80202


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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation