Michelle FujiiBoard member
Michelle Fujii, taiko artist and co-director of Unit Souzou, creates contemporary work through the art forms of taiko and Japanese folk dance, placing cultural art within the present. After graduating with a degree in ethnomusicology from UCLA, she was awarded a fellowship from the Japanese government to study with Japan’s foremost traditional folk dance troupe, Warabi-za, in Northern Japan. Michelle has been a guest artist and collaborator with numerous North American and international taiko groups, including San Jose Taiko, On Ensemble, Portland Taiko, TaikoArts Midwest and Kagemusha Taiko in the UK. In Portland, she serves on the resource council for New Expressive Works and is an active teaching artist with The Right Brain Initiative and Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington. She is a fellow at the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute (APAWLI) through the Center for Asian Pacific American Women. In 2014, Michelle with her partner Toru Watanabe, fused their unique skills to build Unit Souzou, a Portland-based taiko ensemble-driven to create an expressive blend of taiko and Japanese folk dance, forging new traditions for evolving communities.