Ai Matsuda

Taiko | Shishimai

ai matsuda

Born and raised in Japan until the age of 16, Ai Matsuda moved to Hawaii to study English. There, she began to play taiko with Hawaii Matsuri Taiko, led by Mrs. Faye Komagata – her aunt.

My Learning Experience in Japan: Edo Kotobuki Jishi – Wakayama RyuLion Dance – Shishimai, is Japanese Lion Dance. Edo Kotobuki Jishi is a Lion Dance of old Tokyo (Edo).Edo Kotobuki Jishi by Wakayama Shachu (school of Wakayama Ryu) has one person as a dancer (Mai),and 3 Ohayashi (Japanese festival music) musicians – taiko (drum) set, shinobue (bamboo flute), andatarigane (handheld gong). In Japan, Shishimai is usually performed during festivities to celebrate thenew year, chasing bad spirits away and bringing good luck to families. In recent years, Shishimai hasalso been performed for ceremonial purposes for communities and businesses. There are many styles ofShishimai throughout Japan and sometimes it is performed by two to three dancers under oneShishigashira (lion head). I have been studying under Kyosuke Suzuki Sensei since 2011. SuzukiSensei has his own students, and I was a part of his student group called “Kyo no Kai”. Students usuallypractice one part of a piece for the whole year, then you’ll have an opportunity to participate/perform atthe Kyo no Kai student recital. Besides learning and performing all 3 Ohayashi parts, I performedShishimai 3 times consecutively at the Kyo no Kai student recital and continue to take private lessonsfrom Suzuki Sensei.

Ai Matsuda will be performing at the Children’s Festival, and the Japanese Festival.