Tag ‘Kodo Apprentice Centre’
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!
The Kodo apprentices welcomed the Company with a performance.
Kodo’s Eiichi Saito led a taiko workshop for our guests. He told them, “Feel everyone’s hearts connect as you play taiko together.”
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.
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!
So Kuramoto Visits Kodo Village
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.
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.
The apprentices sang a lively folksong at the end of this special visit.
KASA MIX 2016
Rumored to be “life-changing,” this biennial program called KASA MIX is an intensive program designed for taiko players from outside of Japan.
With the current growth of the international taiko culture and community, the KASA MIX participants have gathered from countries all over the world such as United States, Canada, England, Argentina.
When they arrived on Sado, the KASA MIX participants joined our apprentices in their unique lifestyle at the Kodo Apprentice Centre.
They participated in every aspect, from the early morning workout to eating meals, cleaning, and taking baths together.
They took a variety of different workshops from our veteran Kodo performing members, and experienced the great seasonal nature of Sado.
Timing worked out perfectly to observe one of the practices of ondeko (demon drumming) in the Iwakubi community, and had the opportunity to learn an ondeko dance themselves, from the Kasuga community in the latter half of their stay.
And of course, they enjoyed everything else that this island has to offer.
Gathering from all over the world, the participants were able to share with us some taiko stories from their country or area.
The different reasons, history, spirit and culture that each person had shared with us have opened up a bigger world for our young apprentices who had no knowledge on the taiko culture outside of Japan.
As they discovered their new findings of taiko in the world, it looked to me that they found another reason to strive to become a Kodo performing member.
KASA MIX has come to an end once again with very warm and heart-filling memories through this short time we had together on Sado island.
As one of the staff members for this program, I was very moved by the unification we have created through taiko, which brought a sense of nostalgic comfort to my heart.
Thank you to everyone who participated this year! We look forward to seeing you again somewhere in this world.
Next one is coming up again in two years! To all taiko enthusiasts all over the world, we look forward to having you here on Sado for our next KASA MIX!
Last Chance to Apply for “Kodo Juku 2016”
This year we will hold Eiichi Saito’s annual live-in taiko workshop “Kodo Juku” from Oct. 7 (Fri) through 10 (Mon/Public Hol.) at the Kodo Apprentice Centre on Sado Island. Eiichi Saito took over the reigns to facilitate Kodo Juku in 1992 and back then we held Kodo Juku 4 times a year. For some time now, we have held it just once a year but one thing that has barely changed is the content. Each year the participants tell us how the simple taiko drum led them to find new connections between their own body and soul and helped them to create wonderful new bonds with people they had only just met at the workshop.
Everyone is welcome at Kodo Juku, whether you’ve played taiko before or not. First-timers will discover the special power of taiko and experienced players will discover many hints to playing taiko that truly moves people. The only condition is that you’ve never been to Eiichi Saito’s Kodo Juku before, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime workshop with no repeaters or groups of 2 or more.
The application deadline is July 30, so don’t delay! We look forward to receiving your application soon and welcoming you to Sado Island for Kodo Juku this autumn.
The second year apprentices act as staff during Kodo Juku each year, learning valuable skills as they host the participants. Eiichi and the apprentices can’t wait to welcome everyone to Kodo Juku this fall!
Kodo Juku: Eiichi Saito’s Taiko Workshop
Oct. 7 (Fri)–10 (Mon/Public Hol.), 2016 Kodo Apprentice Centre, Kakinoura, Sado Island, Niigata
Details for Kodo Juku 2016
June 11, 2016
“Seek, Honor, Hone”
Hello, everyone. I hope you are all keeping well.
We spent April and May on Sado Island rehearsing for various productions and creating new works with our artistic director. It was a very fruitful period.
Now our “Interactive Performance,” “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos,” and “Premium Concert” tours are well underway. These tours will lead us straight into the “Spirited Summer” performances in Asakusa in July, the 35th Anniversary Concerts and new-look “Earth Celebration” in August, then from September we will tour in Japan with our next One Earth Tour production, “Spiral.” We look forward to seeing everyone nationwide during the months ahead.
Recently, I went to the Kodo Apprentice Centre for two days as an observer. The first year apprentices had only been there for six weeks. The second years had survived the long winter on Sado and now that there are junior apprentices, they have become the reliable seniors. There are 19 apprentices currently training at the Centre and they are all working very hard.
I also graduated from the Centre and looking back, I remember that fun days were few and far between. My memories are overwhlemingly of hard days, a hectic schedule, and tough daily routine. Even now, when I drive to the Apprentice Centre, my stomach gets tense as I draw closer to the grounds. But I know now that those tough days while I was an apprentice have formed the core of who I am today.
While I only visited for two days, I could see how the apprentices are doing and immerse myself in the atmosphere of the Centre. Seeing them, it reminded me that you mustn’t forget your original intentions and goals. I found myself gazing at the words framed on the wall, the former school’s education motto: “Seek, Honor, Hone.”
It made me appreciate once more being surround by people who have a hunger to learn and this environment where we can learn so many things.
Kodo Apprentice Centre cultivates the base and heart of the Kodo stage and the Kodo Group. I hope that many people will hear about our Centre and take an interest in the programme. If you would like to visit, or join the programme, please get in touch. Contact details are available on the webpage listed below.
Kodo Apprentice Centre
Apr. 9, 2016
Kodo Apprentice Centre Welcomes the 35th Intake Class
On Apr. 4, the new first-year apprentices arrived on Sado Island. This year we welcomed ten new apprentices from Japan (Niigata, Nagano, Tokyo, Kagawa, Okinawa), the USA, and Norway.
On their first day on Sado, each year our new apprentices meet at the bus stop in Kakinoura and walk the 1.2 km up the mountain road to the Apprentice Centre. As they climb the hill, step by step, they have time to think about their family and friends back home who sent them off with messages of support, and to think about their own reasons for coming here. From the next day, this route will be a slope that they run up on their daily training for the next two years.
Two days later, the new apprentices all nervously introduced themselves to all the Kodo members and staff at Kodo Village. Then everyone got straight into a forest working bee together and the new apprentices all received warm words of welcome and encouragement from the whole Kodo group.
Today is their fifth day at the Centre and as they encounter new things everyday, I can already see they are off to a good start working as a team. I hope that each one of them keeps in mind all the people who are cheering them on as they strive towards their goals, and that they remember how happy they were to be selected to come here. I hope they will tackle their apprentice lifestyle with all their might and that each and every one of the new apprentices broadens their horizons and possibilities during the course of the year ahead.
Kodo Apprentice Centre
New 2016 Kodo Junior Members
Five recent Kodo Apprentice Centre graduates have just become Kodo junior members. They are Koharu Ido, Issei Kohira, Masayasu Maeda, Koji Miyagi, and Kodai Yoshida. We thank you in advance for your support of their activities.
*The decision about Yuri Sakamoto is pending and will be made in March 2016.
English Version of Kodo Apprentice Centre Introduction Video Now Online
In July we shared a new video online that introduces the Kodo Apprentice Centre in Japanese. We are pleased to announce that we have just uploaded an English version, too. This video shows scenes of daily life at the Apprentice Centre on Sado Island throughout the four seasons and introduces the curriculum of the two-year apprentice programme.
Applications for the 2016 intake have closed already. For inquiries regarding the 2017 intake, please contact Kodo Cultural Foundation.
(Please note that advanced Japanese is a selection requirement.)
Kodo Cultural Foundation（Tel.0 259-81-4100 / Email: email@example.com）
Nov. 1. 2015
From Fall into Winter: Kodo in November
Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well. This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
November has just begun, yet it’s already remarkably cold here on Sado Island.
On October 18, we gave our final performance of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” which premiered in November 2014 and toured throughout the past year. This was the third production directed by Tamasaburo Bando since he became our artistic director in 2012. “Eternity” has such a profound title and theme and was created entirely from brand new compositions. For Kodo, this work was full of new challenges in musical and stage expression, which led us to new depths and heights on stage.
Meanwhile, in Canada another cast of Kodo members took part in the contemporary ballet production “Kaguyahime” in October. Every performance received such a wonderful, excited response from its audience. Kodo throughly enjoyed taking part in this collaboration again and week by week, our performers deepened their connection with the dancers, Gagaku musicians, and percussionists. We are truly grateful for this experience.
Our Kaguyahime cast members also found time between the ballet performances to present Kodo’s first ever School Workshop Performances abroad. It was a very good experience for both sides: many children in Montreal had the chance to experience the sound and vibrations of taiko for the first time and our members got to try speaking French for the first time to deliver their self introductions to the audience.
Speaking of performances abroad, we also held “DADAN 2015” performances at the end of October in Hong Kong, and in November a small Kodo ensemble will head to Bali, Indonesia, for collaborations with EC 2015 guest artist Suar Agung. It’s the first time in 29 years for Kodo to visit both Hong Kong and Bali, so in both cases it’s the first time for all the cast members to visit these places with Kodo. I’m sure the performers will be inspired by these new places & experiences. We look forward to sharing stories and news from our travels with you through this blog, so please stay tuned for updates.
Also, this November I’ll return to Ise in Mie Prefecture with Kodo for a taiko festival at the Ise Grand Shrine called “13th Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri.” Kodo performed at this event last year, too. This exciting two-day event draws amazing performance groups from all over Japan and such an enthusiastic crowd.
Futhermore, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Kodo Apprentice Centre’s relocation to its current premises: the former Iwakubi Junior High School premises in Kakinoura on Sado Island. Every year in early November the apprentices plan and hold their own “Harvest Festival” and this year they are having a “Great Harvest Festival,” which will be a huge celebration. Kodo Apprentice Centre alumni and Kodo members will come along to perform and enjoy a freshly harvested feast together. This festival is our way of saying thanks to the locals in the Kakinoura and Iwakubi area for their constant kindness. Since all Kodo members and many Kodo staff members pass through the Apprentice Centre, the festival is always a great reunion for Kodo and the locals near the Centre. I am truly looking forward to the Great Harvest Festival that celebrates this milestone year.
Last but not least, on Nov. 23 “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos,” the latest production directed by our artistic director Tamasaburo Bando, will premiere on Sado Island.
Sounds of the West, the East, and Japan will create a world of chaos and harmony as they entwine and disperse. This new work is based upon bolder, more liberated ideas than ever before for a Kodo performance.
Oct. 1. 2015
Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
October has arrived and we are enjoying sunny days with a slight chill in the air. Some decades ago, there was snowy rain in October, but I think that due to global warming in recent years, the fall season on Sado has gotten somewhat longer.
Kodo held numerous performances throughout Japan this September with the “Eternity” and “Interactive Performances” touring from Hokkaido down to Shikoku, our “Special Performances” here on Sado Island, and an array of solo and small ensemble projects, too. Each of our two tours included special projects, collaborations, and workshops, so their days have been filled with all kinds of activities.
I took part in the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” centered around our Distinguished Members. This was the fourth year for this series. For the Autumn concerts, we had a cast of eight featuring veterans, junior members, and Maya Minowa for the first time. We gave seven performances over four days during Silver Week. The venue, Shukunegi Public Hall, was built 57 years ago and renovations have commenced this fall to strengthen it against earthquakes and restore it. We look forward to seeing the finished renewal next spring.
Photo: Damian Siqueiros
Dancers: Jerimy Rivera & Edi Blloshmi
The Interactive Performance team finished their Japan tour at the end of September and have returned to Sado to rehearse for their upcoming ballet collaboration in Montreal, “Kaguyahime.” Kodo also took part in this ballet with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in Canada three years ago.
“Kaguyahime” is a ballet suite by the late Maki Ishii, who also composed Kodo’s signature pieces Monochrome and Dyu-ha. He wrote Kaguyahime for a ballet danced to Western percussion, Japanese court music, and wadaiko. For most of the performance, Kodo performs in the orchestra pit, but there are also some scenes where we perform on stage. The production includes a furious battle scene where the Western percussion and Japanese taiko go head to head.
Here on Sado Island, October is an action-packed month for the Kodo apprentices. On top of their usual training, they will give Interactive Performances at junior high schools on Sado, host live-in workshop Kodo Juku at the Apprentice Centre, and have the valuable experience of harvesting the persimmons, rice, and other crops they have been growing over the past months.
At the end of September, we held information sessions for prospective apprentices in Tokyo and Osaka. Some people know they want to join Kodo on stage, but they are anxious when faced with a two-year apprenticeship and wonder how they will find it training here. Of course, it’s easier to imagine if they visit the Centre before applying, but since it’s difficult for some people to come up to have a look around, we have started holding info sessions in these two main citiess in the last couple of years. Today, our applications opened for the 2016 intake. We look forward to greeting our new applicants as they step forward for this challenge of a lifetime.
In Japan, we say that autumn is the season for performing arts.
We hope to see you all soon at a Kodo performance somewhere.