Chōchō Short Biography

The Logistics

February 2017-present:

  • Local classes through June 2019, recitals, Ordway community performance fall 2017; Member of Kionline (Ingmar Kikat from Kion Dojo in Hamburg) 2020-2022; online Katsugi classes with Eri Uchida from 2021-2023.
  • Weekend Workshops: Shodaiko workshop at Heidelberg Taiko (January 2024), TaikoBaka (January 2018, 2023 Sacramento), Connect (August 2018 Washington D.C.), 4th European Taiko Conference (February 2019, Hamburg, Germany), NATC (August 2019 Portland), kaDON Retreat (October 2019 Beulah, WI), ELEVEN Gathering (March 2020 Hamburg), plus multiple local workshops with professional artists: Yuichi Kimura, Unit Souza, PJ Hirabayashi, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Taiko Project, Ingmar Kikat, Sascha Molina, ManMan Mui, and Kaoly Asano.
  • Performance: Member of Harisen Daiko since March 2018 and member of Taikollaborative since 2019 performing around the Twin Cities.
  • Organization: arranged and ran bi-weekly taiko drills sessions open to community members, fall 2019-Feb 2020, 2022 to present. Feb 2020 organized large taiko practice for about fifty participants.
  • PROJECTS: 2021 Founder of Chōchō! Beating with Perspective

    2021 Founder of questionnaire project called Powers of Taiko. Data collected from around the world with help from lots of others. This will be posted on chochodaiko.org spring to June 2023. This project was presented at the European Taiko Expo 2021+1 in Hamburg.

    Founder of Recovery Taiko program that is just getting started in the spring of 2023.

The Personal

My great personal growth started in 1990 when, at twenty-one, I put myself into a supportive treatment program. A family member gave me my first beer when I was nine years, and I continued drinking until I was twenty-one. The drinking became dangerous because I ended up in situations in which I was hurt physically: I survived too many rapes, three of them statutory and countless close calls, grabs, etc. But I always felt lucky that I was never assaulted with any kind of weapon or outright gang raped.

I did an immense amount of emotional work in workshops, different kinds of support groups, and talk therapy while in college. At some point I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which made sense to me. Because of my past and despite my past, I ended up publishing ground-breaking research on sexual violence during World War II.

The seven-year project helped me as much as it hurt me, and afterward I chose to not take a job as a professor because finally being in a safe place, having finished my degrees, I needed to let my first three decades of life settle. I also wanted to be sure that my daughter (and later son) received a different kind of childhood than I had had.

After my kids were older, I sought out a new hobby and finally in January of 2017 at the women’s march in St. Paul I saw taiko for the first time and knew I needed to do that. Since then, I have enthusiastically let it and the community fill my life and my heart.

At the same time, something about the power of taiko has also led me to many days filled with deep grief or tears because of new memories of and realizations about sexual abuse I have had since playing taiko.

I realize different hobbies or art forms that I could have found may have brought me to these surges of growth and emotional stretching. Still, I feel there is something special about the power of taiko, its community, its musicality, its noise, and the necessity to move as we do while playing. I feel all this pushed me in ways that other art forms or hobbies may not have.

I started an ongoing project to learn more about how taiko has influenced people. If you are a taiko player, and would like to contribute, please see The Powers of Taiko.