AUG. 5 RECITAL CELEBRATES RYUKYU KOBUDO TAIKO’S 10TH

Look into their young faces and see the heart and soul that travels through their bachi (drum sticks), connecting with their taiko and cutting loose a thunderous sound that somehow returns to their heart. In their young faces, you are seeing the future of our Okinawan community — an honoring of the past and a commitment to a cultural tradition sure to find a sense of place in a community that nurtures their growth.

On Sunday, Aug. 5, “Dento No Hibiki — The Mighty Sounds of Tradition,” will be on the minds of the performers as the Ryukyu Kobudo Taiko - Hawaii Shibu celebrates its 10th anniversary with a recital at the Hawaii Okinawa Center.

The 1 p.m. performance is being supported by the Hawaii United Okinawa Association. “The members of Ryukyu Kobudo Taiko - Hawaii Shibu have played a major role in keeping our Okinawan culture alive and of introducing young people to the Okinawan culture,” said HUOA President Jimmy Iha. “They also support so many of our HUOA programs by sharing what they have learned with not only our Okinawan community, but with the larger Hawaii community. For all of that, I am truly grateful to Calvin Nakama Sensei and to all of the students, parents and advisors. I urge our HUOA members to support the group’s recital on Aug. 5. They have all worked very hard to make this a performance we’ll never forget.”

Ryukyu Kobudo Taiko - Hawaii Shibu traces its origins back to 1991 and Morio Matsuda Sensei, founder of Ishikawa Kobudo Taiko in Okinawa. The style blends kobudo, or martial arts, with taiko drumming, creating energetic and powerful routines. In 1991, Matsuda Sensei brought several of his students to Hawaii for an intensive training session with 16 Hawaii members of the Ishikawa group. At the conclusion of the 10-day session, Matsuda Sensei asked the participants if they would like to form a chapter in Hawaii. Enthused with what they had learned and excited about the potential to involve others in this energetic form of taiko, the group gave Matsuda Sensei the green light. Those 16 members became the core group for the Hawaii chapter of Ishikawa Kobudo Taiko.

Among the 16 participants was Calvin Nakama, who was selected the Hawaii group’s lead sensei. He and the other 15 participants became the core group for the Hawaii chapter of the Ishikawa Kobudo Taiko, which began holding classes at the Hawaii Okinawa Center. By March of 1991, 28 young students had joined the group and were learning this exciting form of taiko.

That summer, 12 members traveled to Okinawa for additional training and to participate in a recital by the Okinawa chapter. It was a productive visit, with the members not only joining their Okinawan “cousins” for the performance, but learning how to make the taiko drums from Matsuda Sensei.

After returning home in August, the club held a two-day recital themed “Kuroshio” at Farrington High School Auditorium. Matsuda Sensei’s students from Okinawa joined them for the performance.

The 1991 recital marked a turning point for the young taiko group. Members decided to rename the group, Ryukyu Kobudo Taiko - Hawaii Shibu.

Ten years later and 36 members strong, Ryukyu Kobudo Taiko - Hawaii Shibu’s energetic taiko routines continue to draw young people to the Okinawan culture. Today the members range from 10-year-old children to adults. Many young adults who grew up playing taiko with Ryukyu Kobudo Taiko leave it behind to attend college on the Mainland, but return to taiko whenever breaks from school bring them home. Several of them will rejoin the group for the Aug. 5 recital.

The performance will also feature paranku drumming by the Paranku Club of Hawaii as well as dance numbers by students from the Hooge Kai, Yoshiko Nakasone Dance Academy.

Tickets for the performance are $10 and can be reserved by calling Faye Maruishi at 753-0738, or Calvin Nakama Sensei at 224-7374.

Ryukyu Kobudo Taiko - Hawaii Shibu will perform at 9:30 a.m. at this Saturday’s (July 7) “Tanabata Star: A Family Festival,” co-sponsored by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and TEMARI: Center for Asian and Pacific Arts at JCCH (2454 S. Beretania St.)