Date of Birth:

May 18, 1950, San Rafael, CA




Patti Jo Hirabayashi, known as PJ, is recognized in the North American Taiko community for her artistic performances and teaching style. Hirabayashi is a third-generation Japanese American who grew up in the Bay Area. She was an active child in dance classes like ballet and tap. In 1977, she received her master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from San José State University, her master thesis focused on the preservation of San José Japantown. After her graduation she immersed herself in the Japantown community and started working with SJSU students in the Asian American Communities classes. From the 1970s until 2011, Hirabayashi was the San José Taiko artistic director creating the audition process, workshops, school shows, and residences.  San José Taiko traveled and performed in Japan and throughout the United States wearing costumes she designed. Today, PJ Hirabayashi is the founder of TaikoPeace and co-founder of Creative Compassionate Communities – a grassroots art-ivist group in San José.


Honoree Photo Credit:
Bryce Craig


Tamiko Rast