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“Six Years on from the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake & Tsunami” by Yuichiro Funabashi

Mar. 11, 2017

Six Years on from the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake & Tsunami

Six years have passed since the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake & Tsunami occured.
I would like to express my sympathy once more to all the victims of this disaster. Furthermore, I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to the many people who are still struggling today in the wake of the disaster. I continue to pray for the recovery of the entire area.

Performing arts are our livelihood and when the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake & Tsunami struck, it gave us an opportunity to really reflect on our activities.

At times like that, what on earth can we do… what can Kodo do?

After this great disaster, each member of the Kodo Group was troubled by this question and discussed it many times. The result was the launch of “Heartbeat Project,” which is centered on bringing cheer to people through our performances, supporting the recovery of performing arts in the disaster area, and using Kodo’s network to share news of the disaster area and its recovery with people throughout Japan and around the world.

While our efforts may seem small, we believe that if continuing our efforts gives them more strength.

Heartbeat Project channels the power of performing arts to cheer on recovery efforts following the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake & Tsunami. But natural disasters continue to occur in other places, so we now feel the necessity to use the valuable networks that we have cultivated to date to broaden the scope of the Project.

We will continue to dedicate ourselves to our work and hope that our activities and the sound of Kodo’s taiko will be a valuable source of energy for everyone who experiences times of need.

At the end of March 2017, long-serving Kodo Cultural Foundation staff member Michiko Chida will leave the Kodo Group. She has been at the heart of the Project since the beginning and has supported all of its activities with great passion. When I was an apprentice, Michiko was a kind yet strict instructor to our class, and has been ever since. I pledge to uphold her passion moving forward with Heartbeat Project.

Yuichiro Funabashi, Kodo Ensemble Leader


Heartbeat Project


Heartbeat Project Logo Design: Haruna Kino

In the wake of the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake, Kodo launched the “Heartbeat Project,” a multifaceted undertaking designed to help relief efforts and the people of the affected regions. We will continue to support the restoration of these areas with our music, in particular through charity concerts and fund-raising events, sharing news of Japan’s recovery with our own networks throughout Japan and around the world. Our hearts remain with everyone affected by this disaster, every step of the way.


“Kodo Guest Appearance at ‘Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai’ Festival” by Eiichi Saito

“Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai” Festival

Sep. 13, 2015 | Miyako, Iwate

Photo: Yuki Nakagawa

“Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai” is an annual festival that began in 2013 to help recover the spirit of Sanriku’s festivals and local folk arts in the wake of the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake.

The backdrop for our taiko performance at the festival was the blue sea, white cliffs, and green pine trees. Jodogahama Beach is a famous scenic spot in the Sanriku Area. It may look like a peaceful place, but I heard that when the tsunami came after the 2011 Earthquake, it went up over these huge rocks and right over the rest-area buildings.

That was four and a half years ago. Even though the rubble has been tidied up, it has not been removed as they are still waiting for a designated place to take it. There were so many vacate sites throughout the town. As you’d expect, we saw so many scenes that you could only see by actually going to the disaster area, and honestly, it made me regret that my own sympathy for the recovery efforts had somewhat faded with time.


Photo: Yuki NakagawaPhoto: Yuki Nakagawa

The audience watched our performance and applauded for us to the very end, despite the rain.

Thank you very much to everyone who came along!

We will continue to do what we can to help keep the plight of the disaster area from fading away.



Heartbeat Project

“This Year’s Wonderful ‘Nanako Matsuri'” by Michiko Chida

“Nanako Matsuri” This Year in Otsuchi, Iwate


Photo from Dec. 2013 “Nanako Matsuri – Fuyu no Jin”
(Courtesy of Kazuhiro Nishijima, Minzoku Geino STREAM )

In December last year, a small Kodo cast took part in a special festival, “Nanako Matsuri.” I remember this “homemade” festival vividly: the wonderful local performing arts from Tohoku’s coastal regions, the passion of the performers, and the enthusiasm of the locals who wholeheartedly looked forward to seeing them. This festival cleansed my soul and gave me a lovely sense of peace.

This year’s festival, “Nanako Matsuri – Hana no Jin” will be held at Sanriku Hana Hotel Hamagiku, Otsuchi, Iwate on December 21 (Sun) from 11:00 am. It will be packed with wonderful performances, but Kodo will not appear this time! We hope you can go along all the same!



“Nanako Matsuri” Concert Flier (in Japanese)

The Tohoku area is a vast treasure trove of traditional performing arts.

This festival is planned and presented by Nanako & Masayuki Sasayama, whose home is a performance venue for the local kagura (sacred Shinto dance & music), and folk art professor Hiroyuki Hashimoto. They believe that the folk performing arts in everyone’s hearts will lead the way to the area’s recovery from this natural disaster.

Photo: Michiko Chida

“Nanako Matsuri” is a great festival because you can see an array of performances and it gives you the chance to meet and talk to the members of the various performance groups who uphold their local traditional arts. This year, the day before the festival has been set aside for exchange, so come along on Dec. 20th to interact with the locals.

Just by going to the disaster area, meeting people there, and watching their performing arts, it really cheers the locals on and supports the area’s recovery. We hope you will show your interest and support by going along to “Nanako Matsuri” this year.

Please note that Kodo will not appear at this year’s festival.

◆JTB Tour (in Japanese)

Kodo Website | Heartbeat Project

“Kodo Heartbeat Project: Lest We Forget” by Tomohiro Mitome

Nov. 1, 2014

Hello, everyone. This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.

It’s November now and autumn is at its peak. It looks great here on Sado Island, Kodo Village is adorned with yellow and red leaves all around. Both the “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” cast & crew and the ”School Workshop Performance” tour, which started last November and toured simultaneously over the past year, have completed their long journeys and safely returned home to Sado.
Now, everyone is rehearsing at Kodo Village to prepare for our new production “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” and a newly directed “School Workshop Performance” programme.

This month, I would like to talk about the upcoming “Kodo Heartbeat Project” performance at Aore Nagaoka in Nagaoka, Niigata, on Nov. 30.


Ten years have passed since the Chuetsu Earthquake. To pray for the area’s continued recovery from this disaster, and for Tohoku’s recovery from the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake, this November Kodo will visit Nagaoka to perform a special version of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” hold school workshops, and collaborate on-stage with three specially-invited performing arts groups from the Tohoku area.

One of the groups from Tohoku is Shiroyama Toramai (Shiroyama Tiger Dance) from Otsuchi in Iwate, who we met when we performed with them at “Nanako Matsuri – Fuyu no Jin” last December. I recently visited them in Otsuchi to prepare myself for our Nov. 30 collaboration.

Photo: Michiko ChidaPhoto: Michiko Chida

Left: Performing arts groups from each district lead magnificent festival floats through the town during “Kamaishi Matsuri.”
Right: Taking a close look at a float built in 1699 in Ozaki Shrine.

During my stay, it was the festival season in Otsuchi’s neighboring town, Kamaishi, so I was able to see the tiger dance being performed at an actual festival.
Also, I went to see the current state of the disaster area.

▶ read more

“Fundraising for Urahama Folk Performing Arts Center” by Michiko Chida



Sorry for this late announcement.

Kodo set up collection boxes in the exhibition corner at Asakusa Public Hall during the “Mystery” performances in July. The total of the donations collected was 10,406 yen.
We sent the donations to Urahama Nenbutsu Kenbai & Kanatsu-ryu Yanagawa Shishi Odori, telling them that it was from Kodo’s audience. Thank you very much to everyone who generously donated to this cause.

We would appreciate it if you would tell your friends about this project, too.

Kodo is still collecting donations for this project via a collection box at the Sado Island Taiko Centre (Tatakokan). If you visit the Centre, please bring some coins or notes and show your support!


In the video above, you can see how the area looked in 2011 after the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake.

It talks about what they lost, and why they needed to keep their traditions alive, especially at a time when life became difficult and everyone faced so many obstacles.

This video is from March 2014, three years on from the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake. It shows Shishiodori and Kenbai, which were performed to pray for the lives lost in the disaster. And you can see the local children who are the future of this area. This building will help uphold the traditional performing arts of this area, so they will be passed down to future generations. It will also be a place for exchange, bringing together people connected by the natural disaster.

We really appreciate your support and generosity.
About Fundraising for Urahama Folk Performing Arts Center (in Japanese)

Kodo Website | Heartbeat Projectheartbeat_project_logo

“Asakusa Performances: Collecting Donations for a New Folk Performing Arts Center” by Michiko Chida

From June 21-25, during the “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery” Asakusa performances, we are asking people to help raise funds to build the Urahama Folk Performing Arts Center (Urahama Minzoku Geino Denshokan).

About Fundraising for Urahama Folk Performing Arts Center (in Japanese)

Please donate to the Urahama Folk Performing Arts Center Construction Fund and help build a new base for the folk arts in an area affected by the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake.

Urahama Nenbutsu Kenbai (sword dance) and  Urahama Shishi Odori (deer dance), two traditional performing arts upheld in the Okirai area of Sanriku in Ofunato City, were seriously affected by the damaging 2011 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake. The equipment for Shishi Odori barely remained, but all the equipment and the base for Nenbutsu Kenbai was lost. Even though they have kept their spirits up, it must have been hard for the people there to see a way forward through this dark situation these past three years.


Urahama Shishi Odori with Kanatsu-ryu Yanagawa Shishi Odori at the Earth Celebration 2008


Last January, the people of Urahama decided to build a folk performing arts center as a base for their traditional performing arts. This facility is their pledge to hand the wonderful regional folk arts, which cultivate their area, down to future generations: it is their vow to not be beaten by the disaster. They have great confidence in the power of traditional folk arts and they are working hard and enthusiastically, encouraging people involved with folk arts in other areas to follow their lead.


Their base was washed away by the tsunami, so they had to keep their equipment in a storage container next to the leader’s house. (Photo from Feb. 2014)


One of the reasons why Kodo wants to help them is that Urahama Shishi Odori is a part of Kanatsuryu Yanagawa Shishi Odori, who have been teaching Shishi Odori to Kodo since 1980. We have the same masters and same dance style, so we are like brothers. Actually, in 2008 some of the Urahama Shishi Odori members joined Kanatsuryu Yanagawa Shishi Odori to perform at our festival on Sado Island, “Earth Celebration.”


All the equipment is currently kept in an unsuitable environment. The new building needs to be built as soon as possible.


The Center will be built using personal funds and grants, and also requires 10,000,000 yen in donations to make up the remainder. From January to May, they collected more than half of this amount, but they still need 3,000,000 yen to reach their goal. They are almost there!

The basic amount they are requesting for bank donations is 10,000 yen or more. By donating this amount, your name will be displayed in the Center when it is completed. Kodo has put collection boxes in the exhibition corner at Asakusa Public Hall during the “Mystery” performances, which welcome donations large or small. Thank you in advance for your kind support.

Under the Heartbeat Project, Kodo is supporting the fundraising campaign to build the Urahama Folk Performing Arts Center. We would really appreciate your support and generosity.

Kodo Heatbeat Project


“First Performance Day of the Tour” by Mitsuru Ishizuka

Today is May 16, the first day of performances for the spring “Workshop Performance” tour!
Today we have two performances in Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture. We are presenting a special programme, which includes “Heartbeat Project” piece Island of the Shining Sun.

Photo: Mitsuru IshizukaPhoto: Mitsuru Ishizuka


Now, we are resting between the first and second performances. It was raining this morning and the humidity has made the tone of the hiraoke odaiko (flat, roped big drum) quite low, so we are going to retune it tightly, ready for the second performance!

写真 1写真 2


May 16 (Fri), 2014 Kodo Workshop Performance in Ishinomaki, Miyagi

May 25 (Sun), 2014 Kodo Workshop Performance & Taiko Clinic (Tokai, Aichi)

June 15 (Sun), 2014 Kodo Appearance at “CoCoLo Early Summer Festa” (Niigata City)

Kodo Website | Heartbeat Project

“Workshop Performance in Ishinomaki” by Kenta Nakagome

May 16  Kodo Workshop Performance (Ishinomaki, Miyagi)

Photo: Taro NishitaPhoto: Taro Nishita


We gave a “Workshop Performance” at the Ishinomaki-shi Kahoku Sogo Center in Miyagi Prefecture.
Ishinomaki was greatly damaged by the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake. Kodo had held performances in Ishinomaki prior to the disaster, and we were happy to be able to perform here once more. The smiles and cheers from the audience who gathered to watch us gave us a power boost, so we put all that power into the sound of our taiko.

After the performance, an aquaintance said to us “Please do come back and give another performance in Ishinomaki.” We look forward to returning here and seeing everyone in Ishinomaki, happy and well.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


May 25 (Sun), 2014 Kodo Workshop Performance & Taiko Clinic (Tokai, Aichi)

Our next Workshop Performance is in Tokai, Aichi. We hope to see you there!


“Heartbeat Project ‘Island of the Shining Sun’ Live in Ishinomaki” by Mitsunaga Matsuura


Kodo believes in the power of performing arts and supports Tohoku Pacific Earthquake recovery efforts through its “Heartbeat Project.”

On May 16, we will have the chance to perform at Ishinomaki-shi Kahoku Sogo Center, Ishinomaki, Miyagi.

We will play “Island of the Shining Sun,” which was composed as a part of our “Heartbeat Project.” We will continue to bring cheer to audiences with our performances and assist the revival of performing arts in the affected areas, making sure all along that our nationwide and global networks are kept informed on the progress of these activities.
We would like many people to listen to this piece. Please come and hear it live at the venue if you can!
May 16 (Fri), 2014 Kodo Workshop Performance (Ishinomaki, Miyagi)

heartbeat_project_logoKodo Website|Heartbeat Project

“Taking Part in a Festival for Recovery, ‘Ryori Damashii’” by Michiko Chida

Photo: Michiko Chida Photo: Michiko Chida

On March 2, Yoshikazu, Yoko and Motofumi were invited to join a festival called “Ryori Damashii” (meaning Ryori Spirit) in the Ryori area of Ofunato City, Iwate. They gave a heartfelt performance as part of our ongoing “Heartbeat Project.” A year ago, we were introduced to this festival’s organizers through our connections with various people concerned with the disaster-affected areas in Tohoku. Each local area has been making an effort to recover, but everything is still a work-in-progress. Three years have passed since the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake and the committee planned this festival to reawaken local love for their hometown. ▶ read more

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