Curtis Patterson began to play the koto while a student at Cornell College in Iowa. He studied with modern koto great Tadao Sawai and holds a master’s license from the Sawai Koto Institute. The first non- Japanese national to graduate from the NHK master’s program for young performers of traditional Japanese music, Mr. Patterson is active both as a teacher of the classical and modern repertoires for koto and shamisen and as a performer throughout Japan. See his website here. A member of the Sawai Tadao Koto Ensemble and SOEMON, Mr. Patterson has appeared on numerous CDs and has collaborated with a wide variety of artists.
Kumiko Nakabayashi has been practicing Japanese calligraphy, or shodo, for 20 years. She holds a master’s license from Japan’s Sogen Shodo Group and has won major awards in Japan and overseas. Her works have been exhibited at the prestigious Mainichi Shodo Exhibition and Sogen Shodo Exhibition in Tokyo, and in New York, Paris, Prague, Monaco and Taipei. Her award winning work, “The Expression of Ink”, is part of the National Museum of Prague’s permanent collection of Japanese calligraphy (Czech Republic). Since 2002 she has been providing after-school calligraphy training to Japanese elementary, middle and high school students, many of whom have subsequently earned distinction for their skills with brush and ink.
Kaori Mori holds an MA in performance studies from New York University and a BA from the Nihon University, School of Art. She received the name, Fujima Suishun (藤間 翠春) as a recognized and licensed professional trained to teach Japanese classical dance. As a modern dance performer, Ms. Mori has danced in New York, Hong Kong, and Japan. Since returning to Japan, she has been teaching classical dance for over 15 years with dance workshops and performances held yearly throughout the Yokohama area. She is interested in sharing her dance experience with passionate people of all abilities.
Sakiko Kamata is a certified ikebana instructor and received her licenses from both the Koryu and Ichiyo schools. She has taught numerous classes for the last 20 years at various institutions including YIS, St. Maur and YCAC. She has also taught at the Minami Women’s Circle. Ms. Kamata’s flower arrangements have been honored by Yokohama city and her work has been featured in several newspapers highlighting her teaching experience and dedication working with the international community. Ms. Kamata looks forward to sharing her love for ikebana with a larger community.
Makiko Mori has been teaching the delicate art of Japanese cuisine to both Japanese and foreigners for several years. She has presented several cooking classes for the YIS PTSA as well as for various other special events in the Yokohama area. Ms. Mori’s specialties include traditional Japanese food incorporating natural and local ingredients from various regions of Japan. She looks forward to sharing her delicious recipes with the class.
Setsuko Usui is a Japanese Ink Painter and Calligrapher. She received training from the master painter Gokou Odaki whose works are displayed in various galleries throughout Yokohama. Ms. Usui also holds a license in calligraphy. Ms. Usui’s group exhibition is held every two years at Bluff 18 at Yamate-cho with various student works in several styles. She is a member teacher at the Yokohama International Women’s Club and has been teaching classes there for several years. Ms. Usui’s own works reflect attention to technical style and brushwork.
A Japanese traditional design and kimono specialists, Ms. Fumi Yoshikawa has been teaching the art of kimono dress and style for over 20 years. She received her international license of a lecturer at Kyoto Kimono Consulting Association in 1996 with special recognition. For the last several years, she has been assisting with the YIS Japanese Music Program as the kimono artisan. Ms. Yoshikawa also designs and creates her own line of clothing, jewelry and other fashion accessories.
Tomoko Tsuji has a varied background living, working and teaching in settings with foreigners. Having lived in Holland from 1993-1996, Tsuji sensei began teaching Japanese as a hobby. She felt a close kinship with teaching and eventually pursued her Japanese teaching license graduating in 2000. She has taught at several schools including YIS and JAL Academy. Her forte is combining Japanese language and culture in courses designed to inspire and stimulate student’s individual learning abilities. Tsuji’s daughter is a YIS graduate.
A native of Yorkshire, England, Britt Gershon has lived in Japan since 1986. She began her training in 1987 with a Chadō (Way of Tea) teacher from the Urasenke family line, which dates back to the 16th century. She received her teaching license in 1998. In 2011 she received an MA in Japanese Language and Society from the University of Sheffield, Yorkshire. Hoping to share her passion for tea with both Japanese and foreigners, Ms. Gershon co-hosts weekend retreats combining Way of Tea and meditation at Jyurinji, a Soto temple in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka.
Seiko Kasada holds an MA in Vocal Performance from New York University with additional study at Julliard School and at Catholic University of America. Ms. Kasada has performed at the New York Opera Forum in New York, the Asian Society in Washington DC, and many contemporary music concerts in Tokyo. She has been teaching in the U.S and Tokyo for over 20 years. Ms Kasada is looking forward to teaching various styles of vocal music including jazz, popular songs and classical repertoire.
Miyama McQueen-Tokita works as part-time koto instructor assisting in both the YIS Elementary and the Middle School Japanese Music Ensembles. Miyama hails from Australia and is a professional koto performer with training from both the Sawai Koto School and the NHK Japanese Music Program. She is often performing throughout Japan and overseas with various other Japanese music and Western music specialists. For Miyama's latest concert information, please see her website.