PJ Hirabayashi

Co-founder and creative director of San Jose Taiko

Experiencing discrimination as a child Feeling empowered by taiko Taiko as self-expression Sense of lineage between Sansei and Issei through Taiko Learning from and appreciating the Nisei experience Diverse membership in San Jose Taiko Bringing Japanese American taiko to Japan A “principally-based” taiko group in England creating a global taiko community

Transcripts available in the following languages:

Patti Jo “PJ” Hirabayashi is among the most prominent women taiko players in the United States. Born and raised in Northern California, she attended Cal State Hayward where she became involved in Asian American movement activities before transferring to UC Berkeley. After graduation, she spent a year living in Japan before returning to San Jose where she was a graduate student in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University. While there, she became acting director of the school’s Asian American Studies Center. She wrote her master’s thesis about the future of San Jose’s Japantown.

Hirabayashi joined San Jose Taiko in January 1974 as a charter member of the group. She is now the creative director of the ensemble, and she draws inspiration from the Asian American civil rights movement. She performs, trains, teaches, develops repertoire, tours, holds public workshops and conducts school outreach programs.(January 26, 2005)

discrimination racism culture identity taiko arts community music san jose taiko issei sansei nisei multi racial ondekoza england jonathan kirby

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation