THE WOMEN AND TAIKO MOVEMENT: QUESTIONING GENDERED LEADERSHIP THROUGH EMBODIED PRACTICE
Coe, Allison Paige
Witzleben, J. Lawrence
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The tradition of North American taiko drumming has been rife with discussion on gender passed down from its Japanese origin. It is known that women, and even more so Asian American women, feel empowered performing taiko. Despite this feeling of empowerment, there has been minimal leadership roles held by female taiko players, roles such as: solo artists, workshop leaders, and composers. Women are also left out of the mainstream narrative of taiko drumming, which centers on masculine performance and performance styles. A coalition formed and launched the Women and Taiko movement—dedicated to solving these issues through webinars and by enhancing the visibility of female leadership. This movement expanded, including the first all-female, professional level taiko performance and women-created compositions. This thesis discusses this movement as a social movement that seeks to disrupt gendered systems of power and embodied knowledge through pragmatic solutions formed through discussions and by performance.