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2017 Kodo Group Portrait

2017年1月17日 鼓童村稽古場にて

Yesterday the Kodo Group gathered in the rehearsal hall at Kodo Village for a 2017 group portrait.
We kindly ask for your continued support throughout the year ahead.

Happy New Year!

English follows Japanese.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

Happy New Year!

We sincerely hope that 2017 is a wonderful year for all of you.
We wish you all a happy, healthy year ahead!

Thank you all for your continued support.


Kodo’s Last Day of Work for 2017

Dec. 27 was our last day of work for 2016.

We celebrated Kodo’s 35th anniversary in 2016, which was a year filled with new encounters around the world and exciting new challenges. We pushed ourselves to discover brand new possibilities in artistic expression. In this milestone year, we also made a giant leap towards the next era of our group.

In 2017, we look forward to sharing performances with you all that we hope will move you to the very core.

Thank you all for your continued support.
Best wishes from all of us for a happy, healthy new year.

Photo: Taro Nishita

Kodo members gather in the Kodo Village Dining Hall on the last day of work for 2017

New Album “Kaden” Now on Sale!

New Album “Kaden” Now on Sale!


Our lastest album “Kaden” went on sale on this week!

“Kaden” features nine compositions from four recent “Kodo One Earth Tour” productions directed by Tamasaburo Bando: Legend, Mystery, Eternity, and Chaos. The tracks were captured with the latest high-resolution audio technology in a recording studio, allowing even the subtlest tones to interweave in unprecedented ways. Like a brand-new theater performance, this album creates a world of sound that promises to captivate and delight.

“Kaden” is available in the lobby at our “Spiral” performances at Bunkyo Civic Hall in Tokyo until Dec. 25. You can also purchase it from Kodo Online Store and at Sado Island Taiko Centre.


Flier PDF (Japanese)

*Until 5pm (GMT+9) on Dec. 26 (Mon), Kodo Online Store is offering free shipping within Japan on all products except taiko & made-to-order products. If you’d like to use this offer, please order online from the Japanese store website or for English orders feel free to contact Kodo Online Store by email: store.eng[at]kodo.or.jp

▼Track Sample: “Kukai” 

“Kaden” at Kodo Online Store in English (for international orders)

Kodo Online Store (Japanese) *Free shipping on domestic orders until 5pm (GMT+9) on Dec. 26, 2016

Kodo Discography | Kaden

Hatsune Miku x Kodo Special Live Performance

Upcoming Kodo Collaboration with Virtual Singer Hatsune Miku!


“Two of Japan’s Renowned Artists Come Together for an Exciting New Collaboration!”

In the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, Japanese Broadcasting Company NHK will broaden the global spotlight on sports to also showcase Japan’s fascinating culture through their “This is NIPPON Premium Theater” series. These NHK productions will be broadcast nationwide and worldwide to share creative programs featuring an eclectic array of Japan’s preeminent artists, showcasing the dynamic spectrum of Japanese arts and culture.

In March 2017, Kodo will appear in “Hatsune Miku x Kodo Special Live,” taking to the stage with software-character-turned-virtual-singer Hatsune Miku for our first-ever collaboration. We look forward to this cutting-edge performance where traditional Japanese drums and internationally-renowned digital live-performance programming will create exciting new forms of fusion.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Hatsune Miku will perform brand new songs and a selection of her most popular numbers. She will also sing with Kodo, lending her vocals to some of our taiko compositions. We hope you’ll join us for this truly unique concert event!

This collaboration is part of the Tokyo 2020 Official Program.

Official Website: http://kodo-miku.com

This is NIPPON Premium Theater –Hatsune Miku x Kodo Special Live Performance

Mar. 4 (Sat), 5 (Sun), 2017 NHK Hall, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

Mar. 4 (Sat) Doors Open 18:00, Start 19:00

Mar. 5 (Sun) Doors Open 12:00, Start 13:00

Price: S-seats 6,900 yen, A-seats 5,900 yen, B-seats 4,900 yen (Tax incl., same price for advance & door sales)

*Ticket holders will be given a limited-edition penlight at the venue in exchange for the “Penlight Voucher” issued with each concert ticket. Please be sure to bring both the concert ticket and “Penlight Voucher” with you to the venue.

Seating Details: All seats reserved. Please refrain from bringing preschoolers (ages 5 & under).

Ticket Sale Dates & Outlets:

Pre-Order Ticket Lottery: From 11:00am on Dec. 13 (Tue) until 11:00am on Dec. 20 (Tue), 2016
Ticket Pia Pre-Orders http://pia.jp/t/kodo-miku/ (Online, mobile phone)

General Sales: From 10:00am on Jan. 14 (Sat), 2017

Ticket Pia Online/Mobile http://w.pia.jp/t/kodo-miku/
Ticket Pia Automated Telephone Reservations Tel. 0570-02-9999 [P-code: 316-825] *Open 7 days, except during maintenance periods.
Ticket Pia Outlets: Hours vary according to store, see here for the list of outlets: Find a Ticket Pia Outlet (Japanese)
Seven Eleven Convenience Stores: Available from multi-copy machines  [P-code: 316-825] *Open 7 days, except during maintenance periods.
Circle K Sunkus Convenience Stores: K Station [P-code: 316-825] *Available 5:30am–2:30am.

Inquiries: Hello Dial Tel. 03-5777-8600 (8:00–22:00, open 7 days)


Hatsune Miku


The “Hatsune Miku” voice synthesizer software was developed by Crypton Future Media. It allows users to make a female character called Hatsune Miku sing songs, simply by entering the lyrics and melody of their choice. Many creators have used Hatsune Miku to make music to share online, which has prompted a wave of interactive user activity in Japan and abroad. First gaining attention as a software character, Hatsune Miku is now popular around the world as a virtual singer with sell-out live performances and her own merchandise. In 2016, she gave performances in five major cities throughout Japan, followed by performances in North America and Taiwan. In Dec. 2016, Hatsune Miku performances will be held in Beijing and Shanghai, China.

Official Website: http://piapro.net/

Taiko Workshop & Exchange with Shiki Theatre Company

Taiko Workshop & Exchange with Shiki Theatre Company

On Oct. 30, we hosted an exchange event at Kodo Apprentice Centre for Kodo and Shiki Theatre Company. The Company came to Sado to give performances of “The Adventures of Ganba” for fifth & sixth grade elementary school students from all over the island. As soon as they arrived on Sado, they came straight here to see us!

Photo: Erika Ueda

Photo: Erika Ueda

The Kodo apprentices welcomed the Company with a performance.

Photo: Erika Ueda

Kodo’s Eiichi Saito led a taiko workshop for our guests. He told them, “Feel everyone’s hearts connect as you play taiko together.”

Photo: Erika Ueda

It looks like the members of Shiki Theatre Company really enjoyed playing taiko.

Photo: Erika Ueda


Photo: Erika Ueda

Next, they showed us a scene from “The Adventures of Ganba” that features taiko!


Photo: Erika Ueda
We all enjoyed dinner together. The apprentices made curry from scratch and filled the tables with vegetable dishes made with fresh produce they harvested themselves. Of course, they also served up Sado’s famous “Okesa Kaki” persimmons. We had such a fun meal together. Most of our apprentices are around 20 years old and so were many of the Shiki Theatre Company performers. They also had an apprenticeship period in their training, so everyone had a lot in common. Everyone enjoyed talking to each other and it was a very fruitful exchange for all involved.

Photo: Erika Ueda

Photo: Erika Ueda

The Shiki Theatre Company members have a go at playing the big drum, o-daiko.

Shiki Theatre Company will perform on Nov. 1 at Amusement Sado for the children of Sado and our apprentices will help them out with the load-in and load-out.
Thank you for visiting us, Shiki Theatre Company! We are looking forward to seeing your performance! Break a leg!

Photo: Erika Ueda

Shiki Theatre Company with Eiichi Saito and the Kodo apprentices.

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” – An Overview

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” – An Overview

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Over the past three years, the “Kodo One Earth Tour” productions “Mystery” (2013), “Eternity” (2014), and “Chaos” (2015) have intentionally excluded the most iconic symbol of the ensemble: the o-daiko, or big drum. Instead, these past three years of performances have presented Kodo’s next generation performing new compositions — a telling sign of the group’s determination to move forward. The latest production, “Spiral,” begins by taking a look back at the innovative repertoire composed under the guidance of Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando between 2009 and 2013.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The programme starts with a rousing piece, Kei Kei. The full cast takes to the stage playing taiko that are slung from their shoulders, thereby allowing the performers mobility amongst the reverberations. This captivating variation of the okedo-daiko (barrel drum) is further showcased in Phobos (2009), Mute (2013), and Kusa-wake (2013).

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

In Spiral, the performers are dressed in either all black or all white, their sleeveless costumes timeless and universal, sleek and subtle. The form-fitting outfits do not belong to any one culture. This allows today’s Kodo ensemble to freely express its sound without being culturally bound by their former stage attire: the Japanese knotted headband and workman’s coat, and the loincloth traditionally worn by each of Kodo’s big drum soloists.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

After its hiatus in recent One Earth Tour productions, the monolithic o-daiko returns to the stage in Spiral. In this performance, the drum appears in the programme under the familiar title: O-daiko. The name “O-daiko” has been honored by Kodo since 1975, when the mighty drum first appeared in the programmes of Kodo’s antecedent group, known as Ondekoza. The taiko remains the same, but this next generation of drummers delivers a dynamic new style of performance. There is no drum cart with lanterns, no loincloths, and no cymbals or flutes. Instead, the massive instrument is flanked by its Western counterparts the timpani and bass drum, which Kodo uses to conjure deep and powerful cadences. This rhythmic universe promises to stir an audience to its very core.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The first act ends with Kodo’s timeless signature piece, Monochrome (1977). Intricately crafted by modern composer Maki Ishii, Monochrome is a thorough investigation of the tonal range of the shime-daiko, a high-pitched roped drum. This piece contrasts the simple yet wild nature of taiko performance, which is emblematic of Kodo’s direction today, as its next generation forges forward using a balance of raw power and honed skills.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The second act commences with Color (2009), which utilizes the same roped drums of Monochrome, but in a completely different way. The performers put down their drumsticks and experiment with different percussive sounds. They tap the drums with their fingernails. They rub the drums with their hands, and they throw clusters of jingling bells onto the skins of the drums. Humor reveals itself in their onstage interactions as they rhythmically hum, sigh and shout to the beat. After the entrancing intensity of Monochrome, this light-hearted approach comes as a welcome relief.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

For the next piece, the stage darkens for the beautiful and captivating Ake no Myojo (2012). Female performers in flowing black skirts take to the stage to drum, sing, and dance as they spin in a perpetual state of sound and motion. Afterwards, the melodic bamboo flutes in Yuyami (2013) create an indescribable sense of nostalgia, which leads directly into the brand new piece, Ayaori (2016). An exploration of the myriad sounds of the odeko-daiko, Ayaori utilizes the performers’ dexterity and a range of drumsticks to conjure sharp and rich tones while deftly weaving them into a coherent whole.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The finale arrives as the title piece, Rasen, which means “spiral.” Rasen features eight performers, the main soloist playing a large flat hirado drum. Surrounding him are seven performers on nagado (long) taiko, okedo (barrel) taiko, and timpani. This powerful octet produces rhythms of complexity and precision while revealing the rich variety of drumming techniques that Kodo has discovered during its evolution. To compose Rasen, Tamasaburo Bando brought a range of Kodo performers into the creative process. Fresh newcomers joined young up-and-coming performers and core soloists, as well as veterans whose careers span some three generations with Kodo.

As the title suggests, Rasen is a whirling helix depicting the evolution of Kodo through its decades of rich history. Phrases from exemplary pieces such as Yatai-bayashi (1973), Miyake (1982), and Tomoe (2003) transport the audience from era to era. It’s a soaring journey through Kodo’s past and into its future. As the strong winds of change blow through the ensemble, this climactic finale shows Kodo’s unwavering footing. The ensemble fully acknowledges its thirty-five year history — all while clearly proclaiming its intention to look to the future.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

When Tamasaburo Bando assumed the role of Kodo artistic director in 2012, he vowed to raise the artistry of taiko performing arts. The Spiral programme boldly demonstrates that his goal and his vision have manifested themselves in full.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


Production Details

2016 Japan Tour Schedule

Dec. 14 (Wed), 2016 Fukuoka Performance

Dec. 17 (Sat), 18 (Sun), 2016 Osaka Performances

Dec. 21 (Wed)–25 (Sun), 2016 Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo

So Kuramoto Visits Kodo Village

So Kuramoto Visits Kodo Village

Photo: Taro Nishita

On Oct. 4, Mr. So Kuramoto, a Japanese scriptwriter, playwright, and director, visited Kodo Village with his family. It was a fresh, sunny autumn day on Sado Island. Our visitors watched Yosuke Oda play o-daiko, the big drum, in our rehearsal hall. Then they went and observed the apprentices practising tea ceremony at our traditional homestead, Izumi-tei. Next, they had a look around our nearby facilities, Sado Island Taiko Centre and Fukaura Schoolhouse, before they traveled over to Kodo Apprentice Centre where they watched Yoshikazu Fujimoto lead the apprentices through a taiko practice session.

Photo: Taro Nishita

Mr. Kuramoto has presented “Furano Juku” workshops for years in Hokkaido, where he helps actors and scenario writers to cultivate their skills. He asked the apprentices many questions about their life at the Apprentice Centre, their training, and their thoughts and hopes. Everyone enjoyed this fun opportunity for exchange.

Photo: Taro Nishita

The apprentices sang a lively folksong at the end of this special visit.

Kodo Featured in Nov. 2016 Issue of “Dance Magazine”

Kodo Featured in Nov. 2016 Issue of “Dance Magazine”

Photo: Erika Ueda

If you’re in Japan, keep an eye out for the November issue of “Dance Magazine.” It has a special feature on Kodo’s 35th Anniversary Concert “Hisho” (Soaring) with Blue Tokyo & Dazzle. It’s on sale now!


Photo: Erika Ueda

Photos: Masayuki Sakamoto (above) and Yuichiro Funabashi at Kodo Village holding the Nov. 2016 issue of Dance Magazine. They just got back from Korea.


“Dance Magazine” Nov. 2016 Issue

Kodo 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concert “Third Night ‘Hisho’–Soaring–”
Packed with a diverse array of powerful performances, the first act of Hisho features Kodo performing the compositions of Tamasaburo Bando. For the second act, Bando directs Kodo as they collaborate with two unique dance ensembles: the male rhythmic gymnastics troupe Blue Tokyo, and the street dance performance group Dazzle.


[Sep. 15–25, 2016] Chieko Kojima Appearance with TaikoProject in “Road to Kumano” (USA)

Chieko Kojima Appearance with TaikoProject in “Road to Kumano” (Los Angeles, CA, USA)


This month, Chieko Kojima will appear in “Road to Kumano” a collaborative work with TaikoProject in Los Angeles. If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll come along!


Sep. 15 (Thu), 16 (Fri), 17 (Sat), 18 (Sun), 22 (Thu), 23 (Fri), 24 (Sat), 25 (Sun), 2016

(10 performances)

David Henry Hwang Theater, East West Players, Los Angeles, California, USA

Doors Open: TBA

Dates & Start Times
Sep. 15 (Thu) 20:00
Sep. 16 (Fri) 20:00
Sep. 17 (Sat) 14:00 & 20:00
Sep. 18 (Sun) 14:00
Sep. 22 (Thu) 20:00
Sep. 23 (Fri) 20:00
Sep. 24 (Sat) 14:00 & 20:00
Sep. 25 (Sun) 14:00

Price: $30–$50

Ticket Availability: Now on sale

Venue Website: http://www.eastwestplayers.org

Event URL: http://www.eastwestplayers.org/on-the-stage/road-to-kumano/

Inquiries: TaikoProject http://taikoproject.com

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