In the Spring of 2005, a small-but-committed group of students pooled together their resources and formed UC Berkeley's first taiko group. Since then, Cal Raijin Taiko has gone on to become Berkeley's premier Japanese drumming performance ensemble. With a repertoire consisting entirely of original compositions, Cal Raijin Taiko performs to spread the knowledge, love, and passion of taiko to both the campus and the surrounding communities.
Over the years since our founding, the members of Cal Raijin Taiko have composed more than a dozen unique and vibrant songs, and performed for scores of audiences large and small. Our alumni have spread throughout the country, many of them going on to found entirely new taiko groups. Every Fall we accept new members to make up the next Generation of our Cal Raijin Taiko family.
A History of Collegiate Taiko
Although taiko drumming has existed in Japan for over a thousand years, taiko drumming in the U.S. is a much more recent phenomenon. It was only in 1968, with the founding of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo by Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka, that taiko began to emerge in the United States. Since then, the art form has spread throughout the country, with hundreds of groups studying the way of taiko from coast to coast.
It would be another 20 years before the very first collegiate taiko group was founded. In 1990, Mark Honda created Kyodo Taiko as part of the University of California, Los Angeles' Nikkei Student Union. In the years since then, more and more groups have been started at colleges across the country.
In 1995, Stanford Taiko hosted the very first Intercollegiate Taiko Invitationals, bringing together a host of collegiate groups for a weekend of performances and workshops with taiko professionals. Intercollegiate Taiko Invitationals has gone on to become an annual event, hosted by a different school each year.