On Oct. 5, we gave a performance of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki. We also came here with “Legend” two years ago and we were happy to be back.
Let me tell you about one type of drum we use on stage. Shimedaiko (the small drums shown above) have drum heads that are bound together by either bolts or one long rope. Kodo always uses roped shimedaiko so we can create an unconstrained, mellow yet clear, shrill sound. But because we tune our shimedaiko before every performance, the ropes wear out and eventually snap. We need to keep replacing them.
So, we always have extra ropes on hand, just in case. The ropes are made of hemp and they are very stiff, so we pull them and beat them every day to make them just the right softness. By doing this, if one of the ropes snaps during our daily tuning, we always have rope on hand that is ready to replace it right there and then.
As the saying goes, “Be prepared & have no regrets.”
Everyday, we all do our best to be in top condition for our performances!
On October 4, we performed in my hometown of Iwaki, Fukushima. It was my first time to perform in Iwaki as a Kodo member. Thanks to the support of the venue, Iwaki Performing Arts Center Alios, the audience there had gathered from all over Fukushima Prefecture. It was a beautiful day and my heart was filled with happiness.
No matter how much I think about it, all I can think to say is “Thank you” to all of the people who helped us with this performance. Even though people in Fukushima are still having a hard time, they manage to turn their tough experiences into strength and they smile a lot. They reminded me that I get my own strength from them too, everywhere I go, all the time, with each step I take.
I hope this performance will become a link between Iwaki and Kodo. I will continue to do my best, in the hopes of coming back to perform in Iwaki soon.
The Japan Finale of “Mystery” in Shimane
The Japan performances of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” ended at Oda Shimin Kaikan in Shimane on Oct. 26. It was also the last One Earth Tour performance for cast members Kenzo Abe and Yosuke Inoue.
Our tour ended in Shimane, where the original folk art that serpent dance Jamai is based on is upheld. All the members, especially serpent performer Yosuke Kusa, got so nervous soon after we arrived in Shimane. A serpent was on display in the lobby (see the picture below) and we received warm applause from the members of Yunotsu, who taught us the serpent dance. The performers must have felt really encouraged by their support. The performance was really lively thanks to this great atmosphere, created by everyone there: the audience, the staff backstage and front of house, and the entire cast. Thank you, everyone!
On September 20, we had a performance in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. Most of the seats were not allocated, so many people queued for a long time before the doors opened to get the best seats. I could feel their excitement to see the performance by looking at that long queue. It made me happy!
There was a long line right around the theater. No matter how busy I am, at concerts with free seating I always pop out to see the enthusiastic queue.
On Sep. 19, we performed at Sapporo Shimin Hall, which is near famous landmarks such as Sapporo Clock Tower and Sapporo TV Tower. It’s been 3 years since both Kodo and I were last in Hokkaido. Last time, I was still inexperienced as a “One Earth Tour” manager, so I didn’t have any free time to venture out and ended up staying inside the hall all day long. This time, there are many new members, which makes me their senior. For junior member Shunichiro, this is his first ever “One Earth Tour.”
We were greeted by a large audience in Sapporo! The fall tour of “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery” is off to an energetic start.
(Left) Appearance on “Fukushima Super J Channel” (Fukushima Broadcasting)
(Right) Live appearance on DATE FM’s “Crescendo”
Yuta, Kosuke and I appeared on DATE FM’s “Crescendo,” “Fukushima Super J Channel” (Fukushima Broadcasting), and Fukushima FM’s “Iwaki Alios Art Juke Box” to publicize our “Mystery” performances in Iwaki, Fukushima, on Oct. 4 and in Sendai, Miyagi, on Oct. 7.
Iwaki is my hometown. This will be my first time to perform there. I will do my best to make the Iwaki locals feel much closer to Kodo. I hope many people will come.
We will be on Fukushima FM radio at around 6:05 pm on Oct. 3. (Time/date subject to change. Interview in Japanese, naturally.)
Fukushima FM Radio’s “Iwaki Alios Art Juke Box”
We loaded our suitcases onto the bus and set off on the fall “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery” Japan tour, farewelled by the sound of taiko.
Since last December, we have been touring all over Japan with this production, making an array of adjustments to refine the “Mystery” programme more and more. This will be the last “Mystery” tour in Japan. I wonder what encounters await me on this tour. I am so excited!
First stop is Hokkaido! I’m looking forward to the local food up there!
See you all at one of the theaters on this tour!
We cleaned our dormitory at Kodo Village just before we set off on tour!
As the saying goes, “Cast no dirt in the well that gives you water”: We will be away for one and half months, so we all worked together to leave our place clean and tidy. Now, we all feel refreshed, too! We will do our very best to present great performances for our audiences. So, please, please come along to see “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery”!
The fall “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery” Japan Tour begins this month. In this video, cast member Yuta Sumiyoshi talks about “Mystery.” (Note: This message is in Japanese)
Watch on You Tube▶http://youtu.be/Cv1EkQP4Zpo
Photos: Takashi Okamoto
Update from Asakusa
From July Issue of Japanese Monthly Newsletter “Kodo”
In June, thanks to the cooperation of many locals and numerous others we held five successful performances in Asakusa. Thank you for your support, everyone!
Just like last year, this year there was an array of stalls from shops in Taito Ward set up in the lobby. This kind of lobby setup is unusual on a Kodo tour and quite unique to our Asakusa performances. The shop clerks wore matching happi (workman’s coats) and their presence made the theater atmosphere very lively.
On the first floor, we had an exhibition and also set up a corner where people could play taiko. It provided a chance for many people to play our drums. I hope that the people who had never played taiko before felt a stronger connection to the drums through their hands-on experience.
This time, we also had School Workshop Performances at two schools in Asakusa. For some Kodo members, it was their first time to perform at a school with Kodo. It was such an enjoyable time for all of us to be surrounded by the children with their pure hearts and smiles.
School Workshop Performance in Asakusa
We performed two pieces in front of Asakusa Public Hall in the “Star Plaza” (Walk of Fame) area. Before we performed outside, I went around the locals to let them know we would be doing this and they said “Play taiko as much as you like!” “I’m looking forward to it!,” etc. Then, they even came along to watch us during the outside performance, so I was so happy! On the final day it was drizzling, but when we started to perform Yui,, the sun shined on the performers. I will never forget that moment.
Our Asakusa performances were a success thanks to the help of so many people. During Asakusa’s annual festival Sanja Matsuri, the sound of live music accompanies the portable shrines as they make their way along the streets. Based at Kodo’s Tokyo Office, I will continue to work hard in the hopes that the sound of Kodo’s taiko will also be something the locals in Asakusa look forward to hearing every year!