What is a taikai?

Taikai (tournaments) are events where practitioners of a specific artform come together to demonstrate their skills in front of experienced judges. Such taikai events in Japan are hosted for taiko, shamisen, folk singing, and many other art forms. The judges examine the practitioners skills and will rate their performance with a point system. While this seems like it would be a pretty typical “competition” experience, (where it’s just an event based on “winning and losing”) it’s actually quite the opposite. Taikai is an important and healthy experience for two main reasons.


Studies have shown that we excel not from practice alone, but from inspired, motivated practice. When we’re practicing at home or in study sessions, it’s easy to simply go through the motions, practicing the familiar routine with our awareness turned off.


Taikai are amazing bonding experiences for all participants, due to the fact that participants aren’t competing against each other, but rather demonstrating their skills directly to the judges.

Donor Perks

Tier 1 - $1-49

Mention in "thank you" Instagram posts
Mention on the website donors section

Tier 2 - $50-99

Tier 1 plus:
Mention in the event program
General Admission ticket

Tier 3 - $100-199

Tier 2 plus:
Combo admission ticket

Tier 4 - $200-499

Tier 3 plus:
T-shirt preorder
Quarter page ad in the program (Great for supporting your favorite competitor!)

Tier 5 - $500+

Tier 4 plus:
Upgrade from quarter page ad to half page ad

Thanks to our happy Donors!


Aichan Matsuda
Ashley Arikawa & Cory Estes
Atsuko & Momo
Blakemore Family
Bob and Marty Lee
Christina Han
Christine Higurashi
Connie Hsu
Connie Yuhara
Dave and Kaori Sakauye (Koyasan Taiko)
Debbie Manzo – Vasquez
Drew Tamaki
Elias Chanteloup and Misato Muraoka
Gabriel Allaf
Hannah’s Afro
Hannah’s Bachi
Helen Funai – Erickson
Helen Ota & Michael Palma
High Voltage Photography
Hiroshi & Joy Tanaka
Inochi Taiko
Isaac Caldas
Ishindaiko Londrina
Ito ‘ohana
Jaclynn Lett
Jade Hopp
Jeff’s Friend
Jessica Kashiwabara
Jimmy Nguyen
Joanne Nishinaka
Jody Miyashiro
Joyce Chinn
Kat Kiyoko Amano
Katy Nishimoto
Kevin and Terry Onuma
KFC (Kyle Fan Club)
Kraig Kenta Saito (twice!)
Kyle Abbott
Kyoko Hongo
Linda Sakuda
Lloyd and Jonna Lininger
Makoto Taiko
Megan Feltes
Michael and Carol Okuda
Mika Hongo
NAObyNaoko.com Taiko & Japanese Products
Nicholas Williams
Odaiko Sonora
Pat Moriyasu
Robert & Gail NishinakaPatti Fran1klin
Ryujin Taiko and Little Tokyo Dance Club
Sandy Toshiyuki
Sandy W
Seattle Kokon Taiko
Sophia K. Wang
Sue Yuen
TCP Online Student
TCP student
Tobe Daiko
Walter’s Mom

And special thanks to all of our anonymous donors.

Taiko Taikai 2024

May 18th & 19th 2024

After the truly overwhelming success of the inaugural Taiko Taikai (2023), we’re excited to announce that we’re bringing it back for 2024, with some exciting updates!!

Location: Terasaki Budokan

249 S. Los Angeles St. Los Angeles, CA

Two Divisions

As Taiko Taikai 2023 was our very first time, we weren’t certain how long the Taikai section would take (For example, how much time we needed for technical difficulties, etc), and thus established only one division in order to keep things as simple as possible. Now that we have experience from the first event, we can confidently expand the taikai to incorporate two divisions!

General Entry

This is intended for most folks who have been pursuing taiko as a social community activity, or have only recently pursued the direction of self-development of their taiko skills.

Advanced Division

This division is intended for folks who have been pursuing taiko with the intention to push their skills to as high a level as possible for years. They’ve already incorporated a discipline of self-examination as part of their regular practice for years and strive for that challenge.

Note: The same judges will be examining both divisions with the same level of criteria. The purpose of having two divisions is to give a more balanced opportunity for the range of players involved.

Participants register for ONE DIVISION ONLY


One of the many goals of the taikai is giving practitioners the opportunity to supercharge their motivation for self-development (as discussed in the About section). Additionally, we want to give committed taiko practitioners the opportunity to show their efforts to the community and, should they choose to do so, use the taikai as a platform to launch their career. Just like launching any aspiring career, knowing how to operate as an artist is just as important as the art itself!

Because of that, we’re so pleased to be working with TaikoVentures on providing an afternoon of seminars specifically related to teaching aspiring taiko artists the essential skills necessary to make a living with taiko. (For example, how to find gigs, how to log your expenses, how to set your performance fee, etc) 

Saturday (May 18th): Taikai and Evening Concert

Sunday: Closed Event for Participants & Judges

Fabulous Prizes!

Just to make things extra fun, we are adding a bit more to the prizes!

Grand Prize

$500 Cash Prize

Engraved Champion Odaiko Bachi from Kadon

To be featured on the next Taiko Taikai Poster (with winner’s consent)


2nd Place Prize

$250 Cash Prize

Engraved 2nd Place Odaiko Bachi from Asano


3rd Place Prize

$125 Cash Prize

Engraved 3rd Place Odaiko Bachi from Asano


TOURNAMENT REGISTRATION (General Entry and Advanced Division)


Taiko Taikai T Shirts

from $30

Tournament Viewing


Concert Viewing


Concert and Taikai Viewing: Combo Ticket (Audience)


Past Events

Taiko Taikai 2023

Our very first Taikai was a whirlwind of emotions! Dozens of taiko practitioners from around the world submitted audition videos, (well, mostly in the US but one from Japan, so that’s something!) and the judges provided feedback. Their skills vastly improved from the time of their audition video to the time of their performance, which far exceeded what the judges were expecting, and confirmed that healthy competition naturally boosts self-development in a positive way!

Furthermore, the level of crowd support was a pleasant surprise! Being our first event, we were expecting perhaps a handful of people might come to watch the taikai. Instead, almost every seat was filled, and the audience bathed the performers with rousing cheer and support. The intense enthusiasm from the audience was both very unexpected, and confirmed just how important this event was for the taiko community!

Compulsory Piece: Narukami (Yoshikazu Fujimoto)

1. Ringtaro Tateishi (Ondekoza & more)
2. Tiffany Tamaribuchi (Sacramento Taiko Dan & more)
3. Isaku Kageyama (Amanojaku & more)
4. Karen Falkenstrom (Odaiko Sonora & more)
5. Joe Small (Eitetsu Fu-Un no Kai & more)


Tune in here during the 2024 Taiko Taikai to watch the livestream!