ESP Biography

KOHTARO YAMAKAWA, Columbia University sophomore Physics/Math major

Major: Physics/Math

College/Employer: Columbia University

Year of Graduation: 2020

Picture of Kohtaro Yamakawa

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I have played Taiko fro 10 years, learning form, history, and more from sensei across the US and Japan. I am a part of Taiko Aikokai, a local Taiko group based in TC, and Columbia Taiko. As a japanese-american, I have always been interested in the cross section of japanese culture with american culture, in addition to the interplay between modernity and tradition. These elements of culture come out spectacularly in the art of taiko, making it not only fun but also rich in meaning. I hope to show you this within 2 hours of playing taiko interspersed with how it affected the growth of japanese culture in the late 20th century and now.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

A753: Taiko in Splash Fall 2018 (Oct. 28, 2018)
Taiko is a Japanese drumming art that centers on movement and rhythm to create a dynamic performance. I have been playing for 10 years and will focus on not only the basics of playing but its importance and role in the emergence of Japanese-American culture in America. Taiko is not only a very fun sport but also leads to certain questions on modernity vs tradition, culture vs entertainment, and more. If you've taken this course before, it is still worth taking again! This course will be more focused on what it means to play taiko, as opposed to exploring various forms of taiko.

S638: Introduction to Topological Insulators in Splash Spring 18 (Mar. 31, 2018)
I will begin with basic band theory,Bloch states, and elementary point set Topology and go straight into what Topological Insulators are and including where the current research is going. While rigorous understanding of topology is not required, having an understanding of a topological invariant is key in understanding topological insulators.

A639: Short Introduction to Taiko: Japanese Drumming in Splash Spring 18 (Mar. 31, 2018)
Taiko is a Japanese art of drumming that emphasizes body movement and energy. I am an active player in Taiko, and have been playing for 9 years, having been trained by many great sensei including Hayashi Eitetsu, Kenny Endo, Ryouta Kataoka, and Yoko Nakahashi. We will be exploring the introductory types of Taiko, including all the different types of drums and songs and elements of Japanese culture. Students will be allowed to explore various elements of rhythm, sound, and culture in an overall fun experience! We will end the class with a performance from the group so that students will be able to see what an accumulation of all the different songs may amount to.