Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader, Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

January 2017


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
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble