Campus Community

Cultural Arts

Written by Sofia Marti, '23

March 13, 2023

Drumming from Japanese cultural arts club
The Hidaka Taiko club performs during half-time at a Redhawks basketball game.

The Hidaka Taiko club is spreading the joy and artistry of Japanese drumming.

This story is part of a series spotlighting Seattle University student clubs. In this installment we go inside the Hidako Taiko club, one of more than 100 student-run clubs on campus.

At Seattle University, there are several cultural clubs on campus including Hidaka Taiko, a club intended to spread the joy and culture of taiko drumming to the campus community. Taiko is a traditional form of Japanese drumming traced back to the 6th century CE and has been ringing loud ever since. Having such a strong Japanese cultural presence on campus, an SU Japanese exchange student decided to first form the club in 2017 and the group has grown considerably in popularity since.

“Hidaka Taiko has allowed me the privilege to become a part of an immensely encouraging community and I have made connections with amazing people, both current students and alumni, who I would have never met otherwise,” says club member Catherine Smead, ’23. “Once I joined Hidaka in the Fall of 2020, my passion for the art grew immensely and I hope to continue playing even after my time at SU comes to a close.”

When I asked the club to describe themselves in one word, they answered “driven” and given the intense workload they put on themselves, this was no surprise. Club members practice three times a week intensive drills to improve their form. Because they are a student-run cultural entertainment club, they are invited to perform at many on-campus events including during games, at the International Dinner and Quadstock.

"I love Hidaka Taiko because it is a club that serves as a creative outlet, as well as a place where I feel safe. I can push myself to be better because I know I have supportive people around me that will always encourage me,” says club member Katlyn Wong, ’24. “I got to fulfill a childhood wish with this club and I really couldn’t have asked for a better taiko group to start with and learn from. It’s a home I can always come back to.”

Similar to several other clubs on campus, Hidaka Taiko struggled to retain members throughout COVID. However, they have slowly rebuilt their club to its pre-pandemic form, including welcoming promising new members that will keep up the beautiful tradition of taiko drumming.