Masao Harold Kodani (Poston 30-9-D), was born in Glendale, California to Kaneichi Fred and Motome Kodani. As a young child, his family (and older brother, Hideki Richard) were incarcerated at the Poston Relocation Center in Arizona during WWII on May 27, 1942. His family finally departed from Poston on November 12, 1945 and returned to Los Angeles, where they lived in a predominantly African American community near the neighborhood of Watts. Although they were Buddhist, his parents sent their children to Evergreen Baptist Church in East L.A. because they thought it would be easier for them to fit in.
After graduating from Centennial High School, Kodani attended the University of California at Santa Barbara where he earned his degree in East Asian Studies. While at UC Santa Barbara, he met Rev. Art Takemoto of Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. From Rev. Takemoto’s influence, Kodani went to Japan to study Buddhism at the Ryukoku University. After completing his studies, he returned to the United States and was assigned to the Senshin Buddhist Temple in South Central Los Angeles as a sansei minister. In 1969, he co-founded Kinnara Taiko. Their composition, "Ashura" has become one of the most learned adapted pieces in the American taiko repertory.