Hikari Taiko

Hikari Taiko

Norwalk, California, United States

Founded 1978

Basic Information

    Southeast Japanese School and Community Center
    Board of Directors

Background Information


Combining the rich Japanese tradition along with the powerful heartbeat of the taiko drums and with the dynamic energy of our own expression, our message is to project love, harmony, understanding and cultural education; and to promote holistic wellness to the various multi-cultural communities.

Group History
Describe how, where, and why the ensemble was founded. What was its inspiration?

The founder of Hikari Taiko was Tak Murata in 1978 at the Southeast Japanese School and Community Center in Norwalk, California. The beat of the drums and group performance was the inspiration to start a taiko class at Norwalk. 


Tak Murata Stanley Morgan - Artistic Director (1978-1980) Mary Jane Mayeda - Artistic Director (1980-1990) Glen Mayeda, Janice Igarashi, Sandy Shimizu - Artistic Director (1980-1990), Judy Itani, Keiji Takasago, Toru Terasaki, and Sally Terasaki


  • Kurt Hamra
  • Harriet Yamada
  • Joyce Kawahata
  • Annie Yu
  • Robie La
  • Steve La 
  • Angela Lopez 
  • Samantha Mark
  • Donna Inaba
  • Sharon Esparza
  • Rosy Nguyen
  • Lillian Kennedy
  • Connie Chung
  • Audrey Takamiyashiro
  • Maggie Wang
  • Emily Odell
  • Shu-Hua Lin
  • Helen Hikiji
  • Lien Chiu
  • Chris Chiu
  • Lilli Chen
  • Christina Chang
  • Sandra Kirschner
  • Jenina Marcelo
  • Lisa Salazar
  • Mylene Perez
  • Miki Morales
  • Susan Nakafuji
  • Wendy Albright
  • Linda Reynolds
  • Jeannie Kench
  • Judy Wu
  • Sam Combes

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

Hikari membership consists of: Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, Filipino, Caucasian, and Hispanic.  We accept all who wish to learn the art of taiko drumming. The motivation for the majority is hearing taiko, loving the sound of the drums and wanting to take classes to learn the art of taiko drumming.


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

Autumn Festival at Long Beach Aquarium,  GlenFest Film Festival, Tanabata and Nisei Week Festival, Los Angeles Chinese New Year Celebration, Masters Award Ceremonies, La Mirada Celebration of the Park, SEJSCC Carnival, SEJSCC Annual Fund Raiser Dinner, Keiro Nursing Home

List the instructors, teachers and mentors who have worked with the ensemble.


  • Kurt Hamra
  • Steve La
  • Harriet Yamada (Assistant)
  • Joyce Kawahata (Assistant)
  • Robie La (Assistant)


List a selection of articles, master's theses, dissertations, or other publications written about the ensemble.

CNN News on Hikari Taiko by Jessica Jang, The Art of Taiko Drumming & Hikari Taiko by Theresa Hu (Cal State Univerity, Long Beach) Hikari Taiko written by Matthew Arakaki (Japanese School paper, Norwalk, Ca) Poem, Sharing the Valuable Music of our Hearts by Robbie Schuldt (Hikari Taiko) Paper and video tape on Hikari Taiko written by Cal State, Long Beach college student)


Robie La
14615 Gridley Road, Norwalk CA 90650
(866) 6HIKARI • (866) 644-5274


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