“In Matsuyama with ‘Spirited Summer'” by Chie Yamawaki

July 22, 2017

Hello, everyone! This is my first blog post. I’m Chie Yamawaki, a Kodo junior member.

I am currently on tour with “Spirited Summer” and we only have four performances to go.

After our performance in Kurashiki today, we traveled to Matsuyama in Shikoku.

Speaking of Shikoku, I am from Kagawa Prefecture.

So when I visit nearby Kurashiki and Matsuyama, it feels similar to being back in my hometown.

The climate and dialect in Western Japan make me feel so relaxed, as did the Sanuki udon noodles I ate during a road-side stop.

This is my first big tour.
My heart felt like it might burst with nerves and worries during the first half of the tour, but all the senior Kodo members supported me through it.
I received a tremendous amount of energy from the smiles and applause the audience gave us at each performance. My heart gets fully recharged with every performance, so I have arrived in Matsuyama filled with energy and with eleven performances worth of wonderful memories.

As this tour progresses, I think each performance feels like a “spirited summer” of its own.
The people, sounds, food, history, atmosphere, water, and other elements of each place we visit blend with Kodo and create a unique, spirited summer experience each time.

Tomorrow we have our Matsuyama performance.
Some years ago I was one of the audience members watching Kodo perform on stage at tomorrow’s venue, Matsuyama Shimin Kaikan.
Now I am a junior member of Kodo and this time I will be on stage performing with Kodo.
Since I was very young, I often visited Matsuyama for fun. I am really looking forward to our spirited summer experience in Matsuyama. I wonder what local flavor will blend into our performance…

For the remainder of the tour, we will head further south to the bottom of Kyushu.
The temperature will rise and so will our spirit on stage!
I look forward to sharing more special summer experiences with you all and taiko. Please come along to see one of our performances.

山脇千栄

Kodo “Spirited Summer” Japan Tour

Photos: Takashi Okamoto


“The School Workshop-Performance Tour, Working Hard in Niigata” by Eri Uchida

On Friday June 16, I went to see the School Workshop-Performance tour in Niigata City where they are currently visiting elementary schools. Kodo gives regular performances at the many schools there.

I went to see our tour at an elementary school that is 10km from Niigata Station. I decided to rent a bicycle to go there. I don’t know what I was thinking… it was further than I thought. I should have known it would be tough on a bike with a basket and no gears. On the way back, I took the easy route by getting a lift back in the Kodo truck. (lol)

 

Ask any young person who went to school in Niigata City if they have seen Kodo and most of them will say that they have, at least once. That is largely thanks to Kodo’s Eiichi Saito and Kazuki Imagai and their efforts since our School Workshop-Performances began some twenty years ago. To visit all the schools in the city requires a morning and afternoon performance each day, at different schools each day. That means fitting ten performances into five days each week. With such a tight schedule, it’s important that everyone is as organized as possible to ensure smooth, good performances. To make sure that not even a minute is wasted, the preparation for the tour includes detailed meetings about loading in and out of each venue and then the cast and crew carry out simulations of how each day and situation will go.

On Friday afternoon, the end of the school week! The kids were so lively!

The School Workshop-Performance requires a lot of stamina, so the physical power of young Kodo members is essential for this tour. Currently there are three junior members on the tour and every day they are giving it their all. They have been on the road for one month now and since I last saw them at a run-through rehearsal on Sado, the young members have all grown in leaps and bounds. Every day as I learn I am reminded that the more you grow, the more you realize exactly what you still lack. The junior members still receive a lot of critiques from the senior members, and I’m sure they are being stretched to their limits. But now that I am a bit more senior myself, I can see that they are growing more than they may think. The senior members know if they praise the junior members too much they won’t improve, so they make sure they don’t give them too much praise. (LOL)
During my visit, I saw my fellow Kodo members all working diligently to better themselves and the performance. Regardless of seniority, they all worry, suffer, work hard, and enjoy themselves. I think they are all really valuable to Kodo.
Keep up that spirit, School Workshop-Performance team! Do your best!

The children flocked to the cast members after the performance for autographs. I hope they will come to see Kodo perform when they grow up, too. We’ll be waiting for you!


“Stage Debut for 2017 Junior Members” by Yuta Kimura

May 16, 2017

Hello, everyone. Nice to meet you!
I am Yuta Kimura, a Kodo junior member.
Today was the premiere of “Yugen.”

As of today, I can now announce that all five Kodo junior members have made their debut on stage with Kodo.


We spent the past two years, until January 2017, living and training together at the Kodo Apprentice Centre. Now, the five of us are taking part in different performances and we are doing our very best as we continue to develop as performers.

I think it is great to have colleagues who graduated from the same class. Even now, we inspire one another and get along well.

With our lack of experience, it is a frantic time as we try to keep up with all the Kodo members. We will continue to do our very best. Please cheer us on!

Yuta Kimura, Kodo Junior Member



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