Big Island Taiko Festival 2017 Kicks Off June 3

May 28, 2017, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 4:45 PM
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Taiko drum, photo by Elijah van der Giessen.

The UH Hilo Performing Arts Center (PAC) will present two days of vibrant drumming and physical choreography at the Big Island Taiko Festival 2017 on Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4.

The performances will begin at 7:30 p.m on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday, and feature Taishoji Taiko, Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko, Puna Hongwanji Taiko Club, Kona Daifukuji Taiko and Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko.

Taishoji Taiko, under the direction of Chad Nakagawa, was founded under the direction of Yoshihumi Ono at Taishoji Soto Mission in Hilo.

Lee Dombroski, manager of the Performing Art Center and Festival Producer said of the group: “Their energetic, dramatic style will have you feeling the rhythm right to your core!”

Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko, under the guidance of Advisor Milton Yafuso and Troy Sakihara, practices and performs a drumming style based on Okinawan martial arts.


“Our threefold mission builds leadership and promotes and preserves the interest in and appreciation for the history and traditions of Okinawan culture and the arts,” said Yafuso.  


The Puna Hongwanji Taiko Club, under the direction of Rev. Earl Ikeda and Paul Sakamoto, was founded in 2003 by Rev. Ikeda as a community-focused group, with drummers of all ages and experience levels striving to perpetuate taiko as a cultural and recreational activity.  

Kona Daifukuji Taiko was founded in 1988 by Rev. Tamiya and his wife, and is comprised of youth from elementary through high school following the directions of their instructors, Akemi Iwamoto and Justin Fernandez.

Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko from Kohala will draw the program to an exciting close with “tremendous energy.” Originally from Okinawa and nurtured by Akemi Martin Sensi, the group now boasts over 100 active members across the Hawaiian Islands. Their performance blends traditional and contemporary influences.


Admission tickets for the Big Island Taiko Festival 2017 are $15 General, $10 Discount, and $7 UHH/HCC Students (with valid ID) and children 17 and under.  Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling (808) 932-7490, or at the PAC box office Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May 23 to June 2.

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