2017 Greetings

Takao Aoki President, Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.

January 2017

青木孝夫

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.

Takao Aoki
President
Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.

Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader, Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

January 2017

船橋裕一郎

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.

Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

Makoto Shimazaki
Chairperson, Kodo Cultural Foundation

January 2017

島崎信

The Kodo Group celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2016. This year, we will intensify our efforts as we look towards the future, with 2017 marking the important first year of our “Next 35.”

People around the world are saying that 2017 will be an uncertain, unpredictable year. Over the past thirty-five years, the Kodo Group has faced many difficulties along the way that were resolved and overcome with hard work and wisdom. This shaped our group into what it is today. As we face the year ahead, we will not be arrogant or overconfident, nor will we be anxious about the unknown. The Kodo Cultural Foundation is an integral part of the Kodo Group and we will focus on seeking the “light” of new possibilities throughout this unpredictable year.

Our annual festival, “Earth Celebration,” has many years of experience under its belt, too. Under the motto “Invigorate Sado,” this year the Ogi-based event will expand its reach to connect everyone who attends with locals and their unique activities all over Sado Island.

Our Foundation also facilitates the training of future taiko performers at Kodo Apprentice Centre in Kakinoura and future leaders in regional revitalization at Fukaura Schoolhouse. This year, we aim to make their training more sound and profound than ever before.

We also plan to resume the “Sea of Japan University Project” (Nihonkai Daigaku Kozo). The original goal of this initiative was to create a place where people can learn about issues in society and devise solutions for them, a concept upon which Kodo’s antecedent group Ondekoza was founded in the 1970s. Back then, I participated in the first “Sado Summer School” (Sado Natsu no Gakko) to assist folklorist Mr. Tsuneichi Miyamoto, and this event marked the beginning of that project. This year, I plan to take the first of many steps towards realizing Mr. Miyamoto’s vision at last.

On behalf of the Kodo Cultural Foundation, I sincerely ask for your continued support and advice throughout the year ahead to facilitate our activities.

Makoto Shimazaki
Chairperson
Kodo Cultural Foundation