Art is not a thing. It is a way.
Volunteer Spotlight: Kyoko Taguchi
Music as a Universal Experience
Tateuchi Center Ambassador Kyoko Taguchi candidly describes her ten-year-old son’s transition moving from Japan to America. At first, she says, he had difficulty learning a new language and making many friends. Playing the violin — especially once he joined the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra — helped smooth over the worst of the cultural differences and language barrier for him.
Kyoko told the story of her son’s struggle in a video interview featured at a recent Tateuchi Center event. Later that same evening, she spoke with an American mother who shared how her own child had found comfort in music during a difficult time. Kyoko remembers the moment she realized their stories were related, saying, “Music helps us all in so many ways. This is a universal experience, not just an immigrant story.”
Kyoko graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo with a degree in Literature and then went to work for a Canadian company in Japan. While there, she interacted with colleagues she describes as “career women who were not constrained by traditional study.” They encouraged Kyoko to follow her interest in marketing and finance, leading her to study business at Vanderbilt University, where she earned her MBA. After her graduation, a corporate recruiter approached her. However, Kyoko recalls being more interested in the job description than the name of the company. She liked what she read, accepted the job at Microsoft Japan, and moved to Bellevue to work for its headquarters.
Kyoko and her family settled in Bellevue because of the area’s excellent schools and its proximity to her job. She was also pleased to find that the region had a thriving arts community, one of the aspects she most enjoyed about living in Tokyo. Raised to appreciate art and music, she studied the piano until she was 15. Following her son’s involvement with the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra, she served on the organization’s Board of Directors and is currently a member-at-large. When Tateuchi Center announced the $25 million gift from the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, Kyoko was excited by the Japanese connection and leapt at the chance to be involved. She now looks forward to the day when her son might perform on the stage at Tateuchi Center.