About Us

The People behind the JTPAO
awardphotoJTPAO Founder & President,
Mikko Haggott Henson aka Katada Kikusa

Mikko Haggott Henson is a dynamic woman involved in many community activities. In addition to being honored with many volunteer service awards, she also founded the Torrance Sister City Program with Kashiwa Japan. While active in community affairs, she never the less has made time in her busy schedule to promote and participate in traditional Japanese performing arts. She founded the JTPAO in 1992 to serve as a vehicle for the promotion and preservation of the these arts, and through her tireless dedication, the Los Angeles area has benefited greatly as a result. Beside of this performing arts field she works as a cultural consultant, cultural coordinator, cultural adviser and educater to be a bridge between two cultures.

E-mail: mikko@jtpao.org
At left, Mikko Haggott Henson received the most prestigious award, Jared Sidney Torrance Award of Merit for her lifetime committment to the community from Torrance Mayor, Dee Hardison on April 2, 2002.
The article of this award appeared on May 2002 issue of The Cultural News.
What We Do

The Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Organization was founded in 1992 to preserve and promote Japanese traditional performing arts in the United States. Traditional performing arts have had a difficult time surviving in this age and a conscious effort is needed to hand down traditional art forms to future generations. It is a nonprofit tax exempt organization under 501(c)3.
It is an umbrella organization for all the Japanese traditional performing arts groups in Los Angeles. Our organization’s main interest is classical performing arts such as Gagaku, Noh, Kabuki dance and music,traditional instrumental music such as biwa, koto, shamisen, shakuhachi, tsuzumi etc. To learn more about the Japanese traditional music, please visit

Its activities are:
1. Public presentation of Japanese traditional performing arts. We pride ourselves in presenting high quality authentic performances. This does provide opportunities for master artists of Los Angeles to showcase their works. We have been presenting concerts once a year since 1992.
In our presentation we try to include lectures to acquaint general audiences with traditional performing arts.
Usually performers from Japan are invited to perform along with local artists.This stimulates and helps develop the artistic level of local artists so that they are comparable to those of their native lands.

We produced the following concerts: (please check our event archives)

Showcase Presentation of Traditional Performing Arts of Japan
1992, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“The World of Tsuzumi”
1994, at the Japan America Theater in Los Angeles.

“Sound of Japan”
1995, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“Dance of Japan”
1996, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“Dance and Music of the Orient”
1997, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“Kabuki Hayashi Concert”
1998, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“Spring Concert of Japanese Traditional Music and Dance”
2000, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“Katada Kisaku New Year Concert”
in commemoration of designation as a Living National Treasure.
2001, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“The World of Noh, Kyogen and Buyo”
2002, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center – James Armstrong Theater.

“Katada Kai 20th Anniversary Concert”
2003(Jan), at Aratani/Japan America Theatre in Los Angeles

“Kineya Kichisaburo Memorial Concert”
2003 (June), at Aratani/Japan America Theatre in Los Angeles

“Music of Edo Concert”
2003 (Dec.), in the Garden Room, JACCC, Los Angeles

“The World of Kabuki Music Concert”
2004 (Feb.), at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center-James Armstrong Theater

“Nagauta SHIKI NO KAI Concert”
2005 (Feb.), at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center-James Armstrong Theater

“Moon of the Scarlet Plums”
2005 (Sept.), at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center-James Armstrong Theater

Altogether the organization presented more than 300 performers including 80 artists who traveled from Japan.

2. Provides easy access to education and training to assure the continuation of Japanese traditional performing arts by providing workshops and Artist in Residence type programs. These programs are offered free of charge with the funding from the California Arts Council.

Artist in Residence Program
1998-2001 at Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
Classes on Japanese dance and Kabuki percussion.
Residence artists Katada Kikusa and Hanayagi Wakana
This three year program presented students’ recitals at the end of each year
and culminated in November 2001 with a graduation performance at
David Henry Hwang Theater
Union Center for the Arts, Los Angeles

Arts in Education Program
Winter-Spring 2002 at Brea Olinda High School, Orange County
Three months session on Japanese dance and percussion.
instructor Katada Kikusa and Hanayagi Wakana
The workshop culminated in a performance of the dance and percussion classes by the
students and the artists/instructors
at the Japanese Cultural Evening on Friday, Olinda HS Performing Center
April 12, 2002 from 6-9 pm.

3. Provide lecture demonstrations to educational or community groups

1990 Lecture Demonstration at a drama class at UC Irvine.
1991 Demonstration and workshop at LA County High School of Arts.
1998 Lecture Demonstration at Japanese American National Museum.
1999 Lecture Demonstration at California Institute of the Arts.
2000 Lecture demonstration at Cal Poly, Pomona. Theater Department.
2001 Lecture demonstration at CSU San Marcos
4. Referral Service

Japanese traditional performing arts are theater arts which are visual arts as well as performing arts. Our aim is to present the performance as authentically as possible which includes proper stage props, costumes, wigs, live musicians, etc. To fulfill our goal is costly, however we think these are essential things in order to be fully understood and appreciated. We also have to account for the cost of bringing performers from Japan. Our production expenses far exceed ticket income. Yet we would like to present it at a reasonable price to general audiences.
Therefore, we appreciate funding from the following sources:

  • California Arts Council
  • Fund for Folk Culture
  • California Community Foundation
  • City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department
  • Los Angeles County Arts Commission
  • Japan Foundation Los Angeles Office
  • Center for Global Partnership of Japan
  • Individual donations
  • Corporate donations

If you are willing to help us in anyway possible including advice, volunteering,in-kind services, etc., we would very much appreciate hearing from you.
Please contact us at: mikko@jtpao.org