Differences between Kinnara and San Francisco Taiko Dojo

Internship on a Native American reservation in Arizona Differences between Kinnara and San Francisco Taiko Dojo Being free of the tradition Collaborating with non-taiko groups

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When I saw Kinnara, it was obvious to me that these were JAs playing. But, I could still really relate to that. I still really wanted to be involved and really enjoyed it. Kinnara, what I enjoyed about Kinnara was the camaraderie because always, you know, Reverend Mas’s philosophy is that nobody’s too good or nobody’s too bad to be in the group. Everybody has to contribute. I think that’s a great way of looking at it. It’s one way of looking at it, but it’s also a really great way to build that teamwork. So, I think that’s one thing I learned there of just being able to hang out with everybody was great for me.

When I went to San Francisco Taiko Dojo, it was a totally different thing. Tanaka Sensei’s upbringing—of course he grew up in Japan, but he also had very…his experience is with martial arts, with his baseball. So he really knew how to run a dojo, and he was running it almost like a martial arts dojo at that time. I didn’t come and I came probably in the second wave of students that he had. He started in 1968, and I started in ’75. So, I think over the years, he’s gradually mellowed.

But at that time when I was there, he was still pretty hardcore. We would have to run, and we would have to sweat, we would have…you know. There was a lot of pain. He always said, “No pain, no gain.” That’s one of his…(laugh), one of his… But I mean, all that, there’s something about that in Japanese culture of being in that kind situation. It builds your character in that the weak people just end up quitting. So, it really tests you.

Date: March 11, 2005
Location: Hawai`i, US
Interviewer: Sojin Kim, Arnoldo Hiura
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

kinnara san francisco taiko dojo taiko

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