The specific schedule for the performers will be posted as soon as the times are solidified for 2017!


Aya Uchida – Pop Music of the “New” Japan with Jo Yamanaka

The Japan Festival is proud to feature Ms. Aya Uchida a Japanese professional pop singer who has come all the way from Kyoto, Japan to perform for us again this year. Mr. Jo Yamanaka will accompany her on the guitar. Ms. Uchida was born in Kyoto, Japan. In 2009, she met with guitarist, Jo Yamanaka and they started to produce and sing their original songs. Their first collaborative single, “Mahalo-Arigato,” was originally composed for the Kansas City Japan Festival and was very well received in the U.S. and Japan.

Aya’s official debut as a professional singer took place in June 2010 when her first album was released. At the same time Aya started her own show/program for a local radio station. Not only in Japan, Aya has performed in many Japan festivals in the US and has also frequently visited the Republic of Haiti to entertain members of the Japan Self-Defense Force, dispatched to provide international relief activities after the 2010 earthquake and also visited children’s orphanages to share her songs and support.

Aya’s new music video “Long Road / J-Country Version” was taken at an old ranch near Kansas City. And, her new music video “MAHALO~ALOHA” was performed in Kansas City. You can find these videos on YouTube!

Aya Uchida
Aya Uchida


Ki Daiko Olathe High School Taiko Group

Ki Daiko is comprised of students from the Olathe public schools. The group started in 2003 and has performed extensively throughout the Kansas City region. Students learn the basics of gumi daiko playing; develop traditional as well as creative repertoire; care for the instruments and respect for one another. The group’s founder and director is Dianne Daugherty. Keiko Okada Brown and Karen Reed serve as instructors and leaders. The group practices once a week and are grateful to Olathe North High School for hosting our practices and allowing storage space for our drums.

Three Trails Taiko

Three Trails Taiko is a local Japanese drum ensemble. Their goal is to become better taiko players in mind, body and spirit, while sharing the tradition, culture and art of Kumi Daiko and Japan with the greater Kansas City area. The group formed in the summer of 2010.

For additional information, go to

Yoko Hiraoka

Yoko Hiraoka is a senior master performer of Biwa, Koto, Shamisen (Japanese instruments) and Jiuta voice. She is a native of Kyoto, Japan and studied classical and modern koto and shamisen music from an early age. Her performance career originated in Japan and spans almost thirty years.
Yoko’s repertoire includes contemporary compositions by both Japanese and American composers and classical Japanese music. Since moving to the U.S. in 1993, she has performed extensively at festivals, concerts, lectures, recitals and on television and radio. Performances have taken place at the Art Institute of Chicago, Princeton University, Yale University, UCLA, Bowdoin, Smith and Colby colleges, the Lotus Festival, Atlanta Japanfest and St. Louis Japan Festival, just to name a few.