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The Cast
Director, Composer, Percussion and flutes - Kokichi Kusano

Kokichi Kusano

Director and Composer

Percussion and Flutes

Performing Japanese music since the age of five, Kokichi performed professionally since 1998. He left ensemble work in 2012 to write and perform independently. Nae is Kokichi's Directorial debut and his second full length musical theatre composition after Okuni (2018). 

Actress and performer Kayo Yasuhara as Soryo (the Abbot) in Nae - the rice seedling (2023)

Kayo Yasuhara

The Abbot (Soryo)

Kayo Yasuhara is a renowned performer of Japanese dance and theatre based in Montreal, QC. She leads her own performance troop in Montreal and is often engages in cinematic and theatrical acting. Kayo brings her choreographic wisdom and experience and her multilingual talents as an actress to this bilingual production of Nae. 

Teiya Kasahara as the Ghost in Nae - the rice seedling (2023)

Teiya Kasahara

The Ghost

Vocals and Percussion

Nikkei Canadian settler Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a queer, trans non-binary, interdisciplinary creator-performer based in Tkarón:to, who explores the intersections of identity through opera and theatre. They recently premiered their solo-work THE QUEEN IN ME at the Canadian Opera Company (Amplified Opera, Nightwood Theatre, Theatre Gargantua).

Connor Fukusaka as the Demon and on percussion in Nae - the rice seedling (2023)

Connor Fukusaka

The Demon (Oni)


Connor Fukusaka began his performing career at the age of 14. He has continued through the years to lead, teach and perform in productions and performances throughout Ontario. During his tenure as leader of Kyowa Daiko, he began performing with Kokichi as a member of the Hayashi no Kai in 2019 and joins Nae from his new home in Vancouver, BC.

Akiko Date on percussion in Nae - the rice seedling (2023)

Akiko Date


Akiko Date is a long time performer, teacher and leader of Taiko drumming. Akiko led the former Yakudo Taiko group, and now advises and administrates Kyowa Daiko at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. She shares her long experience in sharing Taiko with the community in performing in Nae. 

Japanese Artist Tetsuya Kudaka

Tetsuya Kudaka

The Farmer (Hyakusho)

The Guardian (Shugoshin)

Tetsuya Kudaka is a solo Japanese traditional stage performer who specializes in taiko drumming and folk dance. Tetsuya performs internationally as a talented and studied Expressionist of Japanese traditional performing arts. Tetsuya brings his choreographic talents and world champion O-daiko talents to Nae.

Dai Matsuzaka as Jito (the Minister) in Nae - the rice seedling (2023)

Dai Matsuzaka

The Minister (Jito)

Dai has performed in Beauty and the Beast (FFCA 2018), The Addams Family(FFCA 2019), Bring It On the Musical (Storybook Theatre, 2019), Where have all the lightning bugs gone? (One Acts 2018). As a guitarist/pianist/singer, Dai has also composed music for shows, notably for the One Act, Tuesdays and Sundays. (Online One Act 2019) Focusing on Meisner technique, he has directed, choreographed, and designed the One Act Musical, Colours In The Storm by Jim Betts (FFCA One Acts 2022).He is excited to adventure into a new form of theatre and represent his own culture in the production Nae.

Flutist musician Elisabeth Caty in Nae - the rice seedling (2023)

Elisabeth Caty

Flutes and Shakuhachi

Elisabeth Caty is a classical recorder and winds performer from St. Hillaire, QC. Her deep enthusiasm for Eastern flutes and winds brought her to perform with Kokichi and Kayo Yasuhara in many productions including Kayo Yasuhara's original feature production Okuni (2018) where she performed the music composed by Kokichi for the first time.

Tony Nguyen as percussion lead performer in Nae - the rice seedling (2023)

Tony Nguyen


Tony Nguyen is an elementary music teacher, musician and Taiko performer and instructor. He performed professionally as a member of a professional Taiko ensemble in Toronto for over a decade. He has composed and lead his own concerts in Japanese taiko.

Kyowa Daiko group Logo

Kyowa Daiko


Percussion, Ensemble Cast

This Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) based taiko group formed at the end of 2017, and established their name as JCCC Kyowa Taiko, meaning reverberation, harmony and of Japanese essence. They are a team of passionate volunteers with different levels of taiko and music experience, and are all equally dedicated to preserving the art of Taiko, through performance and teaching at the JCCC. 

Members: Yoshiko Shimizu, Justin Plummer, Mai Shimozato, Novia Ng, Akiko Date

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