Koji Nakamura


Koji Nakamura is considered one of today’s foremost taiko artists. His career began in 1982 as a member of Japan’s legendary Ondeko-za. In 1985 he became the first leader of the Shumei Taiko Ensemble. Starting with just three drums, three drummers, and two compositions, under his leadership the group evolved to one of taiko’s preeminent groups.

Among his major artistic influences are Tagayasu Den of Ondeko-za, who taught the importance of character and dedication, and the Shumei Ensemble’s artistic director, the flutist Meisho Tosha, who revealed the sophistication and unlimited expression possible within taiko. Primary among his influences was Shumei’s first taiko artist, Toshiro Ishida, who instilled in Mr. Nakamura the belief that at heart taiko
is a spiritual pursuit. He also believes that if taiko holds a purpose beyond pure enjoyment, it is to create harmony amongst people.

Koji Nakamura can be heard on most of the Shumei Ensemble’s recordings. He was featured on Eugene Friesen’s CD, “Sono Miho” and most recently on Paul Winter’s CD, “Crestone.” His work on the later resulted in a Grammy Award in 2007. Koji moved to the United States in 2005 to help promote the art of taiko in North America. He now oversees a number of students, artists, and groups
throughout the country.