With their rent being tripled effective September 1, the popular long-running Bay Area Japanese drumming group and cultural collective San Francisco Taiko Dojo is looking at eviction, and may have already had their last performance.
You have surely seen San Francisco Taiko Dojo out there banging the drums at years’ worth of AIDS Walks, Cherry Blossom Festivals, and other Bay Area celebrations. But you might not realize the true cultural significance of this Taiko Dojo. Established in 1968, it was the first Taiko group in America (or all of North America for that matter), the first to integrate women to play alongside men, and the first to admit non-Japanese members.
That history could come crashing to an end this month. NBC Bay Area reports that SF Taiko Dojo is being threatened with eviction from its practice and storage space over a rent increase that is “almost three times higher than what they’re paying now.”
“When the new owners came in, they pretty much said, this is the market rate, and you have 30 days, either you pay the market rate or you get out,” Ryuma Tanaka, son of founder Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka, told NBC Bay Area.
Indeed, the SF Taiko Dojo website was just updated to read “We are losing our lease on August 31, 2022. Donate to help us with our search for a new practice and storage location.”
While the address is not named in NBC Bay Area’s report, and the report notes that “a cultural icon is being priced out of San Francisco,” it’s pretty clear from the video that the space is their South San Francisco location at 212 Ryan Way.
Regardless, it’s urgent for fans of the troupe to support the “Help find San Francisco Taiko Dojo a new space” GoFundMe. That page states that “Evicting San Francisco Taiko Dojo from its current space would mean the organization would have to cease operations immediately until a new practice and storage facility is procured.”
And NBC Bay Area adds that last weekend’s Taiko Dojo performance “could have been their last.”