I Honor My Heritage

Kanna Jinno, 10, of Illinois, plays traditional Japanese drums.

Courtesy of family

For hundreds of years, people in Japan have played large wooden drums called taiko (ty-koh). Today I play taiko to celebrate my Japanese American culture!

When I was 5, my family was at a Japanese market in Chicago when we saw a local taiko group performing. It was so interesting. I asked if I could take lessons.

My sensei (sehn-say), or teacher, showed me how to stand properly and hold the sticks, called bachi (bah-chee). She taught me how to hit the top and sides of the drum to make different sounds. I began memorizing different songs.

courtesy of family

Kota and Kanna

I still take lessons every Sunday with my little brother, Kota. On other days, I practice by piling pillows on the couch and pretending they’re a drum. About once a week in summer, our taiko group performs for audiences. On those days, I wear a special jacket, headband, and shoes. They are clothes traditionally worn in Japan for festivals.

I plan to keep playing taiko and may even play professionally one day. I am proud of my heritage, and I want to express it!

courtesy of family

Kanna (center) and Kota (left) perform with Tsukasa Taiko.

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