Bonbu Stories

Bonbu Stories - An Asian American Arts Collaborative

Bonbu Stories is an Asian American arts collaborative dedicated to using music as a medium for raw storytelling and building connections. Bonbu is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist term meaning “ordinary/imperfect/unenlightened being.” This term carries with it a sense of compassion and acceptance for human life and our flaws, mistakes, and potential for growth.

Bonbu Stories centers its work and creative process around this definition, believing in the power and value of vulnerability, authenticity, and interconnectedness.

Our Members - Our Story

Drawing from our individual identities and shared Asian American culture, we strive to share the beautifully raw, honest, broken, emotional, and whole experiences and stories of us as “bonbus.”

The six members formed Bonbu Stories under the mentorship of PJ Hirabayashi (TaikoPeace), and Chris and Dan Kubo. They include:

  • Miharu Okamura
  • Sydney Shiroyama
  • Miko Shudo
  • Kendall Tani
  • Emily Imazumi (Yoshihara)
  • Vicky Zhang

Projects - Lantern Song

When the BCA Music Committee asked us to create a new Obon song, we were excited and honored to take on the challenge. Most members of our group are yonsei, and we grew up attending Obon with our families. To us, Obon represents summer, friends, culture, and community.

When thinking about BCA’s 125th anniversary, we reflect upon how the BCA pioneers worked so tirelessly and bravely to create a space where we can embrace our culture and religion. Like Nobuko Miyamoto said when asked about Obon, “This is a space created by our ancestors that we are stepping into.” With this in mind, and with immense respect and appreciation, we are incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to weave our voices into the sounds of Obon.

Upcoming Events

Lantern Song Workshop at MVBT flyer

April 20: Lantern Song Workshop

Bonbu Stories share the Lantern Song music video and teach our original Bon odori choreography at Mountain View Buddhist Temple on April 20, 2024, at 6pm PT!