Noriko Kobayashi is a musician. She earned a M.A. degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of British Columbia, in addition to a B.A. in Music and Psychology from U.B.C. She also earned a music degree from Capilano College in classical voice studies and is also a published author on the subject of taiko. Prior to her life in academia, Kobayashi was a founding member and bassist in riot grrl rock band Tribe 8, recording and performing extensively throughout Europe and America. Trading in the bass for bachi – taiko drum sticks – Kobayashi was introduced to taiko and apprenticed with Sawagi Taiko. She later moved to Tokyo, Japan and immersed herself in the study of taiko and shamisen (nagauta, tsugaru, and Okinawan sanshin), Kobayashi also studied shigin (Japanese poetry chanting) with the Kokusai-Ryu Shigin Kai earning the stage name Kobayashi Kokusai and a Renshi certification (entry level for teaching).
Kobayashi was a member of Oedo Sukeroku Taiko’s student group for seven years, studying with the founder Mr. Seido Kobayashi and core members Mr. Masashi Itohara, and Ms. Mizuho Zako. She was also a member of the Miyake Taiko Kai in Tokyo, studying for three years with the founder Mr. Akio Tsumura and his sons. Kobayashi also enjoyed a few years of studying the Hachijo style of drumming from Mr. Takashi Kikuchi of Hachijo Island.
Kobayashi enjoyed performing at various festivals around Tokyo and on the fringe stage of Kodo’s Earth Celebration festival on Sado Island (with Miyake Taiko and her own taiko ensemble, Hana Yori Taiko) from 2009 – 2012. In addition to teaching Hana Yori Taiko members, Noriko also taught music and taiko at international elementary schools in Tokyo and also had her own taiko studio, Kokusai Ryu Special Taiko, teaching a taiko ensemble to children with special needs. Noriko was also a performing member of Gamelan Gita Asmara from 2000 – 2006 and performed in Bali during the Bali Arts Festival in 2003 with UBC professor Michael Tenzer. In 2014, Kobayashi performed with Uzume Taiko of Vancouver. Kobayashi then founded Onibana Taiko with Vancouver taiko veterans Eileen Kage and Leslie Komori. Kobayashi founded the Canada Miyake Taiko Kai in 2016. Kobayashi also performs shamisen under the stage name, NoriNori.
Kobayashi is a published author of The Development of Canadian Kumi-Daiko and Asian Women Kick Ass Through Japanese Drumming.