鼓童ブログ Kodo Blog

Tag ‘Mystery’

“From ‘Amaterasu’ to ‘Mystery’: Part 2″ by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

From “Amaterasu” to “Mystery”: Part 2

Article by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

Behind the Scenes of “Mystery”


Jamai — the “Serpent Dance” — is derived from Orochi, known as “the Great Serpent Dance” from Iwami Kagura (Iwami: a region, the west part of Shimane Prefecture/ Kagura: dance and music for the kami, or deities).The Kodo cast members of Jamai absorbed the skill and spirit of this traditional folk dance by learning from local performers while in Shimane as artists in residence. Iwami is the name of this area in the western part of Shimane Prefecture. Iwami is famous for its historical site, Iwami Ginzan, the largest silver mine in Japan, a world heritage site. Kagura was originally performed to summon kami (deities) during traditional rituals of worship in shrines and other sacred places. Japanese traditional music, dance and festival culture has its roots in these ancient rituals. Taiko, or the Japanese traditional drum, was once regarded as a sacred instrument because of its magical power to conjure up the deities for tasks such as bringing rain to a region in need.

The Kodo cast members of Jamai absorbed the skill and spirit of this traditional folk dance by learning from local performers while in Shimane as artists in residence.

The Kodo cast members of Jamai absorbed the skill and spirit of this traditional folk dance by learning from local performers while in Shimane as artists in residence.

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“Come to See Kodo in Asakusa!” by Nobuyuki Nishimura

Come to see Kodo in Asakusa!

Photos: Takashi Okamoto, Taro Nishita and Naomi Iseki



There are always many visitors at Asakusa Engei Hall and at Kaminarimon entrance gate.

Asakusa is in a part of Tokyo called “shitamachi,” which is the traditional shopping, entertainment and residential district of Tokyo. It is an area where the atmosphere of the past decades of Tokyo is still alive and well. We had performances at Asakusa Public Hall last year and we have been given the chance to perform here again this year, too!

A year has passed since I personally became based in Asakusa. I was lucky enough to help carry a mikoshi (portable shrine) during Asakusa’s famous festival, “Sanja Matsuri.” People in Asakusa think about this festival all year long and the whole town sparkles when the time for the festival itself draws near.

(左)浅草観光連盟会長 冨士さん。(右)観光連盟副会長の川上さんのお店の前で、川上さんとメンバー、西村。(2013年)

Left: Mr. Fuji, President of Asakusa Tourism Association
Right: Vice President Mr. Kawakami with some Kodo members and I in front of his shop (2013)


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“From ‘Amaterasu’ to ‘Mystery’: Part 1″ by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

From “Amaterasu” to “Mystery”: Part 1

Article by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

Guided by the Mysterious Power of the Serpent




Aside from the dim outline of a mountain, the stage is shrouded in darkness. Look closely, and you may catch a glimpse of something undulating in the distance, then out of the black they appear: three giant snakes, entangled with each other. As they gradually reveal themselves, it becomes clear that a spectacular and ominous world awaits. Three snakes wriggle free from each other, their scales glinting in the dim light. The sound of the taiko takes on the cadence of a heartbeat as an eerie melody is played on a Nohkan, the bamboo flute used in Noh and Kabuki theater. Your invitation into a mysterious realm is complete. The snakes return to the darkness while the lights of lanterns float in the air like giant fireflies. Like an ancient lullaby, voices arise, transporting you to forgotten childhood memories.

Where exactly are we? Each of you might ask yourself this question in the darkness. Kodo’s unique sound and spectacle have the ability to transcend the reality around you.



In the autumn of 2013 — the year of the serpent — the brand new production, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” was revealed with this mesmerizing opening scene. Directed by Tamasaburo Bando and premiering on Sado Island, Kodo’s home and base of operations, Mystery consists of 18 scenes, including ones inspired by traditional folk dances such as Jamai, Namahage and Shishimai, and contains scenes newly created by members of Kodo such as Yomichi and Yuyami, along with pieces from the classic Kodo repertoire.

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Kodo “Mystery” Tour T-shirts in New Spring Colors!

鼓童Tシャツ 神秘〜春の新色

We are happy to announce our new Kodo Mystery tour t-shirts in spring colors. They are made of tri-blend fabric and available in four colors: vintage heather blue, purple, pink and red. The triangular uroko design and Kodo calligraphy (the same as seen on the lanterns we use on stage) are printed in white.



Kodo “Mystery” T-shirts in blue, purple, pink and red

For orders in English, please contact the Kodo Online Store by email. Email: store.eng@kodo.or.jp


Kodo Online Store

“Spreading the Word About the Upcoming Asakusa Concerts” by Naomi Iseki

The “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery” Asakusa Performance postcards are ready to be distributed!

Photo: Naomi Iseki

These advertising postcards will be placed on shop counters throughout Asakusa soon.
We hope that many people will pick them up, spread the word, and come along!

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery” Performances in Asakusa, Tokyo (June 21-25)

Eri Uchida and “Mystery”: An Interview by Johnny Wales

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery”

An Interview with Eri Uchida by Johnny Wales

Eri Uchida, Kodo Rehearsal Hall

Eri Uchida, Kodo Rehearsal Hall

Eri Uchida was born in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan and is in her sixth year with Kodo. She specializes in taiko but also sings, plays shinobue (bamboo flute) and dances. Here she discusses with Johnny Wales Kodo’s newest production “Mystery” and working with Tamasaburo Bando.

  Our new main stage performance is called “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery.” It is directed by Tamasaburo Bando. The pieces were written by Kodo members and are almost all new. For me, the principal difference between his first One Earth Tour production “Legend” and the new Mystery is that in Mystery the women are featured more than ever before. In traditional Kodo performances the programme usually builds up to Yataibayashi and O-daiko so the audience leaves the theatre with a lasting impression of the male performers. I think this performance leaves an equally feminine impression. In the early stages of production we worked out a lot of the business for ourselves. At first we thought, ‘Is this going to work on stage?’ I think there is more theatricality in this performance than usual.

  I have two pieces in Mystery, Harewataru (meaning “clearing skies”) which is a piece with mainly flute and taiko, and opening up the second act is a piece I composed called Chit Chat. I wanted to express the feeling of girls just having a good chin wag, so the curtain opens to a scene of the women playing and laughing together.

Chit Chat (From left: Maya Minowa, Mariko Omi, Eri Uchida, Akiko Ando)

Chit Chat
(From left: Maya Minowa, Mariko Omi, Eri Uchida, Akiko Ando)

  About a year ago Tamasaburo asked us all to submit ideas and compositions for consideration on the theme of ‘mystery’. I had never composed anything before but submitted some pieces anyway and what do you know? They made the cut! It has really made me want to compose more in the future. I discovered that in order to create something that expresses yourself, you don’t have to over think it. However to make something really good I have a lot of studying to do.

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Kodo Featured in “Dance Magazine”

There is a 10-page special feature on “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” in the March 26 Issue of Japan’s “Dance Magazine” (by Shinshokan). If you are in Japan, we hope you will pick up a copy.

Contents: Interviews with artistic director Tamasaburo Bando and Kodo performers Masayuki Sakamoto & Yuta Sumiyoshi

Shinshokan | Dance Magazine (Contents in Japanese)


From Hekireki, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” (Photo: Takashi Okamoto)


Full-Length Preview for “Mystery”!

We have just released the preview on YouTube for “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery,” the second work directed by artistic director Tamasaburo Bando. This production will tour throughout Japan from May 2014.

Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery

See here for the May-July Japan tour schedule:

“Kodo Tour T-Shirt: Mystery” On Sale Now

“Kodo Tour T-Shirt: Mystery” On Sale Now


This is a dry-blend t-shirt, made from a cotton, polyester & rayon blend. It feels soft on the skin and so comfortable to wear. Featuring the uroko (scale) pattern from Kodo’s stage costumes and “Kodo” written in calligraphy (just like on our lanterns on stage), this t-shirt is available in black and vintage heather navy. For orders in English, please email the Kodo Online Store at store.eng@kodo.or.jp


“Kodo One Earth Tour 2013: Mystery” in Tokyo

We are winding up our year of touring with five back-to-back performances of “Kodo One Earth Tour 2013: Mystery” in Tokyo.

Ake no Myojo

Ake no Myojo




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