The Sakura Dance Group is a non-profit organisation based on the Gold Coast, Australia established in September, 2008. Originality and innovation are hallmarks of the Sakura Dance Group. “Sakura” is the Japanese word for “Cherry Blossom”.
Our aim is to spread the awareness of Japanese culture and history through traditional Japanese dance. We hope to bring entertainment and happiness to our audiences.
Teacher, choreographer, art director and leader of the Sakura Dance Group, Junko Thomson has fused together a variety of traditional styles to create a unique and yet authentic Japanese cultural experience.
The Sakura Dance Group performs regularly at cultural events, schools, churches, aged-care centres and charity events.
Takako was born in Otsu, Japan. Takako began her study of the Koto at the age of six. She studied under Grand Master Shizu Fujino from Ikuta Ryu Miyagi school.
From an early age, Takako also began performing in public as one of the youngest performers of her koto school. At the age of 16, Takako expanded her musical studies to play the Shamisen. Like the koto, she performed the Shamisen for her Koto school.
In 2000, Takako received her teaching license from the Miyagi school of Tokyo. She passed both her Koto and Shamisen exams, coming in the top ten from all of Japan in her year.
Takako moved to Brisbane in 2005. Since then, she has been involved in a number of public and private performances, often with Carl Rathus, who accompanies her on the Shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute. As a duet, Takako and Carl recently performed in Queensland Police Pipes & Drums Benefit Concert for Japan Earthquake/Tsunami at the Old Museum Hall and Queensland Multicultural Festival.
Toko-ton taiko is made up of 3 Brisbane based, experienced taiko players, Chie Mason and Shinobu Takebata from Japan and Steve Mason from Australia. All 3 members trained under professional and distinguished Japanese taiko masters based both in Japan and Australia.
Since forming in 2012, Toko-ton has been warming welcomed into the thriving Brisbane cultural music scene. The group has had the privilege of performing in some of Brisbane’s top locations, including Brisbane City hall, King George Square, the Queen St Mall, Chinatown Mall, Brisbane Botanical gardens, The Queensland State Library plus many various Multicultural festivals, public and private events around Brisbane.