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Taiko is the traditional drumming of Japan.  Over the centuries Taiko was used by the common folk in celebrations and gatherings, by samurai in court ceremonies and in battle, and by priests in rituals and religious ceremonies.  Today, Taiko is performed in concerts, at public events, and traditional festivals around the globe.

Zendeko, Zenshuji’s own Taiko group, was formed in 1986 as part of the Sunday school program at Zenshuji in which young people were taught the basic Taiko rhythms used in Japanese festivals.  A year later, the character of Zendeko changed dramatically when the world renowned Taiko group Ondekoza used the Zenshuji facilities as practice space while on a world tour.  In effect, Ondekoza took Zendeko under its wing, introducing rigorous training aimed at a more theatrical style of performance.  Zendeko responded eagerly to this exceptional training and continued to build on what the members learned.  As a result, Zendeko is known today as one of the premiere youth-oriented Taiko groups in North America.  Zendeko has played throughout the United States and Canada, in Hawaii, and in Japan.  Zendeko has performed for the Emperor and Empress of Japan, President George Bush, Pope John Paul II, and the Dali Llama.  Zendeko even appeared in the hit film, “Charlie’s Angels.”

The members of Zendeko learn more than how to hold a rhythm.  The beat of the drum is transformative.  Members learn firsthand the importance of commitment and perseverance.  They develop an awareness of what is going on around them.  They discover the timeless value of traditional ways.  They comprehend how they are connected to the culture and to the community.  Zendeko plays a crucial role in strengthening and enriching the lives of its members.

For information about Zendeko performances and participation, please email Mrs. Hiroko Seki at info@zenshuji.org.