The LATIdama system is a fun and challenging method of measuring and rewarding taiko skill development. Each LATIdama evaluation outlines a set of specific requirements of the player. An evaluation might test the ability to play a particular drill without error at a certain tempo, or smoothly performing a piece of taiko music, for example. Students earn LATIdama by mastering skills, drills, and repertoire and submitting LATIdama Evaluations to demonstrate this proficiency. Upon successful completion of the evaluation (at home, in class, or during a private evaluation), the student is presented the earned LATIdama bead. LATIdama are also used as prerequisites for some LATI courses. In other words, students must earn certain LATIdama before they can enroll in advanced courses.

LATIdama Evaluations

LATIdama can be earned in class, during private evaluations, or at home. Students need not be enrolled at LATI to earn LATIdama, and experienced players can complete evaluations without taking any specific courses in preparation.

In-class evaluations
A number of courses offer LATIdama evaluations in the course's final class (called "PEAC Week", or Performance Evaluation and Celebration). These evaluations are free and conducted as part of the enrolled course, during the regularly-scheduled class. When the submission is successful, students are usually awarded their LATIdama bead in the student's next class, during a brief LATIdama Presentation Ceremony.

Private evaluations
Students can schedule one or more private lessons to complete a LATIdama evaluation with the assistance of LATI staff.

At-home evaluations
Students can complete evaluations at home, submitting them by email for grading. A nominal fee may be required. Results will be returned by email or phone. See Howto below.


LATIdama are represented by beads, which students string on the accessory of their choice; bracelets, necklaces, batchi bag zipper pulls, etc. Students receive a length of string at the completion of their first course. Additional/replacement string, wire, and accessories, as well as beading tools and books, are available at the Asano Taiko U.S. shop.

How To Submit An Evaluation By Email

Students can complete LATIdama evaluations on their own, outside of LATI classes. Completed evaluations are submitted by email for grading. The specific tasks required of the student are described in the evaluation's Requirements section and should be carefully read and completed.

When submitting video:

  • Link(s) to the video (youtube, vimeo, dropbox etc) should be provided in the body of the email (rather than sending the video file as an attachment)
  • If you do not want the video to be visible to the public, services like youtube, vimeo, and dropbox provide a password-protect option. Just make sure to include the password with your submission.
  • Short, sweet, and ugly is fine. The video need not be beautifully-shot or edited. Staff evaluate the playing, rather than the cinematography.

When submitting written answers to questions:
Answer the questions in the body of the email. No Word attachments or meticulously-typeset PDFs required. Staff evaluate content, rather than writing ability.

Include the Subject line, "LATIdama evaluation submission"
Include your full name and your login email at / (non-LATI-students can create a free user account here.
Email submissions to yuta (at) taiko (dot) la.

Technical challenges should not get in the way of earning a LATIdama!... Contact us if you have questions or need help and we'll talk you through the process.


LATIdama are intended to help foster a vibrant community of motivated players and enable a wide range of student interest and experience levels. However, the following are possible negative effects of the LATIdama system.

  • LATIdama don't encompass all values and interests in taiko. "There's no bead for what matters to me."
  • Evaluation can be intimidating, especially for most vulnerable members of our community.
  • System emphasizes more easily-measurable aspects of the art-form (objective over subjective).
  • Failure to achieve a LATIdama can be discouraging.
  • Objective measurement might encourage unhealthy competition and focus on superficial values.

Both teachers and students should be aware of these risks and actively work to minimize negative effects.

Currently available LATIdama
Naname Essentials LATIdama Evaluation
1-ee-and-uh Drill LATIdama Evaluation

Start earning your first LATIdama today!