鼓童ブログ Kodo Blog

“Exclusive Kodo Costume for Kaguyahime” by Yui Kawamoto

The Kodo performers had their costumes fitted for “Kaguyahime.”

These costumes were made especially for each of the performers according to their personal size.
They are so comfortable that they all want to take their one home.


In the costumes, we saw this tag:


This Kodo costume is exclusive to Kaguyahime!


Kodo Appearance in Ballet Performance “Kaguyahime: The Moon Princess”

Oct. 15 (Thu)–30 (Fri), 2015 Montreal, Canada

Kodo Cast: Masaru TsujiKenta NakagomeEri Uchida,  Maya Minowa, Yuta SumiyoshiTetsumi HanaokaRyosuke Inada

“Rehearsals for ‘Kaguyahime’ on Sado” by Yui Kawamoto


Something is different about the rehearsal hall at Kodo Village this week.

An elegant, comfortable, special sound is resonating throughout the building… what can it be?



It is the sound of the Sado-based rehearsals for “Kaguyahime”!


We are currently rehearsing with conductor Michael de Roo and Gagaku (Japanese court music) ensemble Reigakusha for this month’s ballet performances that will be held in Montreal, Canada.
Here’s to the next performance season of “Kaguyahime” in Montreal! See you soon in Canada!


Kodo Appearance in Ballet Performance “Kaguyahime: The Moon Princess”

Oct. 15 (Thu)–30 (Fri), 2015 Montreal, Canada

“Abundant Autumn” by Tomohiro Mitome

Oct. 1. 2015

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.

This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.

October has arrived and we are enjoying sunny days with a slight chill in the air. Some decades ago, there was snowy rain in October, but I think that due to global warming in recent years, the fall season on Sado has gotten somewhat longer.


Kodo held numerous performances throughout Japan this September with the “Eternity” and “Interactive Performances” touring from Hokkaido down to Shikoku, our “Special Performances” here on Sado Island, and an array of solo and small ensemble projects, too. Each of our two tours included special projects, collaborations, and workshops, so their days have been filled with all kinds of activities.


I took part in the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” centered around our Distinguished Members. This was the fourth year for this series. For the Autumn concerts, we had a cast of eight featuring veterans, junior members, and Maya Minowa for the first time. We gave seven performances over four days during Silver Week. The venue, Shukunegi Public Hall, was built 57 years ago and renovations have commenced this fall to strengthen it against earthquakes and restore it. We look forward to seeing the finished renewal next spring.


Photo: Damian Siqueiros
Dancers: Jerimy Rivera & Edi Blloshmi

The Interactive Performance team finished their Japan tour at the end of September and have returned to Sado to rehearse for their upcoming ballet collaboration in Montreal, “Kaguyahime.” Kodo also took part in this ballet with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in Canada three years ago.

“Kaguyahime” is a ballet suite by the late Maki Ishii, who also composed Kodo’s signature pieces Monochrome and Dyu-ha. He wrote Kaguyahime for a ballet danced to Western percussion, Japanese court music, and wadaiko. For most of the performance, Kodo performs in the orchestra pit, but there are also some scenes where we perform on stage. The production includes a furious battle scene where the Western percussion and Japanese taiko go head to head.



Here on Sado Island, October is an action-packed month for the Kodo apprentices. On top of their usual training, they will give Interactive Performances at junior high schools on Sado, host live-in workshop Kodo Juku at the Apprentice Centre, and have the valuable experience of harvesting the persimmons, rice, and other crops they have been growing over the past months.

At the end of September, we held information sessions for prospective apprentices in Tokyo and Osaka. Some people know they want to join Kodo on stage, but they are anxious when faced with a two-year apprenticeship and wonder how they will find it training here. Of course, it’s easier to imagine if they visit the Centre before applying, but since it’s difficult for some people to come up to have a look around, we have started holding info sessions in these two main citiess in the last couple of years. Today, our applications opened for the 2016 intake. We look forward to greeting our new applicants as they step forward for this challenge of a lifetime.

In Japan, we say that autumn is the season for performing arts.

We hope to see you all soon at a Kodo performance somewhere.


“Asano Taiko’s New Product ‘Try Before You Buy’ Event” by Mitsunaga Matsuura

Asano Taiko’s New Product “Try Before You Buy” Event


Asano Taiko held a special event so that people could along to try out the new Asano drums that were created in collaboration with Kodo for our performances. The instruments introduced at this “Try Before You Buy” event are the taiko that people ask us about the most, mainly wondering if they are available for purchase. So on Sep. 21, during the Silver Week holiday period, we joined Asano Taiko in Yutenji, Tokyo, for this hands-on event at Taiko no Sato Kyowakan.

▶︎Watch footage from the event on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzqiFGQWnjc

During the event, Kodo members gave special workshops using each of the three collaboration-project taiko drums. Kodo’s Yuta Sumiyoshi composed a piece especially for the workshops with those taiko in mind. It incorporates some unique grooves that you can create with them, allowing all the participants to really experience the potential of these new taiko.

Photo: Mitsunaga Matsuura

Introducing the Kodo x Asano Taiko Collaboration Taiko Lineup

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Shime-jishi Taiko

This small taiko has a crisp, sharp sound that lets a solo part stand out amongst other taiko on the Kodo stage.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


This taiko is now on sale thanks to popular demand. We usually play it with one drumstick on stage. Its low tone really complements other instruments, including chappa (cymbals) and bamboo flutes.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


All eyes are on this one! This is an okedo-daiko (barrel drum) that has independent tuning for each head thanks to special metal parts on the barrel. The two drum heads differ in thickness, too. The incredibly broad range of this taiko is showcased in a solo by Masayuki Sakamoto in our production “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” directed by Tamasaburo Bando. See the performance live or on DVD/Blu-ray to see “Kanade” in action.

“‘Rizumu o Taikan Concert’ (Feel the Rhythm Concert)” by Tsuyoshi Maeda

Sep. 26, 2015

Kodo Appearance at “Rizumu o Taikan Concert” (Feel the Rhythm Concert)

Today we took part in a concert at Bunkamura in Shibuya, Tokyo, especially for citizens of Tokyo. The programme featured tap dancer Kazunori Kumagai, Kotaro Oshio on guitar, and Kodo. We got to collaborate with both artists on a selected pieces during the performance.



Kodo is an ensemble, so when we tour or give performances, we usually perform with just our own members. We don’t have that many opportunities to collaborate with other artists on stage. I learned so much through this collaboration with two top artists. It was so fruitful. Kazunori Kumagai and Kotaro Oshio are both solo artists who face the world head on, alone. They are such powerful individuals. In comparison, I became keenly aware of how small I am. This kind of encounter is undoubtedly inspiring for me as an artist. I am truly grateful for this experience.

Photo: Taro Nishita

Kazunori Kumagai and Kotaro Oshio, thank you very much for such a great collaboration!!!

Kodo Appearance at “Rizumu o Taikan Concert” (Feel the Rhythm Concert)



Singer Hiromi Iwasaki came to see our performance! Here’s a picture with a few of us backstage afterwards.

 (From right: Yuichiro, Kosuke, and I)

“Kodo Guest Appearance at ‘Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai’ Festival” by Eiichi Saito

“Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai” Festival

Sep. 13, 2015 | Miyako, Iwate

Photo: Yuki Nakagawa

“Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai” is an annual festival that began in 2013 to help recover the spirit of Sanriku’s festivals and local folk arts in the wake of the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake.

The backdrop for our taiko performance at the festival was the blue sea, white cliffs, and green pine trees. Jodogahama Beach is a famous scenic spot in the Sanriku Area. It may look like a peaceful place, but I heard that when the tsunami came after the 2011 Earthquake, it went up over these huge rocks and right over the rest-area buildings.

That was four and a half years ago. Even though the rubble has been tidied up, it has not been removed as they are still waiting for a designated place to take it. There were so many vacate sites throughout the town. As you’d expect, we saw so many scenes that you could only see by actually going to the disaster area, and honestly, it made me regret that my own sympathy for the recovery efforts had somewhat faded with time.


Photo: Yuki NakagawaPhoto: Yuki Nakagawa

The audience watched our performance and applauded for us to the very end, despite the rain.

Thank you very much to everyone who came along!

We will continue to do what we can to help keep the plight of the disaster area from fading away.



Heartbeat Project

Kodo Featured on ANA “Is Japan Cool?” Website

Sado Island & Kodo Featured on ANA “Is Japan Cool?” Website

スクリーンショット 2015-09-20 0.44.09

Niigata is featured in the Destinations section of the ANA (All Nippon Airways) “Is Japan Cool?” website aimed at international tourists visiting Japan. Kodo is introduced in the part about Sado Island. Please have a look! There is a Chinese version, too. Please share this website on social media and help us spread the word about Japan as a tourist destination.

English: https://www.ana-cooljapan.com/destinations/niigata/artsandculture

Chinese: https://cn.ana-cooljapan.com/destinations/niigata/artsandculture

“Obon in the USA” by Yoko Fujimoto

Obon in the USA

This year I took part in some of the Obon festivities in the USA. I’d like to share some of my memories from that experience with you all.

Some years ago, I think it was in 2001, I gave a present to San Jose Taiko in California: the melody and song lyrics for their taiko piece, “Ei Ja Nai Ka.” Then, people started to dance to that song at Obon, and this year it was chosen as the official music for Obon in California. When I heard that people were going to dance to it all over the state, I got so excited and decided to head over to the USA to witness the spectacle firsthand.


On July 11 & 12, I took part in San Jose’s Obon festival, which I had heard was the largest in the USA with 1000 people joining the dance circle each year. The turnout was even beyond my expectations! Volunteers from a local Buddhist church set up stalls selling foods, sundries, fans, toys and all kinds of things, and they really made the festival lively! In Japanese-American society, the Obon Festival is a ceremony when you remember your ancestors, as well as a time to reaffirm your connection with your community. It’s the most important family event of the year for many people.


I sang surrounded by 1000 people dancing and it really filled me with strength. The call and response during the song was so powerful. It made me so happy and it was such an honor to join them all.

Many people came along wearing yukata (summer kimono) and some fun costumes also caught my eye. I was impressed right away by how international Obon is in America. The people there looked like they were all from different races, but despite appearances, apparently most of them have Japanese heritage.

The USA is a multicultural nation, and that’s why people have such a strong, deep awareness their own community. In Japan, people say we are “only Buddhist for funerals,” but people who go to Buddhist churches in the U.S. also have weddings there and it appears that their religion is more a part of their daily lives than it is in Japan.

FullSizeRender 104

On July 18, I took part in the Obon festival in Venice, Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it rained that day. They decided to cancel it, but then changed their minds saying, “We can’t possibly cancel a festival that commemorates our ancestors!”
Luckily their enthusiasm and all the dancing eventually drove the rain away.
Races continue to blend more and more in society as time goes by. And this event continues to be a special occasion for people with Japanese heritage to think about their existence and give thanks to their ancestors.

Next year, I would like to come back for the Obon festival held by Senshin Buddhist Temple in L.A. They don’t set up stalls or the like, they just dedicate their efforts to holding a memorial ceremony for their ancestors. I hope I can make it.



“Performance at ‘Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship'” by Takuro Susaki

Sep. 7, 2015

Performance at “Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship”


On September 3, Kodo’s Eiichi Saito, Maya Minowa and Mizuki Yoneyama performed at the “Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship” in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russia.

Photo: Hiroshi Abe

This opportunity came about thanks to an invitation to perform from the artistic director of the Buryat National Academic House of Ballet, Mr. Morihiro Iwata. Kodo appeared in the first act of the concert in a work that he choreographed called “Tamashii (Spirit),” which premiered in 2008 and was created to accompany Kodo recordings. This 2015 collaboration was the first time for the ballet to be danced to live Kodo music.

The Buryat National Ballet and invited guests from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater Ballet danced with such liveliness and portrayed an array of emotions on stage with such subtle details. Their performance seemed to truly inspire and invigorate the Kodo members who shared the stage with them.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

During our short yet enriching stay, we also got taken to see Ivolginsky Datsan Temple and Lake Baikal. We are already looking forward to the day when we can collaborate with Mr. Iwata again.


Kodo Collaboration with Morihiro Iwata at “Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship”

Promotion Video for “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos” Released Today!

Kodo 35th Anniversary Production “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos”

Watch on YouTube▶https://youtu.be/qGCmnpbdRHo

Our next production directed by Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos,” will premiere in November 2015.
This performance promises to share brand new forms of taiko music through a daring, liberating concept that incorporates drum kits and even taiko drums made from tires.

The debut tour will begin on Sado Island before visiting Fukui, Toyama, Niigata, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okayama, Aichi, Kanagawa, and Tokyo.
For further details, please visit our website.


▶ “Chaos” Production Details

▶ Premiere Tour Schedule (Nov.–Dec. 2015 Japan)

▶ Kodo Blog | Rehearsals for Brand New Production ‘Chaos’” by Yuta Sumiyoshi

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