Yurika Chiba (Kawagoe, Japan/Toronto, Canada) began playing taiko in Tokushima, Japan in 1995 and has since played with groups in Australia and northern California. Yurika is a member of the Audition Process class of 2006 and joined SJT's Artistic Staff in 2007, now touring internationally and nationally, as well as performing locally at festivals, schools and corporate events. Her responsibilities also include leading rehearsals, trainings and workshops, composing original works, and teaching in SJT's Junior Taiko program. Yurika is a regular guest instructor at the biennial North American Taiko Conferences, and panelist for Women & Taiko. Through the Alliance of California Traditional Arts (ACTA) she completed an apprenticeship with SJT founder, Roy Hirabayashi and is a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI).
Also a visual artist (aka “TaikoCat”) with a degree in Psychology, Yurika is deeply interested in the connection between tactile/rhythmic aesthetics and creativity in art and music as well as the applications of taiko/art to holistic and mental health. Yurika’s background in piano, dance, mixed media art, psychology and certification in TESOL combine in a unique mix to inform her work with taiko as an instrument for the individual’s expression of self and connection to community. She is a founder and the coordinator of San Jose Taiko’s “Taiko for All” program focused on communities with special needs.