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Tag ‘Earth Celebration’

“Earth Celebration 2015 T-shirts” by Kodo Online Store


The “Earth Celebration 2015” T-shirts are now in stock! This year we have used the Sado-inspired visual from the cover of the EC info booklet and made t-shirts in 8 different colors! These t-shirts are currently available from the Kodo Online Store and at the Sado Island Taiko Centre. Of course, you can also purchase them at EC in August (if stocks last)!
We only have a limited number of each size and color, so order soon to avoid disappointment!

“Earth Celebration 2015” T-shirts
http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/170.html (Japanese store webpage)

KOLSE_logoFor orders in English, please contact the Kodo Online Store by email: store.eng@kodo.or.jp

Orders can be shipped to 120 countries around the world. 

“Earth Celebration: New Beginnings on the Horizon” by Tomohiro Mitome

July 1, 2015

Earth Celebration: New Beginnings on the Horizon

Hello everyone. I hope that you are well.

This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo. The rainy season began around June 19 in Niigata Prefecture, but it did not rain in Sado until the end of June. Farmers seem to be quite worried about the lack of rain for their crops.

As announced on June 10, there are new changes on the horzion for our annual festival Earth Celebration, which began in 1988. Next year, the festival will change shape and will not be centered around the usual Shiroyama Concerts.

Photo: Buntaro Tanaka

The idea of Earth Celebration originates from the Kodo Village Vision introduced by the first leader of Kodo, the late Toshio Kawauchi (a.k.a. Hancho). He depicted the idea of inviting artists to Sado Island whom Kodo had met while traveling around the world and sending out new ideas and music from Sado together. Ever since EC began, we have used the experience and knowledge we gained by attending festivals including Toga Festival (Toyama, Japan), Sado Music Festival (Sado, Japan) and Edinburgh Festival (UK), to help Earth Celebration to evolve into its current form, incorporating new elements every year.

Earth Celebration usually takes place annually in August, but in the past it was once held in May, and once it was even held in a tent theater for about one month. Earth Celebration has continued as an outdoor event in different forms for the past 28 years.

Photo: Masakazu Sakomizu

Earth Celebration 1988 (Photo: Masakazu Sakomizu)

If I look back on my own Earth Celebration (EC) experiences, well, I came over to Sado for the first time for the first EC in 1988. I attended the Kodo Village Opening Concert, Shiroyama Concerts, and a taiko class held during the daytime where I was able to learn taiko directly from Kodo’s stage performers. When I stop and remember that experience, I can now see it was an event that became a turning point for me, which led me to becoming a member of Kodo.


Earth Celebration 1989

In 1989, I took part in EC as a Kodo apprentice. A typhoon hit Sado on the last day, and the concert venue was the Ogi Town Gymnasium, but it got converted into an evacuation center due to the storm… I recall that it was so grueling…


Earth Celebration 1990

I performed as a Kodo junior member at EC 1990. It rained so heavily on the first day that we had to change the concert venue to the Ogi Town Gymnasium. From early in the morning, we were rushing around carrying all of the musical instruments, lighting and sound equipment, and so on, to the Gym. We had no time to rest and hectically rushed about in the mud to prepare and then launched straight into our performance. It is so true that power comes from necessity.

From the first EC in 1988 until 2012, the Kodo performers labored together with the staff members to set up the stage and dismantle it after the festival. We built the festival facilities from scratch, performed for three days, said thanks and goodbye to our guests as they boarded the ferry and left the island by playing farewell taiko, and then packed up all the event venues. The three-day clean up following the festival was something we considered as a part of EC. It was physically demanding, but I thought it was all worth it to hold this event together with people of Sado, volunteers and part-time staff members. We all worked very hard and had a great, exhausting time together, presenting OUR festival as a team.


On stage with Fanfare Ciocarlia from Romania at EC 2004

Every year EC changes for the better with new innovations, ideas, and encounters, based on our experience from the previous year and also from years before. We have introduced new collaborations and guest artists, new workshops, various EC Theatre and Fringe Performances, guerilla live performances at Kisaki Shrine early in the morning, and so on. We always try to improve EC each time, so everyone can enjoy it more and more each year.

Looking ahead to the 30th anniversary of EC in two years, we have decided that now is the time to review the form of our festival, and think about how we can make EC better for Sado Island, Kodo, and everyone who comes along, so we can all continue to enjoy EC together.

Photo: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Satoko Maeda

EC is one of very few events where you have the opportunity to enjoy an outdoor Kodo performance on Sado Island, where we are based, but we have decided that the time has come to take a step back and rethink the format of EC. So we will start by not centering the festival around the big concerts at Shiroyama Park next year.

This year for our Shiroyama Concerts, we are pleased to welcome a legendary former Kodo member and well-respected performer, Leonard Eto, back to Sado and EC as a guest artist and director. Also, we welcome back Suar Agung from Indonesia. Our past collaborations with them at EC have influenced Kodo pieces in many ways. We are sure the Ogi area will have a multinational, exotic atmosphere for three days during EC. We are now preparing for the events, concerts, workshops, and an array of optional activities to explore Sado Island.


This year, may I suggest you make your trip to Sado via the new Hokuriku Shinkansen? It is a new bullet train service that just started running in March.

The new fast car ferry “Akane” also started operating this April between Ogi and Naoetsu. Please note that all seats on the Akane ferry are allocated chairs and reservations are required, unlike the car ferries to Ogi until last year. So, if all the seats are full, you cannot board. We recommend you book your seats on the ferry as soon as possible.


We look forward to welcoming many of you to Earth Celebration 2015, from abroad, around Japan, and of course, from around Sado Island.


“EC 2015 Shiroyama Concert Rehearsals” by Kenta Nakagome

Earth Celebration 2015 Shiroyama Concert Rehearsals

Photo: Chie AkimotoPhoto: Chie Akimoto

In February, we had rehearsals at Kodo Village with Leonard Eto for Earth Celebration 2015. He was a member of Kodo from 1984–1992, but this was his first visit to Kodo Village since he left our group. Leo and our senior members Yoshikazu, Eiichi, Chieko and Motofumi, who had shared the stage for countless performances in the past, made a really feel-good mood in the rehearsal space and we all enjoyed creating sound together. I am excited to join them with my fellow new generation Kodo members to see what kind of sound and music will emerge from our rehearsal sessions between now and August.

Photo: Chie AkimotoPhoto: Chie Akimoto

We rehearsed with Leo for three days and nights, which reminded me how truly fun it is to create sound. We are going to work hard to make this festival an exciting highlight of the summer of ’15 on Sado Island.

Photo: Chie Akimoto

Kodo Website | EC 2015 Details http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20150821ec_en.html

EC 2015 Official Website (English) http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/index_en.html

EC 2015 Official Facebook Page (English) https://www.facebook.com/EarthCelebration

“Looking Back Over 2014” by Tomohiro Mitome

Dec. 1, 2014

Hello, everyone. This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
It’s December now and there is some snow up on top of Sado’s highest peak, Mt. Kimpoku. However, the end of this year is somewhat warmer than usual.

While it may be a little early, I would like to take the time now to look back over this past year for Kodo.

Kodo-5541-Simon Jay Price-ssPhoto: Mitsunaga MatsuuraDSC_0069-2-ss

At the beginning of 2014, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Legend” set off on its European tour while soloists & small-group projects held performances around Japan.

In spring, we had “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” performances,  a “Workshop Performance” tour, and “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” as well as various small-group projects, all here in Japan.

Photo: Takashi Okamotomystery_asakusa_TO_3213-f-ss

In June, we held “Mystery” performances for five days at Asakusa Public Hall in Tokyo. It was our second time to give a series of performances there and once again, it was a great success. This time, we were able to deepen the bond between Kodo and the locals in Asakusa even further. We really appreciate their support.

In July, the School Workshop Performance tour members performed “DADAN” in Europe, which featured new pieces in a power-packed programme. We have been running two separate tours simultaneously for some time now, but this was the first time for us to perform two programmes directed by Tamasaburo Bando at the same time. This experience gave both the Kodo members and staff new-found confidence.

Then in August, we had our summer festival “Earth Celebration” here at home on Sado Island.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

On the first night, all 32 Kodo members appeared on the Shiroyama Concert stage together. Ranging from junior members to Distinguished Members, this is the largest Kodo cast to ever take the stage at one time. The number of Kodo performers has been on the rise in recent years, but it is very rare for us to all perform together. The newest members brought their youthful energy, the veteran members brought their well-honed skills, and from the rehearsals to the stage, we all had a great time learning from each other and stimulating each other creatively.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto
It was wonderful to reaffirm our connection through taiko, regardless of generation. I think the audience must have felt the depth of our 30+ years of history through our performance.

Photo: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Satoko Maeda

On the second night, we welcomed guest artist “BLUE TOKYO,” a group of highly-trained, physically-honed rhythmic gymnasts.

On the third day, we were joined by guest artist “DAZZLE,” a creative dance ensemble, and former “Blue Hearts” drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara. Through these collaborations, we aimed to create new fusions and forms of expression, beyond any particular genre.

In the fall, we had some cast changes before setting off on two domestic tours: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” and the “School Workshop Performance” tour. Here at home, we held more “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” featuring our veteran members, who also gave performances around Japan as soloists or with small-group projects. Fall marked the final performances in Japan for production “Mystery.” Thank you very much to everyone who came along to see it! Next, this production will tour around North America in 2015.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

In November, the members regrouped to rehearse for two new productions: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” and a newly-directed “School Workshop Performance” tour. On Nov. 20, “Eternity” had its premiere performance on Sado Island.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

All of the pieces featured in this production are brand new and a high-level of performance technique and expression is required of the entire cast. Audiences will surely feel first-hand the brand new step than Kodo has taken in stage expression through this programme.

Both of our year-end tours will last for a month. When we are at a theater near you, please come along to see us! We look forward to sharing our new programmes with you all.

I’m sure this is a busy time of year for you, too, but I hope that you can take some time to relax and enjoy ending your year with us and the sound of our taiko.


Earth Celebration 2014 Photo Gallery

photo: Maiko Miyagawa

A new gallery page with photos from Earth Celebration 2014 is now ready for viewing on the official EC website. Have a look at the great memories captured at EC this year!

Earth Celebration 2014 Photo Gallery

“Farewell Taiko” by Kenta Nakagome

Farewell Taiko on Aug. 25

Thank you very much for coming to Earth Celebration 2014. We had three days of feel-good performances surrounded by wonderful nature here on Sado Island.

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa

We all went to the port to see the first ferry off after EC with heartfelt Okuri Daiko (“Farewell Taiko”), sincerely hoping to see you all again next year!

Photo: Mizuho HasegawaPhoto: Mizuho Hasegawa
Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa
Photo: Mizuho HasegawaPhoto: Mizuho Hasegawa

Photo: Mizuho HasegawaPhoto: Mizuho Hasegawa

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa

See you all again!

Photos: Mizuho Hasegawa


Thank You for Coming to Earth Celebration 2014!

Earth Celebration 2014

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

We would like to thank you for joining us for Earth Celebration 2014!

Next year, Earth Celebration will be held from Aug. 21 (Fri) through Aug. 23 (Sun). Further details will be announced in May 2015. We hope to see you all here again next summer on Sado Island!

Photo: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

There is an online EC questionnaire form on the official EC website. We would really appreciate your feedback on the festival this year. Thank you in advance!


Earth Celebration | http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/en

Photos from EC 2014 Shiroyama Concert “UMI / OCEAN” on Aug. 22, 2014. (Photos: Maiko Miyagawa, Takashi Okamoto)


Collection for Hiroshima Landslide Disaster Victims

Collection for Hiroshima Landslide Disaster Victims

Photo: Erika Ueda

During EC 2014, the Earth Celebration Committee collected donations to help victims of the Hiroshima landslide disaster on Aug. 20. The funds collected will be sent to Hiroshima via the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Thank you very much to everyone for their kind support. We are all praying for the swift recovery of the area.

“BLUE TOKYO” Has Arrived!

Aug. 19, 2014

Photo: Jun Akimoto

Today, Earth Celebration 2014 “Shiroyama Concert” guest artist BLUE TOKYO and Mr Hasegawa from DAZZLE arrived on Sado Island and came to Kodo Village.

Photo: Erika Ueda

And we got straight into rehearsals with them! It is going to be such a powerful performance.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda

Photo: Erika Ueda

The Kodo members are putting their hearts right into it, too!

Photo: Jun Akimoto

Today it was BLUE TOKYO member Satoshi Ishizuka’s birthday! We wished him a very happy birthday!

Shiroyama Concerts 2014

“Prayer for Safety at Kisaki Shrine” by EC Publicity

Earth Celebration is coming up this weekend. Today, all of the performers and staff gathered at Kisaki Shrine to pray together for a safe festival.

Photo: Chie Akimoto

We wish you all a safe journey to join us here on Sado Island, too!

We really hope that everyone who gathers for Earth Celebration will have a wonderful time with us.

Shiroyama Concerts 2014

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