Captivated by the rhythm and inspired by the power of the drums, the late Harley Tonooka and Gene Sekiya returned home determined to start a Taiko group in Fresno after hearing San Jose Taiko in concert.
Both being members of the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple, they began to meet with potential players, contributors, and temple officials. After many meetings and a great deal of support, the group was formed in 1987 under the direction of Mr. Mamoru Maseba and Mr. Robert Taniguchi, with both of these temple members having Taiko experience during their youth.
Rev. Michihiro Honda, the group's first ministerial advisor, gave this fledging group the name GUMYO-FRESNO BETSUIN BUDDHIST TAIKO. The name "Gumyo" was chosen for two reasons. Gu means together or sharing with and Myo means life; therefore GUMYO means "sharing life together". Secondly, Gumyo is a mythical two-headed bird in ancient Buddhist writings called Sutras that teaches a lesson about sharing and living in harmony. The group adopted the stage name, "Fresno Gumyo Taiko", but retains the original name for official purposes.
The original group consisted mostly of junior high and high school students. With the majority of those original players having gone to pursue other occupational goals, an adult group was formed in 1992 and a new junior group was formed in the latter part of 1994. We welcomed many new members in 2001, 2008, and 2014, and many from these groups are presently playing and performing as representatives of Fresno Gumyo Taiko.