Photo of Linda Uyehara Hoffman taken in 1982 by Tamio Wakayama

Women You Should Know

The Visibility Campaign emerged directly from the gathering Women and Taiko: Past, Present, and Future at the Summer Taiko Institute in August, 2017. Many of the participants wanted to know more about women who have made an impact on taiko in North America and beyond.

Our emphasis is education and positive role models. Many of us in the taiko community are aware that women make up the majority of taiko players in the US and Canada, but due to a range of social and cultural factors, they do not appear in the spotlight as often as male taiko players. This campaign seeks to change that in two ways: 1) We want to highlight women who have been leading, performing, and teaching -- in other words, women who have made and are making a difference in ways we often recognize, and 2) We also want to highlight the kinds of labor that are often undervalued in society because women carry it out: sewing, cooking, hosting, behind-the-scenes administration, even child care.

In order to create an inclusive picture of leadership and to “embrace differing perspectives within the taiko community,” a different North American woman in taiko will be featured on our website every month or so, with a photograph and a short bio. We will profile a range of women, with attention to diversity of age, region, ability, expertise, etc., and with an emphasis on each woman’s contributions. In keeping with our dual aim, some of these women will be well-known within the taiko community, and others will be less visible. Who designs the costumes? Who keeps the books? Who juggles child or elder care with a career and taiko practice? Who inspires us?

The profiles featured here are curated by the Women and Taiko collective. If you want to nominate someone you think should be profiled, please click the button below.

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Aiea, hawaii, usa

Faye Naomi Komagata was the founder and original director of Hawaii Matsuri Taiko—the first taiko group of its kind in Hawaii. For over 34 years, ‘Mrs. K’ touched the lives of hundreds of taiko students and passed away November 5, 2018 after a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.


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Vancouver, BC, Canada

Linda is a taiko pioneer several times over. She is an activist, a feminist, and a woman-centered Asian Canadian taiko player. She is a founding member of Sawagi Taiko, the first all-female kumidaiko group in Canada, based in Vancouver, BC. Sawagi was founded in 1990 by a group of women from Katari Taiko, the first Canadian kumidaiko group (founded in 1979), and all of its members are of East Asian and Indigenous heritage.