Meet the members of Oregon Koto-Kai

Board Members

Mitsuki Dazai
Member since 2012

Mitsuki graduated with a degree in Western Classical music at the Kunitachi College of Music, then became a student of the Koto at the Sawai Koto Institute in Tokyo. She continued her studies under Koto Master Kazue Sawai after completing the ensemble music course. Moving to the US in 2002 she started to teach and perform throughout the US, Europe, South America and Canada. Mitsuki is a founding member and instructor of Oregon Koto-Kai.

Nobuko Chalfen
Member since 2012

Nobuko started koto lessons in her early twenties in Japan. In 2012, she restarted taking lessons after about a 30 year break and received an Intermediate Level Certificate from the Sawai Koto Institute. She loves the gentle, nostalgic, yet dramatically dynamic koto sounds. In addition to the koto, she practices chado (the tea ceremony) to calm herself. She is one of the founding members of Oregon Koto-Kai.

Josh Faber-Hammond
Member since 2015

Josh started learning music at an early age with piano, trumpet, and drums, and throughout his music education he developed an appreciation for music from all over the world. After seeing several performances by Mitsuki-sensei, learning and performing koto has become his primary musical pursuit. Josh is also a member of the Sawai Koto Institute and has his level one certification.

Amy Shoemaker
Member since 2016

Amy began playing koto in 2011 when she taught English in Japan and had the good fortune to be neighbors with a koto teacher. She currently holds an intermediate level certificate from the Sawai Koto Institute. Her dream is to build community through music.

Players

Adam Eason
Member since 2019

When Adam was young, he learned one of his great-grandmothers played the koto. After moving to Portland in 2018, he soon learned of the Oregon Koto-Kai, and began taking lessons not long after seeing one of their Fall concerts. Currently a teacher, composer, and cellist, he hopes to incorporate the koto more thoroughly in his music career.

Eiko Kondo
Member since 2013

Eiko began to take koto lessons with Mitsuki-sensei in 2013. The first time she encountered the koto was when she was a middle school student in music class and the sound really touched her heart. She is happy that her daughter decided to play the koto too!

Kayo Kondo-Cox
Member since 2018

Kayo grew up in Japan hearing her mother play Koto. She started her lessons with Mitsuki-sensei in 2017. “It’s just so wonderful to connect with my heritage and share the culture through Koto”. She is a photographer and loves being out in nature.

Eri Muroi
Member since 2015

Eri studied koto and shamisen with Yuri Suzuki and Miho Ashigaki. She graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, and studied at NHK (Japanese National Broadcasting Company ) school for performers of traditional Japanese music. She certified koto and shamisen instructor of Miyagi Koto Association. In 2018, She formed Kotorito(香鳥絃) that is traditional Japanese music group in Portland.

McKenzie Robeson
Member since 2018

McKenzie started to take lessons with Mitsuki in November 2018. She saw the koto being played at the Japanese Gardens and fell in love with it. She enjoys the challenge of learning and mastering new pieces. She has always loved different kinds of music and can also play the piano.

Miyuki Sakiyama
Member since 2017

Miyuki has studied koto with Fujiko Yoneta and Kotoe Tada. She is a certified koto instructor of Soumei Ongaku-kai. Alongside her koto studies, she is a professional piano accompanist in the Portland Metro area, and enjoys playing music with other people.

Miwa Satoh
Member since 2019

She started to take the Koto lessons in 2017 and joined OKK in 2019. Since she moved to the U.S., she has always been missing Japanese culture and found her desire to learn a Japanese instrument. Now, she has been discovering her joy to play the Koto with other players at the unsemble. Besides playing the Koto, she enjoys Japanese flower arrangement and dancing Gospel Hula. She also enjoys doing Karate and playing Golf with her husband and their son.

Yuko Shimazaki
Member since 2019

Yuko has been learning koto since 2015. She took part in her first OKK concert in the fall of 2019. It was a wonderful experience for her and has enhanced her motivation to learn koto.

Rena Takahashi
Member since 2016

Rena was born and raised in Japan, and moved to RI in 1996. Inspired by Mitsuki’s performance at Portland Japanese Garden, she joined OKK in 2016, and has been loving it since. Her wild dream is to have jazz jam sessions with her son, who is a young aspiring bassist.

Keiko Twiss
Member since 2012

Keiko started taking koto lessons at age 10 in Japan. After she moved to WA, she joined OKK and started taking lessons with Mitsuki sensei in 2012. She achieved an intermediate certificate from the Sawai Koto Institute and works toward the advanced level. She is passionate about collaborating with other instruments and enjoys making music with her kids.

Oregon Koto-Kai Junior Members


From back left: Lisa Doles, Koharu Sakiyama, Nene Kondo, Landen Ratcliffe
From front left: Haruka Sakiyama, Allison Furiya, Kazumi Muroi