Jan. 29, 2017
After the plane trip from Japan to the USA, the moment I arrived in Yakima felt like a baptism of sorts. I was plunged into a sub-zero world and I felt my body and soul flinch in the cold.
While it was freezing outside, all the locals were very kind and I felt their warmth through our interactions.
On and off stage, I truly felt firsthand that while we may live in different countries and have different cultures, all we need is the desire to share with one another for our hearts to communicate.
During our performance, we were uplifted by powerful applause, cheers, and whistles from the audience, and naturally we responded to each moment of “communication” with passion in each beat of our performance!
The DADAN 2017 USA Tour got off to a great start thanks to such a warm welcome and response in Yakima.
Now we are off to our next destination… I wonder what encounters await me today?
I will do my very best until the last performance of the tour and I plan to learn as much as possible during my travels.
Jan.–Mar. 2017 “DADAN 2017” –Kodo 35th Anniversary Production– USA Tour
Heading to the US! DADAN 2017
We’ve just left Kodo Village for our North American tour of DADAN!
Sending us off were the newest members to the Kodo family- the junior members, fresh out of the Apprentice Centre.
Personally, it’s been four years since I’ve been back home in the US.
We look forward to seeing you all!
“DADAN 2017” USA Tour –Kodo 35th Anniversary Production–
Performers: Masayuki Sakamoto, Yosuke Kusa, Yuta Sumiyoshi, Jun Jidai, Shunichiro Kamiya, Ryoma Tsurumi, Kengo Watanabe, Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga, Hayato Otsuka, Reo Kitabayashi, Issei Kohira, Masayasu Maeda, Koji Miyagi, Kodai Yoshida
*Cast is subject to change without notice.
On Our Travels
Hello, everyone. I hope you are all well.
In the past couple of years, Kodo has had more chances than usual to visit countries outside of Europe and North America. This year we gave performances in Vietnam, Brazil, and Korea. Last year we performed in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Eastern Russia.
I visited three of these countries this year with Kodo:
- Brazil, just before the Olympic Games,
- Korea, which has a sense of distance from Japan these days that is not geographical,
- and Vietnam, whose considerable economic growth is being likened to that of our nation during its post-WW2 rapid economic growth period.
These concerts came about through rather challenging processes, unlike our established tours in Europe or North America, but the experiences we gained by spending quality time in these places with local people were all invaluable and rich. Above all, I was able to feel the power of performing arts and music, which bring people together for exchange that leads to mutual understanding.
While I am traveling, I have much more time to read books and articles than when I am at home on Sado Island. Some of my fellow Kodo members are also book lovers, so I often see people reading on the road as we travel from place to place. (Others listen to music, tap their drumsticks, watch performance videos, and so on.) Every day, I like to look through the newspaper, which is a habit I’ve somehow kept up since childhood.
On the road, one of the ways I enjoy my travels is by making a point of reading local newspapers and content related to the places we visit. This year I went to Brazil and Vietnam, so I read well-known travel journals by Kotaro Sawaki and Takeshi Kaiko. As I traveled from place to place, I wondered, “Is this the place he was talking about in his book?” If I have free time, going to a bookshop makes me feel refreshed. I am shocked to see that my bookshelves at home have suddenly become packed, but I think buying things that you like is a little investment in yourself. It enriches your soul. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself. When I buy and read books, I feel gratitude to everyone connected to their creation.
Less than two months remain in 2016 and we still have many places to visit on our travels.
As always, we will bring the “fruits” of our tours with us back to Sado Island, then set off again on further travels.
Yuichiro Funabashi, Kodo Ensemble Leader
Sep. 1, 2016
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” Tour Sets Off!
This morning, it felt like autumn weather had arrived as we set off on our Japan tour with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Spiral,” given a farewell taiko serenade by some of the members remaining on Sado.
We look forward to seeing you all at theaters all over Japan soon!
Performances in Tama, Tokyo (Sep. 17 & 18)
Moved to the Core
Hello, everyone. How are you?
It has become really hot in Japan recently and the cicadas have already started chirping. I was on tour for the past couple of months with the School Workshop & Interactive Performances. We have completed our Spring–Summer 2016 tour and returned to Sado Island last week. I will be leaving Kodo soon, so my final performances will be the 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concerts in Tokyo and at Earth Celebration on Sado this August.
During my final tour, we mainly performed for school children in Kumamoto, Iwate, Niigata, and Hyogo Prefectures. We encountered a wide range of students on tour. Some of the pupils had never heard taiko before, some of them play taiko regularly, and some of them told us that our performance had made them want to start playing taiko.
In a world that is becoming more and more modern, I would like for children to not be only interested in the latest or most convenient things. I want them to know about classic or traditional things and then, based upon that knowledge, I want them to consider various new things. This is what I had in mind when I performed at schools on this tour.
When our performances would end, one student would share their impressions with us on behalf of the student body. I was really happy to hear some of them say things like, “It was my first time hearing taiko and it was interesting,” or “I want to explore Japanese music as well from now on.” At times, I felt my tears join the sweat on my face as they spoke to us.
I mentioned that our performances were mainly in four different prefectures on this tour. And they all have something in common: earthquakes. These four areas have experienced particularly large earthquakes. I heard locals talking about their experiences during and after the earthquakes and it was all unbelievable and unimaginable for me. Some taiko groups lost their practice space and instruments due to the damage from these earthquakes. My heart ached to hear about it all.
However, the people we met in these places had not lost their smiles. Some of them said to us, “The gods are telling us we can recover from this.” We had a chance to perform for people who were greatly affected by these devastating earthquakes and after our performances some of them said things to us like, “You’ve given me power to face tomorrow,” and “I feel confident again.” Personally, I was so happy to have so many wonderful encounters on my final School Workshop & Interactive Performance tour. I was happy to hear that I was able to help people in even a small way.
I sincerely hope they will recover from those disasters really soon. I hope our Interactive Performance tour will always continue, too.
Thank you very much to everyone who looked after us throughout our tour.
May 16, 2016
A Moving Trip of Firsts
Hello, everyone. I am Issei Kohira, a new Kodo junior member. Nice to meet you all.
From May 10 through 15, I went to Singapore with Kodo.
It was my first time performing overseas with Kodo! Actually, it was also my first time to ever travel abroad!
I was a little anxious as I left Japan for the first time and took the six-hour flight to Singapore. As soon as we arrived, along with the humidity I felt the cheerful warmth of Singapore surround me and my worries quickly disappeared.
Soon after arriving, we went to the rehearsal studio of the local taiko group, Hibikiya, who invited us to Singapore. Then we visited the concert venue.
The waterfront venue, Esplanade, has an outdoor stage and the “backdrop” features some of Singapore’s iconic tourist spots: the Merlion and the Marina Bay Sands. There was also a mall there that was bustling with people enjoying meals and shopping. So just being there was fun.
Kodo went to Singapore for a collaboration with Hibikiya, which has so many members and they are so passionate about playing taiko. Their performances also incorporate bamboo flutes and shamisen (Japanese banjo) and they often invite instructors to their group from Japan to give workshops. I was really moved by their attitude towards taiko.
During their performance, I watched them from behind the stage. They were so lively as they performed and I could feel their love for taiko. Their passion struck my heart and it was uplifting.
Meanwhile, when I reflect on my own performance, I have many things to work on as an inexperienced newcomer. It took all my might to try and keep up with the Distinguished Members and senior Kodo members. However, every single move they made taught me, and supported me, so I was able to give the best performance of my current capabilities and strength. During my first performance abroad, I learned where to position myself on the Kodo stage.
Leaving Japan for the first time and traveling overseas, I met people who love taiko and I learned that in only four days we could create such strong bonds, connected through the power of taiko.
I hope that this experience, full of firsts for me, will help me to grow even more.
Next up, I will appear in “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos.” This will be my first domestic tour with Kodo. I will be the youngest on this tour and I will perform with all of my might on stage throughout Japan.
I am raring to go!!!
I found myself heading back to Sado Island on the same ferry as the “Kaguyahime” members on their way back from Canada, the “DADAN” members returning from Hong Kong, Chieko who was in Australia, and Eiichi who had been in Tokyo leading workshops!
I was on my way home from a business trip to Nagano when I ran into everyone at the port, so I had traveled the least distance of everyone. I hadn’t seen some of the members in two months, so we talked about our travels as we boarded the ferry. Now that all the fall tours have come to an end, we’ll all be back on Sado Island together for a while.
After our School Workshop Performances in Yawatahama, Ehime, we took a ferry to Kyushu for our performances in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Sep. – Oct. 2014 Schedule http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/index_en.html#schedule09b
Kodo “DADAN” had its first performance of the tour in Oviedo, Spain. We were warmly welcomed by a full house!
Thank you very much to everyone in Oviedo who came along! See you again!
DADAN Tour Staff
Kodo “DADAN” Spain & France Performances
An Interview with Tsuyoshi Maeda by Johnny Wales
Tsuyoshi Maeda was born in the countryside near Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture on August 28th, 1986. He has one older sister. He fondly remembers a childhood playing in the surrounding foothills, fishing with friends from their small school with whom he remained close from kindergarten right through to middle school. Never keen on school work, Tsuyoshi played soccer and loved making music and art. At the age of 11 he joined the local children’s drum group, Hatakko Daiko. Learning taiko, fue, dance and song, it wasn’t long before Tsuyoshi knew that this is what he wanted to do with his life. Unusually, his parents supported that dream from the start. By high school his rehearsals and weekly performances with the group left too little time to carry on with soccer and he broadened his musical training by studying koto and (Japanese harp) shamisen (Japanese banjo) too.
He first came across Kodo in middle school through a CD which he listened to over and over. He went to see the group at a large concert in Kobe and decided then and there that he wanted to be like them. He remembers thinking that they seemed to shine on the stage.