Kupuna Life: Teaching taiko to uplift the spirit

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Taiko was used centuries ago in the military to warn and intimidate others. It was then incorporated into religious events and later found its way into festivals.

Taiko is an art that the Endo’s have been trying to preserve.

“Before I played taiko, I played western drums and it’s just a great example of using your mind, your body, your spirits, and puts it all together,” said Kenny Endo of Taiko Center of the Pacific.

Kenny Endo, 68, is a taiko master who started playing more than 45 years ago.

“It’s all about energy and the center, below your navel we call it ‘tanden’, that’s where your spirit emanates from, your energy, movement, rhythm,” Kenny said.

His wife, Chizuko, began shortly after he did. She is turning 70 later in summer 2021.

“You lose your focus, you could lose a beat or something so requires a lot of focus,” Chizuko said.

They own Taiko Center of the Pacific together, teaching people of all ages, including students in their 80s.

“We’ve met a lot of seniors who say they always wanted to play taiko since they were little kids,” Kenny said.

They opened their school to give everyone the opportunity to find their own rythym.

“A lot of people think they’re too old or have some physical ailment, I say just try some light exercises first,” Chizuko said.

And keeping in tune with the inner self and having the confidence to go for it is just as important.

“My philosophy is it’s never too early, never too late, so it all depends on your attitude and just be willing to try,” Kenny said.

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