On Saturday, January 11th this year, Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan had the incredible opportunity to perform and protest alongside a diverse community including those of Japanese American, Jewish, and Mexican descent wanting to spread a loud and powerful message. The protest was held to bring attention to the inhumane conditions against racially targeted immigrants and minority groups to demand an end to unjust confinement and deportation. Several members of the team made the drive with our drums to Yuba County Jail in Marysville, Yuba County to join various civil rights organizations to protest for undocumented immigrant rights and freedoms.
Leading the charge against detention camps and deportation was Tsuru for Solidarity: a volunteer-run, non-violent direct action group of Japanese Americans fighting to close the camps, an event that would represent an end to the indefinite contract with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Tsuru for Solidarity, according to their website, “stand(s) on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered the atrocities and legacy of U.S. concentration camps during WWII,” vowing to end the existence of detention sites and racist immigration policies.
Here are some of our Bakuhatsu members’ takeaways from experiencing the protest firsthand:
“Though the fight to reunite separated immigrant families is long from over, I hope that our continued solidarity—and customary Bakuhatsu noise-making—will help change minds about and bring attention to this crisis.” — Emily Quan
“I’ve been more than fortunate to have people in my life that show me the bigger picture, that there are people out there who need our help, and that the art form we practice is much more than just an art. In that moment, performing for the Yuba County protesters and for the innocent incarcerated people held inside the jail walls, hitting the drum meant everything to me […] One part about being a performer is to convey an emotion to the audience; this time, the audience evoked emotion from us. We played our hearts out for our first two songs, the protesters cheering us on, and suddenly we heard the voice: “don’t forget about us.” It was an upsetting, heartbreaking, and powerful message unlike any other. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.” — Amanda Inouye
“One thing that stands out to me in terms of North American Taiko is its role in activism and community-building during the Asian American Movement. North American Taiko reacts to the intergenerational trauma of the Japanese American Incarceration and the many injustices Asian American immigrants and their descendants have faced. Taiko, as an Asian American art form, creates space for Asian American bodies — it says loudly that we are here, that we belong here, and that we persist.” — Gregory Wada
Several months after the protest in Yuba County, Bakuhatsu members performed alongside many Bay Area and Sacramento based Japanese American civil rights organizations as well as Cal Raijin Taiko from UC Berkeley for the Tsuru Rising Vigil held in June. While practicing social distancing, protesters gathered near Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, California, formerly the Tanforan Race Tracks, where Japanese Americans were assembled before their forced relocation to US incarceration camps during World War II. This protest was held to fight for an end to all state violence and to honor Black people killed by police, immigrants who have died in US detention facilities, and Japanese ancestors who died in incarceration camps. Taiko’s well-rooted history in both activism and civil rights allows team members and community members alike to take matters into their own hands and stand together against injustice. The North American taiko community has shown incredible support for civil rights organizations over the years, and Bakuhatsu is no exception. For the last three years, Bakuhatsu’s annual Davis Cherry Blossom Festival has promoted and donated to charitable organizations working towards environmental or social justice in hopes of bettering the lives of others.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Davis Cherry Blossom Festival planned for the spring was unfortunately cancelled. However, moving forward and adapting quickly are fortunately two skills we value and practice! Despite the shelter in place order, we are still dedicating time to use taiko and art as a medium to raise social awareness and call for action from members of our community. As an alternative to the cancelled event, the Davis Cherry Blossom Festival is hosting a webinar: “A Change is Gonna Come: Art and Action for Human Rights and Freedom” on November 15th, 10:30 AM - 5 PM PST. Through musical performances from an exciting lineup of artists and thoughtful discussion from panelists and speakers, this free online event focuses on the role of artists and organizers in connecting communities and enacting solidarity. The Taiko & Activism portion of the webinar starting at 11:30 AM will feature taiko performances and a panel of respected taiko artists including Roy and PJ Hirabayashi, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, and Michelle Fujii demonstrating how taiko functions as a means of organizing, place-making, self-expression, and social activism, both historically and today. You won’t want to miss it!
Although our normal in-person methods of raising awareness and fundraising for social justice may be altered, our passion, involvement, and perseverance still remains. We will continue to search for new ways to communicate and connect with the greater community by using taiko as a medium to empower each other and build solidarity.
Ways to participate in the event:For more information and updates, visit our Facebook event page!
Learn more about Tsuru for Solidary by checking out their website or facebook page. They are constantly updating their page with updates and offering panels and posts for more information.
Please consider donating to Black Lives Matter and please continue educating yourself and others:
During these uncertain and changing times, please care for your mental health. Listed below are resources we hope guide you in times of adversity.
For UC Davis students:
Mental Health Crisis Consultation Services: (530) 752-0871
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1(800) 273-8255
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1(800) 985-5990
COVID resource: https://covid19.eqca.org
UCD COVID resource: https://www.ucdavis.edu/coronavirus/
More information about Bakuhatsu? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
Next Saturday, April 29th, is Bakuhatsu's 6th Annual Showcase, Kizuna. It's an event we've been consciously preparing for since since last September, but the road to Kizuna actually started many years ago.
All of that work paid off and Akebono was such a success that showcase continued as an annual spring event with the second showcase, Ikioi or "momentum", on April 28th, 2013. At that time, Bakuhatsu had 22 members and performed 10 original songs with 3 of them being brand new songs to the club. The special guests were UC Davis's only K-pop group, SoNE1, JASS's traditional Japanese dance group, Jishin, Violin player Vanessa Dong, and UC Davis Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association. Watch the video below for a glimpse into what Bakuhatsu members were up to right before Ikioi in 2012.
Our fourth annual showcase, Todoroki or "roar", was on April 26th, 2015, with 26 members and 13 original songs performed with one being a brand new song. JASS's traditional Japanese dance group, Jishin, UC Davis Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association, and Ducks of the World, a band composed of Bakuhatsu members, were the special guests. This was the first showcase for our current members Daniel Kim (Practice Director), Issa Takada (Equipment Manager), Rahi Suryawanshi (Co-Showcase Director), and Gloria Kum (Designer). Watch the video below of Bakuhatsu doing a publicity flashmob performance of Utage at the UC Davis Quad for Todoroki.
It's clearly been a long road for Bakuhatsu to get to where we are today. We have 5 showcases to be proud of and we've been working our hardest to make the sixth one the best one yet. Kizuna will showcase 13 returning members, 11 new members, 10 old songs, 3 new songs, 3 different playing styles, a collaboration with the UC Davis Marching Band-uh, and a kizuna or "bond" that has been strengthening for 16 years. This show will honor the legacy of our alumni and exemplify the ever-growing kizuna amongst our members, alumni, drums, family, friends, and community.
Be a part of the Kizuna 絆
Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan's 6th Annual Showcase
April 29th at 4 p.m.
Davis Veterans Memorial Center Theatre
$10 for general admission, online or in person
$8 for students, in person
Tickets available at: https://bakuhatsutaikodan.yapsody.com/event/index/82496/kizuna-bonds
Written by Shai Nielson, BTD Historian 2016-2017
Spring Quarter is jam-packed for Bakuhatsu and we want to let everyone know how they can get in on the fun in these next few weeks of April.
Cal Raijin Taiko's 10th Annual Showcase, Kakehashi
The weekend after the Cherry Blossom Festival, Bakuhatsu will be hard at work practicing, but we're also going to take some time to visit our friends from Cal Raijin in Berkeley, CA for their 10th Annual Showcase, Kakehashi, on Sunday April 16th from 2-4 p.m. at the Chevron Auditorium, International House, UC Berkeley.
UC Davis' 103rd Annual Picnic Day
During the third weekend of April, Bakuhatsu is going to make team history by participating in UC Davis' 103rd Annual Picnic Day Parade for the first time ever. For weeks, we've been building our float and we'll be decorating it with origami and lanterns from the Cherry Blossom Festival. We can't wait to show it off as we play our hearts out for the entire duration of the parade. We will also be performing at the Children's Discovery Fair stage at 11 a.m. the same day. Picnic Day takes place on April 22nd and is an all day family-friendly event with many other performers, activities, and foods.
Written by Shai Nielson, BTD Historian 2016-2017
Last year, Bakuhatsu teamed up with Sudwerk Brewery to host a Cherry Blossom Festival in Davis and it went so well we’re making it an annual event! This year there will be performances from Bakuhatsu, Cal Raijin Taiko, Stanford Taiko, Jiten Daiko, Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association, Katgruvs, and UC Davis Wushu. There will also be Mochi pounding, an Ikebana demo, lantern painting, origami making, food vendors, game booths, and taiko lessons. Sudwerk is also bringing back their sakura brew and making a plum and citrus brew as well, which will both only be available at the event!
Check out the Facebook Event for more information and updates!
Also, if you like the design below, we'll be selling shirts and posters of it at the event and there will even be special items with the design that can only be won in the raffle.
Written by Shai Nielson, BTD Historian 2016-2017