Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka is the central figure and the most influential individual in the introduction and development of traditional and modern taiko in America and is recognized by both governments of his native Japan and adopted United States.
|Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka - ShastaYama 2006||Photo: Bob Hsiang|
Mr. Tanaka brought the art form of Japanese taiko to North America, founding San Francisco Taiko Dojo in 1968. He is recognized for developing a "way of taiko."
Seiichi Tanaka and S.F. Taiko Dojo have influenced not only American taiko, but taiko in Japan and worldwide as well.
|San Francisco Taiko Dojo - ShastaYama 2006||Photo: Bob Morris|
Many leaders of American taiko have studied with Master Tanaka and S.F. Taiko Dojo. Shasta Taiko's Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba started taiko training with S.F. Taiko Dojo in 1972.
Grand Master Tanaka was presented by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Emperor Akihito, the Order of the Rising Sun -5th Order: Gold and Silver Rays (established in 1875). The Order is for "achievements in: international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, field advancements, and development of welfare or preservation of the environment."
Tanaka Sensei has also received an American National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship that honors individuals "for their artistic excellence, authenticity, and contributions to thieir field in traditional arts."
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded a Foreign Ministers Commendation for Grand Master Tanaka's "significant efforts in promoting the Japanese art of taiko," and the Emperor of Japan's taiko maker Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten founded Nihon Taiko Dojo, a taiko academy based on Tanaka Sensei's philosophy.
Seiichi Tanaka studied and performed with the leaders of Japan's modern taiko movement - Daihachi Oguchi and Osuwa Taiko, Sukeroku Taiko, and Gojinjo Taiko.
Mr. Tanaka has collaborated with artists Art Blakey, Max Roach, Tito Puente, Babatunde Olantunji, Narada Michael Waldren, Kitaro, Mickey Hart, Mario Bauza, Tony Bennett, Bobby McFerrin, and Dave Brubeck.
Grand Master and S.F. Taiko Dojo have contributed to movie soundtracks "Apocalypse Now" and "The Right Stuff," contributed to "Return of the Jedi," and appeared in "Rising Sun."
A DVD that traces the development of American taiko, "The Spirit of Taiko," features 3 generations of American taiko represented by Grand Master Tanaka, Kenny Endo, and Masato Baba, the son of Shsata Taiko leaders Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer.
Tanaka Sensei also has a book published based on his philosophy called "The Way of Taiko."
Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka and San Francisco Taiko Dojo appeared at the 2nd Annual ShastaYama in 2006 and again in 2009. Shasta Taiko and ShastaYama are honored again to present the "father of American taiko" and the premier American taiko group.
|San Francisco Taiko Dojo - ShastaYama 2006||Photo: Bob Hsiang|