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“Off to Our Final Destination: St. Petersburg” by Mariko Omi

Off to Our Final Destination: St. Petersburg

image1Photo: Mariko Omi

We gave a performance in Moscow on Mar. 27 and now we are heading to St. Petersburg for the final performance of “Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery.” Today we are traveling by train, which is very rare mode of transport for Kodo during a tour abroad!


St. Petersburg is a four-hour trip from Moscow and we are all more excited about the train journey than our usual travel days.

All aboard for our tour final destination and the last “Mystery” performance!

Photo: Mariko Omi


20150127oetJan.–Mar. 2016 “Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” Europe Tour

Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Russia


“Theaters Around the World” by Mariko Omi

Theaters Around the World

We are now in the final week of our two-month “Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” tour throughout Europe. During this tour we have had further opportunities to perform at so many wonderful, unique theaters.

A theater is a social place where people come together for events in a town. So through the theater you can often feel the history and the identity of a place.

I would like to share some of the theaters we have encountered on our 2016 Europe tour with you all.

Photo: Mariko Omi

Corn Exchange in Cambridge, England, is a theater housed inside a brick storehouse. As the name suggests, this building used to be a corn (or grain) exchange. Cambridge is a city with many students and this theater employs a lot of young staff members. By all the event posters in the lobby, I could tell that this theater is very active indeed.

Photo: Mariko Omi

In the music capital, Vienna, we performed at Wiener Konzerthaus, which is over one hundred years old. The white and gold decor was so refined and beautiful and the ceiling was adorned with a gorgeous chandelier. This theater perfectly fit the brilliant atmosphere of the city.

Photo: Mariko Omi

This is the KKL Lucerne in Switzerland, where the sound shell and curtains were electronically adjustable to perfect the acoustics. I was impressed by the neatly organized rows of seats on five levels and the really high ceiling. 

Photo: Mariko Omi

Also, the lobby was a special attraction at this theater. You could feel the hall’s love for the beautiful historic cityscape by the window that framed the view in the lobby like a work of art on the wall. Through other windows, you could see the mountains of Switzerland as though they had been cut out and framed on the walls, too.

Photo: Mariko Omi

This is Berliner Phiharmonie, home to the Berlin Philharmonic. The building is pentagonal and the stage is surrounded 360 degrees by seating. Apparently this layout is known as “vineyard terraces.” On this tour, this was the first venue we performed at that had audience members sitting behind the stage. When I think of this hall, I clearly remember the hall staff who were so efficient at helping us to load in and out.


Kodo members always remember Philharmonie im Gasteig in Munich, Germany, as being famous for its asymmetrical stage. When you think you are standing to face straight ahead, you aren’t actually facing the front. So this hall conjures some fear amongst the cast of not knowing where to position yourself or look when you are on stage.

Photo: Mariko Omi

Last but not least, here is the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, Denmark. The seats are covered in leather and you can see differences in color between each seat as they have individually aged over the years. Denmark is renowned for design and with its lily-of-the-valley-shaped lamps, beautiful curved hand rails, and wooden mosaic floors, I could feel the Danish simplicity coupled with attention to detail in the features of this theater.

Everyday we perform “Mystery” in a different theater and welcome a new audience, so the production changes as it adpapts to each venue and day. In halls where the sounds of an orchestra usually resonate, or on stages where people usually play guitars, we appear beating taiko, dancing, and accompanied by large serpents, too. Perhaps our instruments and dances create a sort of “chemical reaction” as we stir the theater in ways that differ from its usual performances.

When it comes to the sound at each venue, well, if we say “the sound is good here,” sometimes it makes me wonder how each person judges or senses that the acoustics are good. This vast range of theaters makes me all the more interested in the acoustic design behind each hall and each designer who came up with the shape of each theater to create a place to enjoy the sound and sights of its performances.

As our tour progresses, I am continually grateful to encounter all of these wonderful theaters along the way.


20150127oetJan.–Mar. 2016 “Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” Europe Tour

Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Russia




“Off to Ehime!” by Mariko Omi

Oct. 23, 2015

It’s a beautiful autumn day here on Sado Island! Today a group of us set off from Sado to head to Ehime where we will perform at the Ehime Prefecture Cultural Festival.


Sado’s toki (crested ibis) mascot Saddoki saw us off at the port. Saddoki is so cute with his round body and flapping wings.


Ehime, see you soon! We’re on our way!

Kodo Appearance at the 2015 Ehime Prefecture Cultural Festival



“Our Performance in Legendary Yabu” by Mariko Omi

Our Performance in Legendary Yabu
Oct. 3, 2015 “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity”


From the beginning of our current tour, the senior members have been saying “but when we’re at the venue in Yabu” so many times and they have brought up interesting things about this legendary hall.

“We have to roll the O-daiko in from outside up a staircase!”

“Last time, we set up the O-daiko cart on the stage even though it was a tight fit.”

“They have a profound love for Kodo at the hall in Yabu.”

As our performance there approached, I got so curious about Yabu from hearing all the different things the Kodo members had to say about it!

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

Rehearsal in Yabu

Viva Hall in Yabu is smaller than most of our usual venues with just 333 seats and a smaller stage to match. It was such a cozy place accompanied by a really warm, heartfelt welcome from all of the staff.


Rehearsal in Yabu

No matter how different a venue is, we have to create the unique realm of “Eternity” on stage as intended by the artistic director and deliver the production to our audience properly. So during our rehearsals at each venue, we check every element in our performance with great attention to detail, from the angle of our gazes into the audience to how we produce each sound to suit the acoustics.

I felt relieved when we received such warm applause from the full house during our performance in Yabu.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

When each and every member of the cast actively reconsiders the essence of “Eternity,” we move with more detail and create sound together with more depth. I can feel our performance gaining depth and becoming more refined each time we go through this deliberate process.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto



“Eternity” Sep.–Oct. 2015 Japan Tour

[Sep.–Oct. 2015] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Osaka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Kagoshima

Discography | Eternity

“A Breath of Fresh Air” by Mariko Omi

A new female member joined us for our current “Mystery” tour. Her name is Tomoe Miura and she is a brand new junior member.

Photo: Mariko Omi
She has only just finished her apprenticeship, but right off the bat she has been exposed to so many challenges: life overseas, jet lag, difference climates, various theaters, hotel life, and giving performances in front of actual audiences.

Photo: Mariko Omi
Her eagerness and determination provide a breath of fresh air on this tour, which inspires us and makes us take a good look at our own mindsets, too.

As we perform and rehearse the various pieces, new ideas emerge and shape the programme in new ways. You can see the individuality of each cast member developing in each piece as we progress on this tour. The “Mystery” production had its final Japan performance last year, but it is now undergoing a renaissance as we perform it on tour in North America.


“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Mystery” North America Tour

Announcing the New 2015 Kodo Junior Members



“Five Back-to-Back Performances in Tokyo” by Mariko Omi

Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Eternity

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

From Dec. 19 through 23, we had five days of performances at Bunkyo Civic Hall in Tokyo. Many people came to see us perform each day.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

For this production, “Eternity,” the artistic direction requires detailed movements and delicate sounds during quiet scenes. To improve the performance, everyday we reflected on the performance from the previous day, checked those movements, and talked about the tempo of certain pieces.

During consecutive performances at the same venue, we have more spare time than on a one-day-only performance. So, during this period new members can learn how the senior members use their time to warm up and get in the zone before each performance. They get given specific advice like, “Make your time to rest your ears.”

Photo: Takashi Okamoto
The audience reacted completely differently each day, even at the same venue, so we enjoyed their unique responses and were kept on our toes for all five days.

After that, we had our final performance for the tour in Niigata City, my hometown!


mariko_s“Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity”


Popular New “Eternity” Tour Merchandise!

Brand new t-shirts and tenugui towels featuring “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Eternity”-inspired motifs are on sale now at our performance venues in Japan.


Left: Masayuki Sakamoto & Mariko Omi model the new “Eternity” t-shirts.

Right: Shogo Komatsuzaki shows the new “Eternity” tenugui towel. Traditional Japanese tenugui are thin cotton towels which are great as a sports towel, bandana, or even wall hanging.


*Also available from the Kodo Online Store
[T-shirt] Kodo Tour T-shirt “Eternity”

[Tenugui Towel] “Eternity”

For orders in English, please contact the Store by email.

Kodo Online Store (Japanese) http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/
Kodo Online Store (English) http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/

Email: store.eng@kodo.or.jp

“On our Way to Nagoya!” by Mariko Omi

We are currently on the road with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity.” Yesterday, we traveled to Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture for our next performance. It’s December and the wind has gotten chillier, but I felt so enlivened by the warm sun and the blue sky with not a single cloud in sight!

Photo: Mariko Omi

On our journey, we were greeted by beautiful Mt. Fuji. It was such a powerful sight, even from afar.

Photo: Mariko Omi

Seeing such wonderful nature really replenished our energy.

We are waiting for you all at Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater Concert Hall in Nagoya tonight!

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

  This production features many scenes were each and every sound entwines, so I am looking forward to hearing our sound echo in a concert hall. I also look forward to seeing everyone there!   mariko_s


December 4 (Thu), 2014 Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater Concert Hall, Nagoya, Aichi

【Door Sales】 Available from 17:30 at the venue (Cash sales)

Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity Nov. 20 (Thu) Amusement Sado, Sado Is., Niigata Nov. 30 (Sun) City Hall Plaza “Aore Nagaoka,” Nagaoka, Niigata –”Heartbeat Project” Special Version– Dec. 2 (Tue) Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Dec. 4 (Thu) Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater Concert Hall, Nagoya, Aichi Dec. 6 (Sat) & 7 (Sun) NHK Osaka Hall, Osaka City Dec. 10 (Wed) Okayama Civic Hall, Okayama City Dec. 12 (Fri) Ueno Gakuen Hall, Hiroshima City Dec. 15 (Mon) & 16 (Tue) Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka City Dec. 19 (Fri)–23 (Tue/Public Hol.) Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo Dec. 25 (Thu) Niigata Prefectural Civic Center, Niigata City ▶Schedule & Box Office Details

“School Workshop Performance at Tawara Elementary School in Asakusa” by Mariko Omi

June 18 School Workshop Performance at Tawara Elementary School in Asakusa

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

In the middle of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery,” we gave two School Workshop Performances in Asakusa, Tokyo, in hopes that everyone in Asakusa would get to know Kodo better.

The programme and pieces are different to the “Mystery” performance, so we have been making good use of our spare time on the One Earth Tour to practise and prepare for these school performances. There are a lot of young newcomers on this tour and surprisingly more than half our cast has never been on a Kodo School Workshop Performance tour. During our rehearsals, we had to make sure that our facial expressions and movements, which usually aim to reach the furtherest parts of large theaters, were adjusted to suit an audience of children sitting right in front of us. We also had to check that the sound of the taiko and many other things were just right for the kids’ programme.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

Once the performance began, the 60 minutes went by in a flash! We received a lot of laughs and some unexpected reactions!

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

When we rolled out the biggest taiko (o-daiko), there were some kids squealing in anticipation, like they were at the top of a roller coaster just before a big drop!

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

For me, the impressions of a pupil, who spoke on behalf of her peers, were particularly memorable. She looked us all in the eyes while she told us the characteristics of each piece we had played and how each one made her feel with great frankness. It really made us take note of how your true feelings can have such power of persuasion.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

As the children left the hall, one of the little girls gave me a keyring. She said, “It’s handmade. Thank you!” and with that simple act, all of my tiredness disappeared!

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

We will use the all the smiles and cheer that we received from these school performances as energy for our five days of performances at Asakusa Public Hall.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhotos: Takashi Okamoto


About Kodo’s School Workshop Performances

“Kodo Village Dondo-yaki” by Mariko Omi

We had our village “Dondo-yaki” today, which we always have on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year, January. “Dondo-yaki” is a New Year’s bonfire when we burn New Year’s decorations.

photo: Mariko Omi

In the early evening we started to gather around, we sang a “Dondo-yaki” song, and set the fire alight.
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