We are a Japanese drumming club based at the University of California, Davis!
Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan’s mission is to promote awareness and appreciation of Japanese Culture throughout our community and its surrounding areas. By teaching and performing, we hope to bring the energy and beauty of taiko to those who have not yet had the opportunity see it.
The word “Bakuhatsu” translates as “explosion,” expressing the high energy of our performers on stage. In every performance, the individual members push themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually in order to share the primal energy of taiko with the audience.
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Bakuhatsu strives to teach the energy, respect, tradition, discipline, art, and music of taiko to its beginning members and to improve and reinforce them for its senior performers. We try to acheive this goal through playing taiko, building taiko drums, and conducting ourselves professionally and respectfully during every performance.
Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan was founded by John Shinozaki and Stacey Clark in 2001. John was a freshman when he decided to establish a Taiko club at UC Davis. He only had two years of Taiko experience and one pair of bachi to begin with. John named the club Bakuhatsu, which means explosion to symbolize his enthusiasm for the ancient art form.
One of the largest changes Bakuhatsu has undergone since its founding is the loss of its founding members. In the Spring of 2004, Stacey Clark graduated and John Shinozaki left to study in Japan. In that same year, two of the other experienced performing members also left the group to graduate or to start new lives. Bakuhatsu went from seven experienced performers to just three in a single year. The group lost not only talent, but resources and knowledge regarding the construction of the taiko drums.
The following year, Gary Wong assumed leadership of Bakuhatsu. His unyielding drive and commitment to taiko transformed the identity of the group. He brought a thirst for perfection to both the beginners and the advanced performers and taught everyone the true meaning of professionalism. He also created and taught his own form of notation for the group’s songs so that all members could practice at home and review before coming to group practices.
In addition to changing the direction and attitude of Bakuhatsu, the loss of most of the group’s experienced performers brought the entire group closer together. It challenged intermediate players to improve at a more rapid pace in order to maintain the quality of the stage show and unified the group by brining everyone closer to the same level.
Since our first performance, Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan has been invited to perform at numerous campus and community events including UC Davis Picnic Day, The Buzz, Asian Pacific Culture Week, Whole Earth Festival, and at local schools.
We’ve practiced at numerous places from the Western Center for Agricultural Equipment to the Mondavi Center parking structure. Practice now is now held at the ARC.