Katada-Kai of USA is the Kabuki style percussion group headed by Katada Kikusa.
Madame Katada Kikusa
percussion at UCLA Fine Arts Department’s Japanese Classical Performing Arts Summer Session in 1981.
Grand Master Katada Kisaku was the teacher from Japan just for this session.
There was no teacher in the United States to continue study, so she decided to
organize a group and invite the Master to LA for a special workshop once a year. Also, she traveled to Japan to study Hayashi in Tokyo.
After five years of training she was granted a teaching credential and
the name Katada Kikusa from the Grand Master. The Grand Master
Katada Kisaku is the most honored classical percussion musician in
Japan today and is designated as a National Living Treasure.
Receiving the name Kikusa was a great honor.
Grand Master is known in Japan for not taking protégées and so far
has given only three of his protégées part of his name KIKU.
She received the Folk Arts Master Apprentice Grant from the California
Arts Council as a master in 1990 and again in 2001 from the Alliance of
California Traditional Artists.
She was CAC’s Artist in Residence Program’s artist from 1998 to 2001.
Also she received Fine Arts Awards from the City of Torrance in 1987.
To learn more about the Kabuki style percussion music, please visit
Click URLs below to visit my references:
Background of Katada-Kai of USA
by Katada Kikusa
Hayashi is essential part of Japan’s most characteristic music, Nagauta (Kabuki music) and dancing. It forms the heart and soul of music for the Kabuki. This music genre died out in America when Japanese Americans were interned and relocated during World War II.
Twenty two years ago, Japan’s National Living Treasure, Grand Master of Hayashi percussionist Katada Kisaku took part in UCLA’s Asian Performing Arts Summer Institute and taught an intensive course in Hayashi (Kabuki Percussion).
He was one of five Masters of Japanese Traditional Performing Artists that UCLA had invited for this special 1981 Summer Session. Other art forms taught at this session were: Noh by Kita Nagayo, Kyogen by Nomura Mansaku, Nihon Buyo by Hanayagi Chiyo and Nagauta by Sugiura Masakazu. As one of the students who took this summer session I can say that we were very fortunate because all of these artists were foremost in each of their fields in Japan.
During this summer session, Katada Kisaku gave people in Los Angeles their first opportunity to hear a live performance of Tsuzumi. A handheld drum, with a 500-year history, the Tsuzumi makes a unique sound controlled by the drummer’s manipulation of the tension of lacing.
Upon learning there were no Hayashi players in California, the master drummer helped to establish a group called Katada-Kai of USA here in Los Angeles in 1982. He returned to Los Angeles twice a year to give workshops to nurture the group. As a result he had made one natori and named her Katada Kikusa in 1986. Natori is a protégées allowed to use the name Katada and have teaching credential. Katada Kikusa is the first natori trained outside of Japan.
Receiving the name Kikusa was a great honor. It is rare for Grand Master Katada to take protégées, and so far,he has given only three of his protégées part of his name Kiku. Katada Kikusa now heads the Katada-Kai of USA. She is a California Arts Council’s Artist in Residence and has taught at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center for the past four years.
I remember that Katada Kisaku mentioned that in Los Angeles there are many Nagauta teachers and dance teachers, however, there was no one to provide Hayashi for them. Without Hayashi, Nagauta is like a flat soda or sushi without wasabi. He wanted Los Angeles people to enjoy authentic presentations of music and dance. But, Hayashi is an ensemble requiring at least five musicians to provide proper accompaniment, making it too expensive to invite Hayashi ensembles from Japan.
This was Katada Kisaku intention to train a group here. Thus if one or two professional Hayashi players came from Japan it would make it possible to form an ensemble capable of providing proper accompaniment to Nagauta or dance performances in Los Angeles. Therefore, he made the financial sacrifice to come to LA and devote time to nurture the Katada-Kai of USA. The result was a splendid success: Katada-Kai of USA has been performing Hayashi for nearly past 20 years.
For lesson information please contact:
Katada Kikusa (Mikko Haggott-Henson)
221 Via Los Miradores
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Phone (310) 378-3550
Fax (310) 378-6990