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“Soaring into September after an Inspiring August” by Tomohiro Mitome

Sep. 1, 2015

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.

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

August was action-packed for all of us at Kodo with countless rehearsals, Earth Celebration (EC), and our local festival Ogi Minato Matsuri. This particular intensity tires us in different ways than we experience while we are on tour. But just by being on Sado, we are constantly being soothed by nature, so while it is hectic, it is also an important time for us to reset and refresh ourselves before our fall tours.


Photo: Takashi Okamoto

In early August, we had rehearsals for our upcoming production, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos,” that will premiere in November. We are receiving advice from drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara as we create this work with our artistic director, Tamasaburo Bando.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda

From mid-August, we moved into our rehearsals for Earth Celebration, where we have three Shiroyama Concert performances over three days. We welcomed Leonard Eto (Leo) to Kodo Village to rehearse for the Day 2 performance, “Honeymoon,” and the Day 3 finale, “Shukusai / Celebration.”  Leo also helped us prepare for our collaboration with Balinese guest artist Suar Agung, worked with the Kodo members to create new music, and even taught the younger Kodo members about all kinds of things on their days off. The Kodo members learned a lot and were so motivated by Leo every day. Leo was a Kodo member in the early days of Earth Celebration and he composed the iconic Kodo pieces Zoku and Irodori, so it was a precious chance for all our members to hear his thoughts on EC, the background behind those pieces, and to talk to him about the groove, stage set up, and ways of arranging those pieces on stage. It was an intense, fruitful time for all involved.

Incidently, it is undeniable that Leo is the person who made playing katsugi okedo-daiko so popular. He is also the reason that playing hirado-daiko became so popular.

Photo: Maiko Miyagawa

On the first day of EC, which was rainy, we gave an all-Kodo performance directed by Tsuyoshi Maeda, entitled “Kodo Night.” It is rare for thirty-three of us to appear on stage together and something that is only possible once a year here on Sado Island.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

On the second night, we performed a concert called “Honeymoon,” directed by Leonard Eto. The first half featured Jegog ensemble Suar Agung and the second half was performed by Leonard Eto with Kodo. Suar Agung play bamboo instruments, cymbals, and drums, and the sounds they create really suit the natural outdoor setting of Shiroyama Park.

Photo: Maiko Miyagawa

For me, the second half was a programme that brought back great memories of Leo’s artistic direction. How we set the scene on stage, the solos, ensemble pieces, and taiko, taiko, and more taiko. The programme really grabbed the audience and drew them in, as did Leo in his red Kodo coat!

Photo: Maiko Miyagawa

The final concert, “Shukusai / Celebration,” was directed by Mitsuru Ishizuka. All three artists came together for an energetic, electric finale.

It had been a few years since we last welcomed a guest artist from overseas to the Shiroyama stage, so it was the first time for many of our youngers members to experience an international collaboration. It was such a great chance for us all to experience these collaborations together, to get caught up in a whirlpool of sound, and stimulated in new ways. Thank you very much to everyone who joined us at EC for these concerts!

This year marked the end of an era for Earth Celebration, which will no longer be centred around concerts at Shiroyama Park. However, EC will continue and next year’s festival will take place from Aug. 26 through 28, 2016. Details about the new look EC will be announced in May 2016. In 2017, Earth Celebration will celebrate its 30th anniversary, so we are already looking forward to celebrating that milestone with everyone.

Photo: Yuki Nakagawa

At the end of August, on the 29th, we took part in our local festival, Ogi Minato Matsuri. As a festival taiko group, we pulled a taiko cart around the streets of Ogi, going from door to door playing taiko to show our appreciation to the town and all its people. It’s a special occasion where we get to take part in a local festival and various performing arts as locals.

From September, the “Eternity” tour and the “School Workshop/Interactive Performance” tour are back on the road and touring throughout Japan. Here on Sado, we are preparing for the Special Performances in Shukunegi centered around our distinguished members, which will be held Sep. 19–22.

See you all somewhere soon!


“Setting off on the ‘Eternity’ Fall Tour!” by Koki Miura

 Setting off on the Fall Tour of
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity”


The hot, hot summer has come to an end and the smell of autumn is in the air. Today the cast and crew for “Eternity” set off on our fall tour. Our first performance is in Yachiyo in Chiba and it just happens to be… MY HOME TOWN!

Kodo has been to Yachiyo before and I remember seeing a Kodo member, Yuichiro Funabashi, at a bookshop near the theater and asking him in a flurry if I could shake his hand. I was a high school student at the time and seems like a while ago now.


I saw Kodo perform on that stage in my hometown and now the day is approaching when I will perform on that stage as a Kodo member. I will do my best, Yachiyo!



Our farewell from Kodo Village this morning



“Eternity” Sep.–Oct. 2015 Japan Tour

[Sep.–Oct. 2015] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Osaka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Kagoshima

Discography | Eternity

“Upon Arrival in Ulan-Ude” by Maya Minowa

Sep. 1, 2015

Upon Arrival in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russia


Before the buzz from Earth Celebration had faded away, we set off for Ulan-Ude in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, traveling via Mongolia into Siberia.

We came to perform the music for a ballet production by Morihiro Iwata called “Tamashii” (Spirit). Mr. Iwata is currently the artistic director of the Buryat National Academic House of Ballet. “Tamashii” was created using recordings of Kodo music and for this performance he invited us to come and play the music live. Our rehearsals have begun and I am really looking forward to seeing how this work evolves with the addition of our live music!


Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship

Sep. 3 (Thu), 2015 Buryat State National Theatre of Song and Dance “Baikal,” Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russia



“Ogi Minato Matsuri” by Kosuke Urushikubo

Hello to all our supporters! It’s been a while since I posted on the Kodo Blog.

How are you all doing?
On Sado at night we can now hear crickets chirping as the season changes from summer to autumn. At the end of summer, we always enjoy taking part in our local town’s port festival, “Ogi Minato Matsuri.”

Photo: Kosuke Urushikubo

Ogi Minato Matsuri is a festival in Ogi Town, where Kodo is based, that features lion dances, portable shrines (mikoshi), folk songs and dances, festival drumming, Sado Onikenbai (demon sword dance), samba and more, all going from door to door throughout the town.

Photo: Masayuki Sakamoto
Kodo pulls a drum cart around the town and goes from house to house playing taiko to show our appreciation to everyone in the town for their day-to-day support.

Photo: Erika Ueda

During this festival, you can see a side of Kodo that you don’t see when we perform on stage at theaters as we interact with all the locals. Next year, Ogi Minato Matsuri will take place straight after Earth Celebration for two days. Please come along!


“Official Facebook Page for Kodo Performances in Switzerland” by Mio Teycheney-Takashiro

Jan.–Mar. 2016 “Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” Europe Tour

Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery

We will present “Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” Europe Tour from January through March next year. During this tour, we will return to Switzerland for the first time in four years. Here is the official Facebook page for our performances there:

Kodo Switzerland Facebook Page

We will perform in Lucerne and Montreux on this tour, giving a total of four performances. If you live in Switzerland or plan to visit, we look forward to seeing you there!

Mio Teycheney-Takashiro (Foreign Concert Production Manager)


“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” Europe Tour

Performance Schedule

Thank You for Joining Us for Earth Celebration 2015!

Earth Celebration 2015

What a wonderful celebration! Thank you very much to everyone who came along and cheered us on! We really appreciate your support!

Earth Celebration 2016 will take place from Aug. 26 (Fri) through 28 (Sun). EC will be directly followed by local festival Ogi Minato Matsuri on Aug. 29–30. Next year, while there will not be any Shiroyama Concerts, the festival will focus on letting everyone enjoy the various wonders of Ogi and Sado Island together. Details will be announced in May 2016. See you all next summer on Sado Island!


▼Shots from Behind the Scenes at Shiroyama Park and of Okuri Daiko (Farewell Taiko)(From Kodo’s Japanese Facebook page)
※Please stay tuned for stage photos from the 2015 Shiroyama Concerts.

Photo: Erika Ueda
Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda
Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda
Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda
Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda
Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda
Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda




Kodo on Facebook

Please stay tuned for stage photos from the 2015 Shiroyama Concerts.

“Murals by Seitaro Kuroda” by Kenta Nakagome

Seitaro Kuroda is coming back to Sado for the first time in twenty-something years… I wonder what it will be like when he sees his murals here again…
If you’re coming to EC, please have a look around Ogi for his pictures here and there. Here’s a map to help you find them!


Seitaro Kuroda Mural Map (PDF Download)

▼Above: Mural in 1988 on completion. Below: Same mural today

▼Above: Mural in 1988 on completion. Below: Same mural today

▼House-wall mural as seen today


[EC 2015] Seitaro Kuroda × Tatsuya Nakamura ×Kenta Nakagome Live Painting Performance “Flame”
This is an EC Special Fringe performance, so admission is free! See you there!




“Kodo Night!” by Shingo Kawamura

Join Us Next Week for Earth Celebration!

Photo: Shingo KawamuraPhoto: Shingo KawamuraPhoto: Shingo Kawamura

“Kodo Night” is the name of the first Shiroyama Concert this year, directed by Tsuyoshi Maeda. With powerful Kodo classics and exciting new pieces, it’s going to be an action-packed programme!




“An Invitation to ‘Yukiai–Kiyohime'” by Chieko Kojima

Earth Celebration 2015 EC Theatre

Chieko Kojima’s “Yukiai–Kiyohime”

On August 23, the third day of EC 2015, I cordially invite you to join me for EC Theatre event, “Yukiai–Kiyohime.”  This year we published a Kiyohime photobook and I am also working on a DVD. I look forward to sharing the world of Kiyohime with more people around the world.

First, allow me to introduce the original cast members: Shunsuke Kimura (fue [flute], shamisen [Japanese banjo]), Shingo Ikegami (koto [harp]), Hiromi Nishida (violin), and Ayuko Ikeda (percussion).


At EC, we will have a special cast that features Park Soon-A playing a Korean harp, the gayaguem. I look forward to portraying Kiyohime in another realm of sound.

But wait, there’s more! On Day 2, there will be an Iwami Kagura performance on the Fringe Stage and one of the members, Taizo Kobayashi, will join me for EC Theatre to perform a serpent dance. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have this cast together. Don’t miss it!


The other day I visited Mr. Kobayashi at his workshop. We had a meeting about EC Theatre and rehearsed together. Our preparation is going really well!

Photo: Maiko Miyagawa

I will perform my signature piece, Hana Hachijo, at the climax of the production.
I hope you will come along to see my unique portrayal of Kiyohime from the Tales of Dojoji.


Kiyohime Synopsis

In the springtime
A young girl played in the fields all day long
Chasing after flowers and frolicking butterflies with a pure heart Her name was Kiyohime
One day, a handsome traveling monk appeared before Kiyohime
She fell in love with him at first sight
It was in the early days of summer when dew sparkled on the fresh foliage
Before long, the morning came for the monk to leave
They promised each other that they would meet again
As Kiyohime awaited his return, her arduous yearning for the monk intensified with every day
The promised day of their reunion came and went
But the monk never appeared
Kiyohime learned that he had avoided her by taking another route
Kiyohime chased after the monk, but he escaped Kiyohime gained on him, in close pursuit
Yet the monk drove her away and vanished
Before she knew it, her sorrowful heart had started to smoulder A deep, fiery crimson red
It scattered her love, flowers, and tears
As she chased the monk, Kiyohime turned into a snake And drove the monk into a temple bell
Cornering him at last
Now a fire-breathing snake, Kiyohime coiled herself around the temple bell Enveloping it in bright, red flames along with her
Kiyohime laid her purified soul down on a pillow of snow And off it drifted
To another realm



Also, during EC please come along to see the “Kiyohime on Sado Island” Chieko Kojima × Maiko Miyagawa Photo Exhibiton. It will be held at Hiyoriyama, a cozy cafe on the main shopping street in Ogi. We hope you will enjoy this portrayal of Kiyohime‘s journey through the changing seasons on Sado Island.
Details: http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/en/event/others/kiyohime/

Chieko Kojima “Yukiai–Kiyohime”

“Kodo’s Festive Summer Season” by Tomohiro Mitome

Aug. 1, 2015

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.

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



Since the end of the rainy season, it has been such a boiling hot summer. The news in Japan is full of reports of extremely hot days, heatstroke, and severe downpours in the Kyushu area, so I am concerned about our supporters in these areas. Although the temperature sometimes goes beyond 30°C here on Sado, it is much more comfortable here in the morning and evening than in urban areas thanks to the cooling sea around us. On many days we can get by just with an electric fan. During this relentless heat wave, on certain days I go and teach at the Kodo Apprentice Centre and they do not have any air conditioning there. We always try to stay well-hydrated and have a break at times to prevent heat exhaustion. I know it was not this hot in the past, so nowadays I pay more attention than ever before to minding our physical condition.

So, now August has begun. For Kodo, that means it is summer festival time in our neighborhood on Sado Island: namely Earth Celebration and Ogi Minato Matsuri.


During Earth Celebration, there are so many different unique events that you can only experience for these three days each year. Some events are at sea, some are in the mountains, and of course the main concerts at night are in Shiroyama Park. During the daytime, there are fringe events, a variety of workshops, and the streets of rural Ogi are unusually lively!


This year marks a turning point for Earth Celebration, which has centered around the Shiroyama Concerts to date. The festival will take a new direction from next year, so please come over to Sado Island to enjoy this style with us one last time.

My dear fellow Sado Islanders, please join us in Ogi for Earth Celebration. It’s a truly unique atmosphere where time lapses in a relaxing yet exciting way.

If you cannot make it to Earth Celebration, but you would like to enjoy some festivities this summer on Sado, I can also recommend our local festival, Ogi Minato Matsuri!


On August 29, the Kodo performers and staff members take part in the festival as a group who plays “Ogi Matsuri Daiko.” We parade through the streets of Ogi Town, playing taiko door-to-door to help liven up the festival atmosphere. In the evening, there is a fireworks display that includes two enormous fireworks, bigger than you’ll see in a city display. It is well worth the trip to see the fireworks and experience the vibrations that echo through your body when the biggest ones go off.

After Ogi Minato Matsuri concludes, autumn always arrives on Sado.

In the Silver Week holiday period in September, the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Autumn” will take place at Shukunegi Community Hall. This series of concerts offers a great opportunity to attend a Kodo performance on Sado, where we are based. The concerts are held at Shukunegi Community Hall, a special venue that Kodo has been connected to since the beginning of our group’s history. I believe these concerts are a way we can help revitalize our local community, alongside the locals of Shukunegi.



One of the best things about our performances at Shukunegi Community Hall is the intimate venue, which allows you to feel our performance at a much closer range than you would in one of our usual concert halls.


We look forward to welcoming you all to the Ogi area for the upcoming summer festivals and our Special Performances in autumn.


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