Hiroki Tanaka

Region: Toronto Ontario
Generation: Nisei
Born 1988, Toronto


Hiroki Tanaka is a musician, artist and writer born in Toronto, Ontario. He grew in Toronto’s east end, in the area formerly known as “East York”.

He attended Concordia University in Montreal to study Creative Writing and Music, where he would focus on poetry and songwriting. This is also where he initially met members of the asian diaspora/indigenous collective known as YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN.

In 2015 he joined YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN as the lead guitarist, and worked on the soundtrack for the video game SEVERED by game developers Drinkbox Studios. In 2018, YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN released the album DIRT (nominated for the 2018 Polaris award) and toured extensively across Canada, USA, UK and Western Europe.

During this period where he was working with YT//ST, he was also a caregiver for his grandmother who had Alzheimer’s, and then looked after his uncle who had terminal cancer. This experience led Tanaka to create his debut solo album, Kaigo Kioku Kyoku (2020), which made music out of meaningful objects, voice recordings of his relatives, and were structured off of hymns and Japanese folk songs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanaka connected with Prof. Megan Davies (York University) who was deeply concerned by the treatment of the elderly in Long Term Care homes across Canada. To bring attention to this humanitarian crises, Tanaka participated in the traveling installation, Covid In The House of Old (https://covidinthehouseofold.ca/) creating a data visualization piece which played a note for ever person who died from COVID in a LTC home, in the initial waves of the pandemic.

Artist Statement

I have always had an appreciation for exploring my cultural heritage, often by juxtaposing Western and Japanese language and culture to produce a new hybrid lense. I often want to bring attention to how the two cultural ideologies do not exist homogeneously in myself - rather, there is a dissonance and tension which provides a lot of inspiration and creative output.

TAGS: Music |

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