TCP Co-Founder & Artistic Director, Instructor
Kenny Endo is one of the leading artists in contemporary percussion and rhythm. He is the vanguard of the taiko genre, continuing to pave new paths in this Japanese style drumming even after forty years as a career taiko player. A performer, composer, and teacher of taiko with numerous awards and accolades, Kenny Endo is a consummate artist, blending Japanese taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation. www.kennyendo.com
In June 2017, he will be honored, along with TCP co-founder Chizuko Endo, by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii with their “Sharing the Spirit of Aloha” award.
TCP Co-Founder & Managing Director, Instructor
Chizuko Endo has been playing taiko for over 35 years; first with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, then Osuwa Taiko of Nagano, Oedo Sukeroku Taiko of Tokyo, and currently with the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble and Taiko Center of the Pacific. She has performed throughout the world with Oedo Sukeroku Taiko (Tokyo) and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble.
She has studied classical and festival drumming styles of Japan as well as gagaku “Japanese Court Music,” serves as a taiko instructor specializing in the Sukeroku and Osuwa styles arranged for youth and adults, and is Managing Director of Taiko Center of the Pacific. Chizuko is also an Artistic Teaching Partner in Hawaii public schools. She has been in short term residency at such schools as Waiau Elementary School (ES), Waiahole ES, Waianae ES, Wailupe ES, Kaunakakai ES, Lanai School. She has offered a 5-week intensive course for grades 3-8 at Punahou Summer School for over 20 years. In 2016, she was honored with the inaugural “Distinguished Alumni” award from the University of Hawaii’s School of Pacific and Asian Studies Department – https://uhalumni.org/news/story/school-of-pacific-and-asian-studies-alumni-gathering In 2017, she was honored, along with TCP co-founder Kenny Endo, with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s “Sharing the Spirit of Aloha” award.
Kirstin Pauka has been a performance member of the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble for the past 22 years and has been an instructor at TCP for over 15 years. As part of her training she has been studying and performing pieces of the traditional kumi daiko repertoire of various Japanese styles (Sukeroku, Osuwa, Hachijo), traditional Japanese festival music (Edo Bayashi, shishimai), and original compositions by Endo-sensei and other members of the ensemble. Kirstin has toured with the ensemble to Belgium, Germany, Japan, and the United States. She has been the recipient of two Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts apprenticeships with Kenny Endo in 2007 and 2008. Kirstin is a professor in the Asian Theater Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, specializing in Southeast Asian performing arts, and currently holds the position of Director for the UHM Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
Yeeman Mui (Manman)
Taiko Tots Founder
Yeeman (ManMan) Mui, a taiko practitioner and former TCP instructor, started TCP’s program for Tots ages 2-4 utilizing the Orff music education approach. Taiko and the Orff approach worked out to be a perfect combination as they both celebrate the essence of the mind, body, and spirit. She helped spread the joy of taiko and music to many families and young children. www.yeemanmui.com
Instructor, Acting Director of Taiko Center of the Pacific Youth Group
Brock Asato began studying taiko at age 4 with Taiko Center of the Pacific.
He was featured in an HBO special on talented youth focusing on his taiko pursuits. He joined the Taiko Center of the Pacific Youth Group early on and became a central player and leader of the group. He has participated in numerous North American Taiko Conferences taking workshops with such taiko leaders as Seiichi Tanaka sensei, Hiroyuki Hayashida, Shoji Kameda, Masato Baba, Kris Bergstrom, and more. He is currently the acting director of the Taiko Center of the Pacific Youth Group and performing member of the Taiko Center of the Pacific adult performing ensemble. Brock is currently pursuing a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Hawaii.
Sho’on Shibata is a taiko performer, teacher, and researcher from Fukuoka, Japan. He began playing drum set at age thirteen. While studying musicology at the Crane School of Music, Sho’on was awarded a prestigious research scholarship to study taiko. While conducting fieldwork researching Matsuri Bayashi (festival music) in Japan, Sho’on founded Potsdam Ōkuma Taiko, a collegiate taiko ensemble based in Potsdam, NY. Sho’on was awarded the TCP Fellowship in 2015 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In addition, Sho’on has also done field studies in of Karnataka Sangeeta in India, Pungmul in South Korea, and Afro-Caribbean drumming in Jamaica. Sho’on is a Taiko Center of the Pacific Performing Ensemble member and also performs with other taiko groups in Japan.
Danielle Mihata is a taiko performer and TCP instructor specializing in Taiko Tots and Family Taiko. She began taiko as a young child at TCP, was an integral member of the TCP Youth Group, and has transitioned easily to the TCP adult performing ensemble. She ran a successful and fun summer school taiko program at Webling Elementary School in 2015.
Born in Japan, Aki is a graduate of the Osaka College of Music. She has been involved in many theater productions, TV and radio recordings, and teaching and performing internationally since 1990.
She has taught music at many public and private schools on Kauai, including the Kauai Academy of Creative Arts and Kauai Community College. Aki has much experience teaching young children from the age of 18 months old! She is the director of the “Joyful Noise” taiko group on Kauai and founder/owner of Joyful Noise School of Music on Kauai. She is also the founder/owner of Aki‘s School of Music on Oahu. Aki is currently training with the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble.