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“The 2017 ‘Michi’ Programme” by Narumi Matsuda

The 2017 “Michi” Programme

At Kodo Special Concert 2017 “Michi”, we will present a selection signature numbers that Kodo has treasured for many years. We look forward to sharing these classics with you live!

The programme will feature Miyake, Monochrome, Mine no Kaze, Zoku, Irodori, O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi, and more!

Here is a brief introduction to some of the pieces on the lineup:

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Miyake (Arranged by Kodo)

This piece is based on the unique style of drumming played at local festivals in the Kamitsuki Region of Miyake Island, one of the seven volcanic islands of Izu south of Tokyo. The drums are set very low to the ground, requiring a strenuous stance, and the performers drum with relentless power, like ocean waves beating upon the island shore.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Monochrome (Composed by Maki Ishii)

Weaving constant rhythmic patterns together with highly irregular ones, Monochrome develops spirally to an exciting climax. The listener might interpret the sounds as those of the changing of the seasons, or perhaps even the progression of life itself. The ambitious pace greatly expands the range and power of expression of the roped shime-daiko.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

O-daiko (Arranged by Kodo)

This great drum, carved from a single tree, measures about 4 feet across and produces intense sounds that possess a deep tranquility. Lose yourself in the vibrations created when the power of the ancient drum and the pure drive of the drummer become one.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Yatai-bayashi (Arranged by Kodo)

Every year on December 3rd in Saitama Prefecture, an all-night festival is held featuring richly decorated two story ‘yatai’ (carts) pulled from village to village. The people hauling the yatai are urged on by the powerful beating of the taiko, concealed in the cramped first story of the carts. This gave rise to a technique of drumming while seated. Our version of the traditional Yataibayashi is played at a faster tempo, giving it a unique and fervent flavor.


Mitsuru Ishizuka


Motofumi YamaguchiEiichi SaitoTomohiro MitomeYuichiro FunabashiMitsuru IshizukaKenta NakagomeTsuyoshi MaedaMaya MinowaShogo KomatsuzakiKoki MiuraTomoe MiuraMizuki Yoneyama

*Cast is subject to change without notice.


Kodo Special Concert 2017 “Michi” (Japan)

  • Mar. 18 (Sat), 2017 [14:00] Fussa Shimin Kaikan Dai-Hall (Mokusei Hall), Fussa, Tokyo
  • Mar. 19 (Sun), 2017 [16:30] Kodaira Citizens Cultural Hall (Rune Kodaira Dai-Hall), Kodaira, Tokyo
  • Mar. 20 (Mon/Public Hol.), 2017 [16:30] Ota Kumin Hall Apricot Dai-Hall, Ota Ward, Tokyo
  • Mar. 25 (Sat), 2017 [13:30] Shin-Kabukiza Theater, Osaka City
  • Mar. 25 (Sat), 2017 [18:30] Shin-Kabukiza Theater, Osaka City
  • Mar. 26 (Sun), 2017 [13:30] Shin-Kabukiza Theater, Osaka City

About Kodo Special Performance “Michi”

“USA Tour Opening Night in Yakima” by Hayato Otsuka

Jan. 29, 2017

途中のスキー場/Photo: Hayato Otsuka

A ski field I saw from the bus

After the plane trip from Japan to the USA, the moment I arrived in Yakima felt like a baptism of sorts. I was plunged into a sub-zero world and I felt my body and soul flinch in the cold.

ヤキマの街並み/Photo: Hayato Otsuka

Out and about in Yakima

While it was freezing outside, all the locals were very kind and I felt their warmth through our interactions.

アンパッキングの様子/Photo: Hayato Otsuka

Unpacking and setting up our taiko


On and off stage, I truly felt firsthand that while we may live in different countries and have different cultures, all we need is the desire to share with one another for our hearts to communicate.

During our performance, we were uplifted by powerful applause, cheers, and whistles from the audience, and naturally we responded to each moment of “communication” with passion in each beat of our performance!


The DADAN 2017 USA Tour got off to a great start thanks to such a warm welcome and response in Yakima.

Now we are off to our next destination… I wonder what encounters await me today?
I will do my very best until the last performance of the tour and I plan to learn as much as possible during my travels.

主催のCapitol Theatre様より

Gift basket from the presenter, The Capitol Theatre.



Jan.–Mar. 2017 “DADAN 2017” –Kodo 35th Anniversary Production– USA Tour



“My Last Tour” by Shunichiro Kamiya

Jan. 24, 2017

My Last Tour

I am about to set off on my last tour with Kodo, the “DADAN” USA Tour.
I am really looking forward to exchange with people in the USA through taiko and our performances!

Photo: Shunichiro Kamiya
I want to soak up every experience while I am there. Time to go!


“Heading to the US! DADAN 2017” by Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

Heading to the US! DADAN 2017


We’ve just left Kodo Village for our North American tour of DADAN!


Sending us off were the newest members to the Kodo family- the junior members, fresh out of the Apprentice Centre.

Personally, it’s been four years since I’ve been back home in the US.

We look forward to seeing you all!

“DADAN 2017” USA Tour –Kodo 35th Anniversary Production–

Performers: Masayuki SakamotoYosuke KusaYuta SumiyoshiJun JidaiShunichiro KamiyaRyoma TsurumiKengo WatanabeRyotaro Leo IkenagaHayato OtsukaReo Kitabayashi, Issei KohiraMasayasu MaedaKoji Miyagi, Kodai Yoshida

*Cast is subject to change without notice.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Note: This photo is a Kodo DADAN promotional image that features four members from the 2017 USA Tour cast: Kengo Watanabe, Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga, Hayato Otsuka, & Reo Kitabayashi


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.

“New Year’s Mochi Making at Kodo Village” by Shingo Kawamura

Jan. 14, 2017

New Year’s Mochi Making at Kodo Village

Photo: Shingo Kawamura

As you can see, Kodo Village is covered in deep snow and has been since we returned from our winter vacation.

Despite the cold conditions, we are all keeping well!

Today we enjoyed one of Kodo Village’s annual events: mochi making.
Mochi is a traditional Japanese pounded rice cake.

Photo: Shingo Kawamura

The young members did a lot of the rice pounding and the village was buzzing as everyone excitedly enjoyed the freshly made mochi.
This Japanese soul food gave us all a boost to start the new year.
Photo: Shingo KawamuraPhoto: Shingo Kawamura

On behalf of Kodo, I will take this opportunity to ask all of you for your continued encouragement throughout the new year ahead!

“The Young Ones, Back in Action” by Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

The Young Ones, Back in Action

Happy New Year, everyone!

Photo: Erika Ueda
Kodo’s young members, myself included, got back into action early on this year with a live-in rehearsal period from Jan. 4.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda

A new year is a new start, so we planned this rehearsal period with that in mind.

We practised core pieces that Kodo has performed since its early days, such as “Miyake” and “Yatai-bayashi,” under the instruction of Kodo’s veteran members.

Photo: Erika Ueda
Through these sessions, we also wanted to explore some new pathways. So we pooled and shared ideas and compositions, then worked together to create new sounds and pieces.

Photo: Erika Ueda


We were the only ones at Kodo Village and every day we made new discoveries and realizations. It was an opportunity for us all to reaffirm just how lucky we are to have a place where we can create sound all day long.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda

In 2017, we have all set our sights on new heights!
We hope you’ll cheer us on!



“My Travels in the USA” by Yuta Sumiyoshi

My Travels in the USA

Happy New Year, everyone!
Late last year I was traveling through the USA. In case you missed it, here is a link to a blog post by Kodo staff member Yui Kawamoto who accompanied me for the first leg of my trip: [Kodo Blog] “Taiko Fun in Los Angeles!” by Yui Kawamoto

Photo: Kim Nakashima

With On Ensemble, Kaoru Watanabe, Fumi Tanakadate. I’m in the front on the right.(Photo: Kim Nakashima)

Starting in Los Angeles, I traveled to San Diego, Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York, to lead workshops and take part in concerts.
Everywhere I went, I met so many different people. Taiko players and musicians, and people who are neither. Each community I encountered welcomed me and I enjoyed all kinds of exchange during my stay. Sometimes it was through sightseeing. Sometimes it was over a drink. Sometimes it was during a jam session. I was so well looked after by all the people I spent time with everywhere I went.

Photo: Kim Nakashima

Collaboration in Los Angeles with On Ensemble, Kaoru Watanabe, & Fumi Tanakadate(Photo: Kim Nakashima)

If I start writing about what I did in each place, well, that will turn into a very long story… (lol)
So, I would like to write about some of what I felt and the lessons I learned during my travels in the US.
I planned this trip based on my own desire to see what I could do alone, as one person. Until now, I have always relied on the support of others in various ways… musically, linguistically (lol).
So I wanted to stand on my own two feet and face all those challenges myself. As I set off on this trip, I thought of it like a journey to gain and hone skills.

Photo: George Hirose

At Shapeshifter Lab in New York performing Kaoru Watanabe’s “Néo”(Photo: George Hirose)

Instead of creating sound with a group (in my case, Kodo), on this journey all that sound would come from me. I mean that physically speaking it would be just me playing and that I would be responsible for the sound I created when I played with others. I wanted to step up to each occasion as myself, Yuta Sumiyoshi from within the Kodo group, and not as “Kodo.” I would appear alone in jam sessions, naturally, but I would carry that intent into my ensemble performances and workshops, too.

Photo: George Hirose

With Kaoru Watanabe [left]  (Photo: George Hirose)

On this trip, I had many opportunities to improvise during performances. I rediscovered the sensation you get when the sound you create ignites your fellow performer, right there and then. It reminded me that when I play with Kodo that we absolutely need to feel that sensation during our performances, the sense of creating stimulus as we perform.

That sensation of spurring each other on when you perform on stage.

Noticing how good it feels, and how intense it feels until you reach that point.
Wondering how to get there. Wondering what kind of flow you want to create.

And it’s not just me playing, so I consider what kind of sounds can I create amongst different musicians. What sound do I want to create?

It’s like having a conversation with sound instead of words. (My communication in English is also like that at times, lol)
Next… I’ll play this! And I’ll add a break… here!
This back and forth becomes music and the interaction creates one big flowing dialogue.

These new sensations were really eye-opening and taught me so, so much.

Photo: Kim Nakashima

Photo: Kim Nakashima


The workshops I led in each place I visited were also really invigorating experiences for me. My mindset was to convey as much as possible without relying on an interpreter! (lol)
I have written about this before (maybe not in English) but in a workshop you appear as your real self. You can’t fake anything and you can’t pretend to be something you’re not. When I stand before others in a workshop, I can convey what I am particular about when I play and what I keep in mind in general. Each workshop was full of lessons for me, in the same way I learned a lot through each performance. In workshops, questions fly about from different perspectives than I am used to with Japanese people. Some questions are sharp and to the point, others are broad. In many instances, the questions I was asked made me suddenly aware of my feelings and theories about all sorts of things!

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

I could keep on writing about so many things, but there is too much to say and I still haven’t figured out how to sum up what I experienced on this trip. For now, I’m going to let it sink in, bit by bit, and I am going to share more thoughts with you all once the words come to me.

I am truly grateful to everyone who I met during my travels around the USA in late 2016. I am already looking forward to seeing you all again soon!


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

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