Takao Aoki President, Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.
When a person travels, every encounter and experience changes them. As our members evolve through each journey, so does Kodo. When we venture into unknown worlds and different fields, it stimulates us, it broadens our outlook, and it allows us to reevaluate ourselves. If our performers compare themselves to before a tour, they will see with certainty afterwards that their expression has grown richer as each new experience built upon the previous ones. 2017 is an important year for Kodo, in which our members must forge their own new path while continuing to grow as individuals within the group.
Nowadays, many people are easily satisfied by on-screen phenomena due to the widespread use of computers, mobile phones, and the Internet. Today, I strongly feel that Kodo’s mission is to resonate with people around the world through taiko performing arts, sharing an array of emotions, humility, and more, with the many people we encounter on our travels.
This year, we will challenge the status quo and remind ourselves constantly that learning is a life-long task. We will continue to study performing arts with dedication as we strive to essentially deepen our art form. Furthermore, this year I hope that Kodo will be open and earnest in its quest to connect people around the world with a feel-good surge of power, namely the rhythm and energy of life generated by playing taiko. I hope that we, the Kodo Group, will reaffirm the significance of our own existence this year.
This year, I would like to kindly ask you all once more for your continued support of our Group’s activities.
Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.
Leader, Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble
The new year, 2017, has commenced. Last year, Kodo celebrated its milestone 35th anniversary with a colorful array of performances in many places. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your support of these commemorative events.
In 2017, we will present a diverse range of performances in the first six months alone, starting with the “DADAN 2017” USA Tour, a collaboration with Hatsune Miku, and encore performances of “Michi.” In the springtime, our lineup includes “Yugen,” our second major collaboration with Tamasaburo Bando, the annual “Kodo Sado Island Performances in Shukunegi,” and a “Kodo Interactive Performance” tour in Japan.
This year, Kodo will strive to evolve and gain depth as an ensemble. Both “evolve” (shinka) and “deepen” (shinka) can be written in Japanese with the same character for “ka,” which means “transform or change.” In recent years, we have created a new production each year under the direction of Tamasaburo Bando. In 2016, our latest work “Spiral” was an opportunity for Kodo to create sound that shows our evolution as well as the depth of our art. “Yugen,” our upcoming collaboration with Tamasaburo Bando that premieres this spring, is based around Noh theater. I am certain that this unique challenge will push Kodo to evolve even further and reach new depths of expression. The world of Noh has a long history and this art form has been constantly refined through many years of practice. Our rehearsals have transported us into that world, and while learning under the masters of Noh Theater can be overwhelming at times, I strongly feel that their teachings are essential lessons for Kodo right now. Noh Theater has firm roots on Sado Island where Kodo is based. There are Noh stages at many of the shrines on Sado and in the warmer months the locals regularly present Noh performances. Furthermore, every year we invite local Noh masters to teach at the Kodo Apprentice Centre, which is an important part of our curriculum. Some time ago, I recall one of the senior members of our group telling me that Kodo was formed thanks to the wise words of folklorist Tsuneichi Miyamoto: “Put down roots!” I think that this production will allow Kodo to take a new look at where we currently stand while providing an opportunity to think about moving forward and maintaining our roots on Sado Island. If we value these two actions, I believe we can both evolve and gain depth. In our 36th year, I intend to make the roots of the Kodo Group become even more tenacious.
I sincerely hope that this year will be a good year for all of you. I kindly ask for your continued support and encouragement throughout the year ahead.
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble
Minoru Ikarashi, Chairperson, Kodo Cultural Foundation
I am Minoru Ikarashi, the newly appointed chairperson of Kodo Cultural Foundation. I am humbled to assume the role of chairperson for this long-established foundation and kindly ask for your support.
Kodo Cultural Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017, while the annual festival it co-produces, “Earth Celebration,” commemorates its 30th anniversary. I consider my new role of chairperson as a great responsibility and worthwhile challenge, especially during this auspicious, important year for the Foundation.
The Foundation has steadily developed as an organization for many years and I believe that is all thanks to the support of many people. Furthermore, I also think it is due to the long service of the former chairperson, Makoto Shimazaki, ever since the establishment of Kodo’s antecedent group, “Sado no Kuni Ondekoza.” As I take over the lead role of this great resource, I consider it my duty to ensure the future of the Foundation through its continued development.
The main objectives of Kodo Cultural Foundation are as follows:
1. Human Resource Development: Raising leaders through training and experience-based learning.
2. Local Community Development: Revitalizing regions by utilizing local resources.
3. Arts & Culture Promotion: Promoting arts & culture through research, study, educational and social activities.
4. International Exchange: Providing forums for international cultural exchange.
I intend to thoroughly reflect on each objective, add new value to each one, and then drive those initiatives forward into the future. The Kodo Cultural Foundation staff and I will do our very best to ensure the perpetual development of these core activities. I sincerely ask for your continued guidance and support.
Kodo Cultural Foundation
Makoto Shimazaki, Special Advisor, Kodo Cultural Foundation
Last year marked thirty-five years since Kodo was first established. This milestone year also marked Kodo’s first step into its next thirty-five years, an important turning point and also a fresh start for the group as it forges ahead.
The Kodo Group took this turning point as an opportunity to implement a mandatory retirement system for its executive officers, creating space for the new generation to move forward into leadership roles.
From April 2017, Minoru Ikarashi (former vice chairperson) will assume the position of Kodo Cultural Foundation chairperson. I sincerely ask you all for your support of the new chairperson.
I, Makoto Shimazaki, upheld that role for the past twelve years. From now on, I will assist the Foundation with its activities as a special advisor. As someone who was involved in the establishment of Kodo’s antecedent group, “Sado no Kuni Ondekoza,” Sado Island and Kodo have a special place in my heart. I intend to do even more, whatever I can, to facilitate projects that will sustain and develop Sado and Kodo.
I kindly ask for your continued, generous support.
Kodo Cultural Foundation