Sho’on Shibata is a performing artist and music educator of Japanese taiko drumming and shinobue (bamboo flute). While grounding his performance in traditional Japanese musical styles, Sho’on continues to explore the possibilities of blending Japanese taiko drums with his other influences such as Western classical, jazz, world music, and electronic music.
Born in Fukuoka Japan in 1991, Sho’on began his musical voyage at age 5 through Western classical music on the piano and later graduated from the Crane School of Music in New York State with a focus on music theory, history, and classical trombone. At the age of 13, he began his studies of drum set in the genres of rock, alternative, metal, and punk. From 2009 to 2013, he performed trombone in several bands in genres such as jazz, ska, reggae, and hip hop.
After more than fifteen years spent studying Western classical and popular music, Sho’on embarked on a journey of discovering the music cultures and rhythms from around the world. He has traveled to meet and study with master musicians of instruments such as djembe (St. Elizabeth, Jamaica), tablas (Chennai, India), janggu (Seoul, South Korea), and many more.
In 2015, Sho’on moved to Honolulu to study under Kenny Endo, a leading artist in the world of taiko drumming. From 2016 to 2020, Sho’on performed contemporary taiko, matsuri bayashi (festival music) and shishimai (lion dance) as a professional member of the Taiko Center of the Pacific and Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble. In 2019 he graduated with a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
As a passionate educator, Sho’on is an active instructor at the Taiko Center of the Pacific (Honolulu, HI) and Hibikus Tenjin (Fukuoka, Japan), while also providing private instruction to students around the world. He has also given workshops at large events such as the North American Taiko Conference Regional in Hilo, Summer Taiko Intensive, and the Regional Taiko Gathering.