Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Taiko Master Kenny Endo Returning to 67th Annual Satsuki Bazaar and Arts Festival on May 22

Kenny Endo

As part of his 40th Anniversary Celebration Tour, taiko master Kenny Endo is returning to headline the entertainment at the 67th annual Satsuki Bazaar and Arts Festival on Sunday, May 22, at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple.

The two-day bazaar and arts festival, which is the major fundraiser for the temple, will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and from 12 noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 22. The temple is located at 2121 Channing Way.


The entertainment, which will be free, will also feature Hawaiian music by JCCCNC ‘Ukulele as well as Dance Identity, which will perform a lively mix of Bollywood, Hip Hop and Bhangra styles. Taikoist Carol Chen will emcee the event.

Dance Identity will perform at 12:30pm; JCCCNC ‘Ukulele will perform at 1:45pm; and Endo will perform with an ensemble of renowned musicians: Hiroshi Tanaka, Mas Koga, Eien Ishikawa-Hunter, Noriko Tsuboi Nusthit at 3:00pm.

Kenny Endo. Photo by Lia Chang

Kenny Endo. Photo by Lia Chang

Kenny Endo is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continually paving new paths for this Japanese style of drumming. A performer, composer, and teacher of taiko with numerous awards and accolades, Kenny Endo is a consummate artist, blending Japanese taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation.

Originally trained as a jazz musician in the Asian American cultural renaissance of 1970s California, Endo began his taiko career first with L.A.’s groundbreaking Kinnara Taiko, then with the renowned San Francisco Taiko Dojo, the first kumi daiko (ensemble drumming) group outside of Japan. In 1980, he embarked on a decade-long odyssey in his ancestral Japan, studying and performing with the masters of classical drumming, traditional Tokyo festival music, and ensemble drumming. Endo has the honor of being the first non-Japanese national to have received a natori (stage name and masters license) in hogaku hayashi (classical drumming). In the hogaku world, Endo is known as Mochizuki Tajiro.

The bazaar will feature a variety of Japanese, Hawaiian and Asian foods, including sushi, udon, loco moco, kalua pork, curry rice and shave ice as well as American fare such as hot dogs, barbecued steaks, hamburgers and portobello mushroom burgers. The event will also feature a silent auction, arts and crafts, games for children and homemade baked goods.

“We welcome everyone to our 67th annual Satsuki Bazaar and Arts Festival,” said Russell Ware and Sara Jotoku, co-chairs of the bazaar. “We are honored that Kenny Endo chose the Satsuki Bazaar and Arts Festival as part of his 40th Anniversary Celebration Tour. Please join us for a weekend of great entertainment, delicious food and a memorable time at the temple.”

For Endo, headlining the entertainment has become a welcome, repeat event.

“The Satsuki Festival is one of my favorite events to perform at,” said Endo in 2014, his most recent appearance at Satsuki. “I always appreciate the temple members coming together to work so hard to make the festival successful every year. There’s a positive feeling of community spirit that’s been lost in most areas. It’s a modern manifestation of true Buddhism.”

JCCCNC 'Ukulele

JCCCNC ‘Ukulele has been performing Hawaiian music and playing ‘ukulele at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center in San Francisco for over a decade. They were guest performers in 2011 at the Honolulu ‘Ukulele Festival and the Maui ‘Ukulele Festival in 2012. They perform regularly at community events and Bay Area music festivals.

Dance Identity was founded in 2009 by choreographer and teacher Shaira Bhan. The Dance Identity troupe teaches classes and performs at various events and concerts. They have performed at the Miss India Pageant in Northern California, Performers For Choice Awards 2010 in San Francisco, and have collaborated with professional choreographers.

Carol Chen has been a member of San Francisco Taiko Dojo since 2011 and first began to emcee the group’s outdoor performances at San Francisco Japantown’s Cherry Blossom Festival.

A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Maya’s Musical Therapy Fund, which empowers people with developmental disabilities to increase their autonomy, build community and expand artistic expression through music therapy.

For more information, visit the Berkeley Buddhist Temple’s Facebook page at: or the Berkeley Buddhist Temple’s website at:

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and


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