Call for Arts Business Interns
Live and Work with SHIDARA in JAPAN

SHIDARA's intensive internship is an introduction to the business dynamics and operation of a professional Japanese taiko company. Individuals gain hands-on training, career mentoring by key directors of a major world arts company, and experience working in a traditional Japanese manner. During the 2-month program, interns learn about SHIDARA'S mission while working on international tour production. Life at SHIDARA is rigorous and devoted to the enjoyment of excellence in art and business. There is no stipend, but all lodging and food are provided.

Intern Activities

Work on all aspects of tour production/management.
Receive occasional taiko training and serve as staff at performances.
Help run SHIDARA's facility alongside members.


At least 18 years old with strong work ethics.
Minimum 2 yrs taiko, performing arts, production, lighting or sound experience.
Knowledge of PC computers.
Rudimentary understanding of Japanese.
You must be flexible, independent and willing to learn about and live within Japanese culture.

Application Information and Requirements

Each applicant is required to submit an application form, two essays, and a resume including 2 references. Download application form and mail to Megan Chao Smith at Shidara.

Key staff members

Mayumi Nishitani, President and Director
Chisato Kano, Finance and Administration
Megan Chao Smith, Performer, US and European Tour Director

Key instructors

Many long-standing members at SHIDARA provide instruction. CHABO has written and choreographed almost everything at SHIDARA to date, and is principal director and instructor. CHABO's first national workshop tour of the United States took place in 2007. Ryuichi Hasegawa, with the group since 1990, holds one of the strongest managing and artistic roles in SHIDARA. He shares instruction of the group alongside Chabo, giving workshops and touring with SHIDARA worldwide.

About Our Home in Toeicho, Japan

SHIDARA lives in a town called Toei, deep in the forest mountains in what was formerly an elementary school. The seasonal weather is extreme with an extended rainy season. There is a local train that takes you to the nearest larger city, which is an hour and a half away. All members live together, training, cleaning, cooking and running the facility.

Frequently Asked Questions

With whom will I work?

Megan Chao Smith is both a performer and in charge of all US and European tour production . Interns work very closely with Megan, and interact with Shidara's administrative leader, Mayumi Nishitani. Interns must be tough and passionate about being here. The best candidate takes instruction well and is happy working independently.

I'm curious if applications are always being accepted.

Applications are always being accepted

Is 43 considered too old...

A driving interest in arts management supersedes age.

What time of year would a person be expected to come out?

This is decided on a case-by-case basis. The internship is for a two-month period.

How fluent does a person need to be?

You must know how to structure a Japanese sentence, how to thank people, how to communicate basic needs. If in doubt, contact Megan to discuss your level. She knew no Japanese when she first arrived at Shidara, so well understands the situation and requirements. 

Why do I need to know Japanese?

Life here runs in an established, fast pace. There is not always time to stop and explain. Interns need to be flexible and use judgment about when and how to engage in the office. Besides Megan and Ms. Nishitani, Shidara members do not speak English and they need to have basic interaction with you. The better your Japanese is, the better the internship will work for you. If you have basic understanding of Japanese and are ready to jump in and swim with us, we are happy to have you.

What skills are most important for this internship?

Experience in tour, concert or event production

Japanese language ability

Computer skills

How much drumming will I get to do?

This is an arts business and production internship with occasional drumming lessons and staffing of our performances. Interns are drenched in taiko by virtue of living here, and will have special time to join in on lessons with apprentices. However, the crux of this internship is tour production and management of a professional Japanese arts group.

SHIDARA Internship Application


Downloadable WORD file: Internship Application