Seiichi Tanaka

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Seiichi Tanaka
Native name 田中 誠一
Born Tokyo, Japan
Residence San Francisco, CA
Known for Taiko

Seiichi Tanaka (田中 誠一 Tanaka Seiichi?) is the first Japan-trained teacher of kumidaiko, or taiko, in the United States and largely regarded as the father of the art form in North America.[1] He is the founder of San Francisco Taiko Dojo and a recipient of a 2001 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tanaka was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1943[2] and immigrated to the United States in 1967.[3] He returned to Japan to study the art of kumidaiko with Daihachi Oguchi in Nagano prefecture, Japan, with Susumu Kowase of Oedo Sukeroku Taiko in Tokyo, and Shosaku Ikeda, of Gojinjo Daiko.[3]

Tanaka's former students, Kenny Endo, Russel Baba, Jeanne Mercer, and Tiffany Tamaribuchi, are prominent taiko performers, leaders of their own groups, and teachers of kumidaiko in North America, prompting him to remark, when receiving the 2001 NEA Award, that he "should be known as the grandfather of taiko".[4]

Tanaka and San Francisco Taiko Dojo host an annual International Taiko Festival at Zellerbach Hall on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. His performance credits include work on the soundtrack for The Right Stuff and an appearance playing his signature piece, Tsunami, on Rising Sun.[5]

In April 2005, Tanaka and San Francisco Taiko Dojo were the subject of a public television segment that aired on KQED public television.[6]


  1. ^ "Anything But Quiet". Samuel Fromartz. 1998. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  2. ^ "Seiichi Tanaka". Discover Nikkei. 2005. 
  3. ^ a b "Seiichi Tanaka: Go For Broke". Terry Liu. 2001. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  4. ^ "Seiichi Tanaka". National Endowment for the Arts. 2001. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  5. ^ "Seiichi Tanaka". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  6. ^ "San Francisco Taiko Dojo". KQED Sparks. 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-06.