Katsuko Teruya began studying kutuu (Okinawan koto) at the age of 18 under Nae Kochi the Senior Headmaster of the Naha Koyokai in Japan. After earning a junior teaching certificate in 1954, Katsuko moved Hawai’i but continued to study with Nae Kochi until earning the Senior Teaching Certificate in 1965.
In 1975 she established the Hawai’i chapter of the Teruya Shokyoku Kenkyukai. She has served as lead kutuu player in concert for some of the most respected ensembles and schools Okinawa, Hawai’i and California, including Yoshino Majikina Dance and Music Festival, Nakasone Seifu-Kai, and Kaneshiro Okinawan Dance School. She received a Certificate of Commendation from Nomura-ryu Ongaku Koyokai in 1984. Since 1993, Katsuko Teruya has been kutuu teacher at Kariyushi Kai, a San Jose organization dedicated to Okinawan music. She participated as a master teacher in the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program in 1994 and 1997.
She served as a master artists in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2000 with apprentice Irene Nakasone.