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Tag ‘Live-in Workshop’

“KASA MIX 2016” by Yui Kawamoto


Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Rumored to be “life-changing,” this biennial program called KASA MIX is an intensive program designed for taiko players from outside of Japan.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

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.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

When they arrived on Sado, the KASA MIX participants joined our apprentices in their unique lifestyle at the Kodo Apprentice Centre.

Photo: Yui KawamotoPhoto: Yui Kawamoto

They participated in every aspect, from the early morning workout to eating meals, cleaning, and taking baths together.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Photo: Yui KawamotoPhoto: Yui Kawamoto

They took a variety of different workshops from our veteran Kodo performing members, and experienced the great seasonal nature of Sado.

Photo: Yui KawamotoPhoto: Yui Kawamoto

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.

Photo: Yui KawamotoPhoto: Yui Kawamoto

And of course, they enjoyed everything else that this island has to offer.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Photo: Yui KawamotoPhoto: Yui Kawamoto

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.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

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.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

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’!” by Michiko Chida

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.

>>See here for details!

Eiichi Saito says “Join me for Kodo Juku on Sado Island!”

Early morning stretch time at Kodo Juku 2015

Jogging in the morning with the apprentices

Eat, sleep, and play taiko!


Workshops are held in the Kodo Apprentice Centre gym, where the apprentices spend two years training in hopes of one day performing on stage with Kodo.

Preparations for each Kodo Juku begin 8 months prior with a lot of enthusiasm!


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

“My O-daiko Camp in Kyotanba Wachi” by Yoshikazu Fujimoto

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On the 3rd & 4th, the first weekend in October, I led a two-day live-in workshop in my hometown, Kyotanba Wachi in Kyoto Prefecture. The 24 participants who joined me there traveled from Tokyo, Kanagawa, Gunma, Gifu, Hiroshima, Okayama, Mie, Nara, Hyogo, Osaka, Fukui, Shiga, Kyoto, and as far away as Canada. We enjoyed a very intense weekend of making good vibrations and connections together in Wachi.

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The venue was Wachi Taiko’s practice hall, which used to be an elementary school in Wachi. Now the former school building has a new purpose.


Thankfully, it was a sunny autumn weekend. So we got to go outside on the school field and play “air taiko” to practise the taiko rhythms as we sang them out loud. It felt so good to have the grass under our bare feet. It was the best place to hold a camp! Everyone stayed at a Japanese inn in front of JR Wachi Stn. called Kadoya Ryokan. We had a dinner party there and we all had such a great time eating, drinking, chatting and dancing together.

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On the Sunday morning, Wachi Taiko was invited to perform at a sports festival on the plains where Wachi Taiko originated. So we went to Fujinomori Shrine and I played Wachi Taiko as a special offering with the members of the Wachi Taiko preservation group, Wachi Taiko Hozonkai. All the taiko camp participants came along to watch us drum.


We plan to hold this “O-daiko Camp” every year in my hometown. If the timing didn’t suit you this time, I hope you can make it next time! Please come along. I’ll be early waiting for you with the presenter, Wachi Taiko Hozonkai (Wachi Taiko Preservation Group).

Photos: Mr. Takeshi Emoto of Wachi Taiko Hozonkai


“Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” by Yoshikazu Fujimoto

Kodo Cultural Foundation Project: “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” Live-in Workshops

O-daiko & Ogi Matsuri Daiko with Yoshikazu Fujimoto


From Jul. 3 through 5, I led a “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” live-in workshop for eleven participants. The group was made up of men and women of various ages from all over Japan, as well as four people from overseas who came along to play taiko for the first time. It was such a mixed bunch: the youngest participant was 17 and the eldest was 68 years old! We had four workshop sessions in all: Day 1 afternoon, Day 2 morning & afternoon, and Day 3 morning. I used these sessions to teach them O-daiko, where they face the drum and beat it, and Ogi Matsuri Daiko, where they drum standing side-on to the drum, plus a further two pieces. It was tough for them to learn all the different rhythms to play, but they all worked hard and managed to get through each piece. They came together as one, and I was so happy! I breathed a sigh of relief.

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On the first day we had a BBQ outside, and I poured my heart and soul into making my specialty egg dish, dashi maki tamago, for them all to enjoy.


Lively breakfast together after our morning walk

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Kodo Cultural Foundation staff playing Ogi Matsuri Daiko in front of the Sado Island Taiko Centre to farewell the participants


“‘Voice Camp’ in Wachi Report” by Yoko Fujimoto

May 3–5 Voice Camp in Wachi


For the first time in 19 years, I led a live-in workshop! This 2015 workshop camp was presented by Wachi Taiko, who are based in (my husband/Kodo member) Yoshikazu Fujimoto’s hometown. The workshop took place amidst the beautiful, colorful spring surroundings of violet wisteria and green foliage.

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I wanted the participants to enjoy the Wachi area in many ways, so I had asked our facilitator, Mr Fumitaka Ideno, to show me around various spots and together we decided the places we would visit. During the camp, we enjoyed and cherished the echoes of our voices, sang together at those spots, and the participants and I had three days full of excitement and fresh energy.


The workshops took place at the gym of a former elementary school, the lodge at the camp site where we stayed, a temple dedicated to Kannon, which was established in the Muromachi Period (early 14th to late 16th century), and the early-morning mountainside of Mt. Choro.

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“Chieko Kojima & Masami Miyazaki ‘Taiko Camp in Fukuchiyama’ Report” by Masami Miyazaki

Chieko Kojima & Masami Miyazaki “Taiko Camp in Fukuchiyama”

Chieko Kojima & I led a taiko camp in Fukuchiyama from May 22 through 24. It was such a fun three days with the 18 participants who gathered from Maizuru, Himeji, Hiroshima, Gifu, Aichi, Yokohama, Tokyo, and even Australia!

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On the first day, after the orientation, everyone got straight into the first taiko performance workshop, based on “Hana Hachijo.” Everyone was quite rigid and nervous on the first day. (But that night… they loosened up during a fun party)

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On Day 2, in the morning we split into two teams: one went for a walk through the local hills while the other team made breakfast. Then we all spent the rest of the day playing taiko.

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Everyone also learned part of a dance and got ready for a recital & mini concert to display everything they had learned.
That night, we were all licking our lips at the deer and wild boar on the BBQ. Then we gathered around a campfire and everyone danced like crazy to the sound of the taiko, chappa (cymbals), and bamboo flute.

We later found out that some people could hear us 10 km away!


On the last day, we held a recital and mini concert to show our appreciation to everyone who helped us, as well as to cheer on the people of Fukuchiyama, who have been hit by natural disasters in recent years. Everyone who came along, from little kids to senior citizens, had huge smiles from start to finish. We all danced a local dance together in a big circle to end the event.

Fukuchiyama is written using the kanji character for “happiness,” and the locals say you come there for happiness. I hope we can come again for some more happiness with them all soon.


This taiko camp was presented by the four members of Fukuchiyama-based wadaiko unit “Hitotsu.” We are so grateful for their warm welcome and generous hospitality. Thank you, Hitotsu!

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After the camp, Chieko and I appeared on a local radio (FM Tamba) broadcast with Makoto Shimozawa, the leader of Hitotsu.


“‘Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse’ Live-In Workshops: Shinobue Camp Update!” by Tsugumi Yamanaka

May 29 (Fri)–31 (Sun), 2015
Shinobue (Bamboo Flute) with Motofumi Yamaguchi


This weekend, we look forward to welcoming participants to the first in our new series of 3-day live-in workshops at Fukaura Schoolhouse: Shinobue with Motofumi Yamaguchi. If you’d like to register last minute, please call us to confirm your place without delay!

kodo_motofumiMessage from Motofumi Yamaguchi
“Learning to play an instrument is similar to climbing a high mountain. Even if you work hard, taking one step at a time, it is not always easy to reach the top. But with each step you make upwards, you’ll encounter a brand new view.”

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Kodo Cultural Foundation Project: “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” Live-In Workshops

“Voice Camp in May” by Yoko Fujimoto

Voice Camp in May in Wachi, Kyoto


Recently, I had a very detailed meeting with Mr. Fumitaka Ideno from Wachi Daiko about the upcoming Voice Camp here in Wachi.

When I’m here and I feel the sunlight filter through the leafy green trees, hear the sound of the river flowing by, and look out over the mountains, I get excited thinking about everyone who will come along for the Voice Camp. I look to the sky and imagine their voices creating sparkling rainbows right across its wide canvas.

When you come for Voice Camp, let’s also go and sing at the nearby temple dedicated to Kannon. It’s a sacred place that looks down over the village, and I’m sure the location will add emotion and sparkle to our eyes and voices. It’s such a wonderful place, I can’t wait to take you all there.

Songs have a special way of opening people’s hearts. With our voices, we’ll create soft, stimulating whirlpools and let ourselves get swept away. I look forward to being moved with you all.
I am so grateful to everyone at Wachi Daiko for creating this opportunity for me. Thank you! I’ll do my best to make it a joy for everyone who comes along to take part.
My husband Yoshikazu Fujimoto, “Mr. O-daiko,” was born in Wachi. I’m so happy to have the chance to invite people to Wachi and share this wonderful place with others. I hope it brings joy to Wachi, too.

Yoko Fujimoto “Voice Camp in Wachi”


“Uto Taiko Matsuri” by Yoshikazu Fujimoto

On Feb. 19, Motofumi Yamaguchi and I visited some TV stations and a radio station in Kumamoto to promote “Uto Taiko Matsuri.” We gave a mini live performance at each station.


We visited Kumamoto Castle on the way. I was very impressed.


I led a taiko camp from Feb. 20 (Fri) to 22 (Sun), and on the final day, the participants had a recital at Uto Taiko Matsuri to show everyone what they had learned during the camp. Each year, this recital is the first act at the festival. First, we sang “Hobashira Okoshi Ondo” and then we played a new piece called “Narukami, which means “Thunder God.” The ten participants, including three local high school students, had joined me there from all over Japan. I was really pleased that they all took part. Some of them were just beginners, but I had them play simple base rhythms and we were all able to play together.


Just before the performance with the Taiko Camp participants. We performed in pink “Uto Taiko Matsuri” t-shirts.


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