About Us

Taiko for Everyone!

Akaoni Daiko is a community taiko group based out of the Valley Japanese Community Center in Sun Valley California. It is important for us to teach all aspects of the Taiko playing experience. As students evolve it is important for us to share the music they have studied to an audience as part of a fully cultural experience. We have weekly taiko drumming classes and all are welcome. Taiko drumming is a beautiful and exciting Japanese art form and our drumming classes are open to everyone of any age, gender, race or nationality.

Akaoni’s History

Michael first started learning taiko at the intensive KODO Juku on Sado Island in Japan, led by Katsushi Kondo. Returning to Tokyo, Michael studied with former Oedo Sukeroku Daiko member and leader of Wakon, Miyauchi Yukihiro. He studied with Miyauchi Sensei for 10 years and performed with his professional troupe on several occasions. He was a founding member of Waraku Daiko before forming the international taiko group, Akaoni Daiko in Japan.. Michael has done brief workshops with John Yost, Kaoly Asano, leader of Gocoo and Tawoo and with Art Lee, former member of Ondekoza and leader of Tokara. 

In Los Angeles Michael has trained with Shoji Kameda at Makoto Taiko and done brief workshops at LATI.  Michael has performed at the KODO Earth Celebration fringe stage on Sado Island for over 10 years in a row, as well as at various events, festivals, weddings and concerts. Michael continues his study of Taiko in Los Angeles, striving to improve his technique, form and understanding of this challenging and beautiful art

About the Sensei

Michael Naishtut received a BS degree in theatre from the State University of NY in Oneonta and has pursued a career as a professional actor performing in the NY and Florida Shakespeare festivals as well as in a comedy and music show at EPCOT center in Disney World, until he had the opportunity to go to Japan. Michael lived in Japan for 20 years studying taiko, theatre, karate and other performing arts. He was regularly seen on television and in major theatres throughout the country. Michael’s first experience playing taiko was in the Kodo Juku intensive workshop on Sado Island taught by Katsuji Kondo. Michael continued his taiko training in Ryogoku, Tokyo (home of Sumo) under former Sukeroku member and leader of Wakon, taiko master Miyauchi Yukihiro. Michael studied with Miyauchi sensei for over 10 years and is a founding member of both Waraku Daiko and Akaoni Daiko. He has performed at the Kodo Earth Celebration fringe stage annually for 10 years. In addition he has performed taiko at the Narita Temple Taiko festival, Toshimaen Amusement park, Gonpachi Restaurant, Little Tokyo Japanese American museum, OC Japan Fair, SoCal Anime Con, and for various weddings, parties, school events and even at the Hollywood Haunted Hayride. He teaches and performs out of the Valley Japanese Community Center in Sun Valley. To further his understanding and skills in taiko, Michael has trained with other amazing teachers like Art Lee of Tokara, John Yost of Rhythm Revolution, Fujimoto Yoshikazu of Kodo, as well as Yuta Kato and Masa Miyano of Unit One from Asano Taiko US. Michael is also one of the main drummers for the Shaolin Entertainment groups’ Chinese Lion Dance, performing at many Lunar New Years events, parties and celebrations including playing for actor James Hong receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.