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San Jose Taiko

  • Chapters

Wisa Uemura is the Executive Director with San Jose Taiko. In her 22 years with San Jose Taiko, Wisa has served as Performer, Artistic Staff, General Manager and in July 2011 Wisa succeeded its founder to lead the organization as Executive Director. Recognized as a leader within her field, Wisa has presented on taiko, succession planning, organizational culture and communications, nonprofit fundraising and women’s empowerment at the North American Taiko Conference, World Taiko Gathering, Alliance of Artists Communities National Conference, the National Consortium of Creative Placemaking Pacific Summit, and the inaugural National Endowment for the Arts Folk & Traditional Arts Convening. She has served on peer review grant panels for the Knight Foundation Arts and NEA Folk & Traditional Arts programs. Wisa is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley and has completed executive management trainings with BoardSource, FMA, CompassPoint, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. 

Franco Imperial is the Artistic Director with San Jose Taiko. In his 22 years with San Jose Taiko, Franco has honed San Jose Taiko's style and created a voice for the current generation while honoring the group's 47-year legacy. He leads SJT in artistic projects that use arts to foster connections between cultural communities, widespread creativity, and a more just and equitable society. Franco has composed over 20 original works for SJT and has co-created and produced collaborations with artists such as Abhinaya Dance Company, 5-time Grammy Award-nominee John Santos, NEA Heritage Fellow Danongan Kalanduyan, artist/teacher Dan Sabanovich, The Bangerz, Epic Immersive, and Aswat Ensemble. He has led workshops at the North American Taiko Conference, European Taiko Conference, Intercollegiate Taiko Invitationals. In 2019 he was selected by the City of San Jose Office Cultural Affairs to be a Creative License Ambassador and presented at the 2019 Pacific Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit. 

Learn more about San Jose Taiko at

Chapters is a multi-part series concerning the history and the lessons of civil rights violations or civil liberties injustices carried out against communities or populations—including civil rights violations or civil liberties injustices that are perpetrated on the basis of an individual’s race, national origin, immigration status, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

This project was made possible with support from Chapman University and The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, a state-funded grant project of the California State Library.

Guests: Wisa Uemura and Franco Imperial
Hosts: Jon-Barrett Ingels and Jonelle Strickland
Produced by: Public Podcasting

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