Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Written by Brian Kurushima
Edited by Carolyn Tokunaga
Chikara Daiko of Centenary United Methodist church was formed in July 1996. A small group of people discussed doing something “special” for the church’s Centennial Celebration and started with 20 adults and 12 children. Taught by members of Kinnara Taiko, who also graciously allowed us the use of their drums, the group practiced at Senshin Buddhist church. Our first performance was for 1,000 people at the Centenary UMC Centennial Celebration banquet in October 1996.
Following the initial performance, many decided to continue playing. Initially playing on laundry buckets and tires, we started practicing at Centenary and made plans to build drums. Fund raising and generous donations helped us to procure all the materials we needed. Kinnara taught us the basics of drum making and over the next few years we proceeded to make our taiko drums and stands, which are still in use today. Every year we continue to build and maintain our drums and equipment and feel this process is very important to the group’s unity and growth. We recognize the importance of the “taiko network” and support and participate in any taiko community activities. We respect our taiko pioneers and peers and have been fortunate to meet many at the North America Taiko Conferences.
One of the first Christian based taiko groups, we play at annual Church bazaars and worship services of area churches, local school programs, and assorted community functions within the Little Tokyo and Southern California area. Past performances have included: Claremont College Commencement, United Methodist Bishop’s Convocation, UM Annual Conference at Redlands, UM General Conference at Ft Worth, TX, UMW’s National convention, UM Central Coast Conference, Choral Conductor’s Guild national concert, United Church of Christ Annual Conference, Japanese American night at Staples, Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Run/Walk.
Our mission statement: As a group, we hope to be an integral part of Centenary's second hundred years; to honor its mission, be a proud member of its family, represent it well and follow its lead as servants of God.
Our vision: Taiko is like the heartbeat, which is universal. It reaches out and connects us all. Through our activities, we reach out and embrace individual members and families in a fellowship. By establishing our identity and expressing our unique heritage, we seek to connect with other faiths, cultures and people through our music. I Corinthians 12:12-26 speaks of group. We work to achieve a group, like the body God has created, "giving greater honor to the (weaker) members, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it."
Chikara shares in the Kinnara philosophy “it’s not how well you do something that’s important, but that you do it.”
The bottom line: Taiko is fun and we all love to play!
Chikara holds an annual Beginning Taiko Workshop. If you would like to know more about Chikara, call Centenary United Methodist Church at (213) 617-9097, email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org, or join our email list at https://www.centenarydtla.org/subscribe. Centenary United Methodist Church is located in downtown Los Angeles at 300 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90013.