A Brief History

A Brief History

The history of Fushu Daiko begins with the marriage of Yoshiko and Charles Cane. Yoshiko, a South Florida resident since 1970, came from Japan and was very active in the Japanese Community, helping many people become established here.  She was a member of the Japan American Society of South Florida and the Japan Society of South Florida.  She was the co-founder of Fushu Daiko.  She was an award-winning floral designer, a member of S.G.I. and was a Japanese Classical Dancer under the guidance of Sensei Chieko Mihori.

Charles Cane was a US Veteran who had served his duty and fell in love in Japan. Living in Plantation, Florida, Charles worked with a company that installed new medical equipment for dental practices.  Charles and Yoshiko frequently attended Japanese festivals held at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, where Yoshiko Cane would dance with Sensei Mihori’s dance team. The couple would find themselves as spectators to the variety of Taiko Drum teams from other areas that would be invited to perform for the public. Yoshiko and Charles soon realized that South Florida lacked its own home taiko drum team. 

Their love of taiko, and their determination, lead the Canes to create the “South Florida Japanese Taiko Drumming Preservation Society,” aka Fushu Nipon Daiko Hozenkai,  in September of 1990, which was shortened to Fushu Daiko.  The following year Charles and Yoshiko Cane played taiko at Morikami’s 1991 O Bon festival as Fushu Daiko.

Charles and his great friend and coworker, Kendall Covin started making drums.  Yoshiko and Charles had been driving back and forth to Orlando on weekends to train with Sensei Takemasa Ishikura.  Ishikura is the master taiko drummer of the taiko group Matsuriza, that has performed at the Epcot Center theme park at Disney World since their opening.  During this period Yoshiko and Charles were also making trips to Japan, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to train with master taiko teachers Seiichi Tanaka and Etsuo Hongo.

Photo of 6 performers posing in front of a lake

Hideki Matsuda · Charles Kane · Karl Sturman · Yoshiko Cane · Kendall Covin · Yoshiko Carlton

In 1992 Yoshiko Carlton and Kendall Covin joined Fushu Daiko, and were joined by Hideki Matsuda the following year. With their homemade drums and their knowledge of taiko, the team began performing around South Florida at places like Morikami Museum and events at the Consulate General of Japan in Miami. In 1993 Fushu Daiko performed for the first time outside the state of Florida.  They were hired to perform at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC.  Sensei Ishikura from Matsuriza was with Fushu Daiko at this event. 

It was generally known that Yoshiko Cane was experiencing health issues but late in 1998 she became ill and tragically passed away.  The group was rocked.  Fushu Daiko was left without their leader and inspiration. Charles Cane and Yoshiko Carlton spoke at the funeral acknowledging how Yoshiko’s presence would be missed by all those whose lives were touched by her influence but disclosed their commitment to ensuring that Fushu Daiko would go on.

Charles however would not lead Fushu Daiko going forward any further past the death of his wife and decided the leadership should be left to the senior members to accomplish.  The senior members at that time were Yoshiko Cane, Kendall Covin, Hideki Matsuda, Karl Sterman, Eddie Yates, Fernando Moraes, Ben Miller, & Greg Williams.

At the funeral, Ben Miller was approached by Yoshiko’s esteemed taiko teacher, Sensei Ishikura, with an invitation to study with his team, Matsuriza, in Orlando.  As Yoshiko was his student, Sensei Ishikura extended this extraordinary opportunity to Ben as a way to ensure that Fushu Daiko would continue to be trained well by a skilled taiko drummer in the future.  Ben took the rare chance to train and perform with Matsuriza from 1999-2001. 

When Ben returned from his time with Sensei Ishikura, Ben began to be a much bigger part of leadership and training within Fushu Daiko.  Ben Miller became the Artistic Director for Fushu Daiko and worked feverishly over the last decade in performing the day to day tasks of running Fushu Daiko. During this time Fushu Daiko grew steadily in the number of performances, school workshops, and community charity events.  Fushu Daiko traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, New York, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, and all over Florida.  They opened the South Florida Taiko Dojo in Davie, Florida, as a facility for the taiko group to rehearse, a resource for the South Florida community to practice and study the taiko art form, and as a place to store the vast inventory of taiko drums and other foreign instruments. 

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Many drummers have come through Fushu Daiko’s dojo over the years. Currently, Fushu Daiko and South Florida Taiko Dojo are made up of 14 performing members, 2 performing apprentices, and 44 dojo members.  We are a community dedicated to the practice of taiko drumming and creating positive and supportive relationships. The individuals that comprise Fushu Daiko and Japan Arts Inc are determined to create a sustainable organization that can survive beyond their own lifetimes.

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