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“EC Theatre ‘Wadaiko Theatre Fujimotomida 2015’ Rehearsals on Sado” by Minako Goto

Kazuaki Tomida has arrived on Sado to begin rehearsing for his performance with Yoshikazu Fujimoto at EC Theatre next month.


Upon his arrival, he began creating some items to use to decorate the theater. After discussing what elements to include, Yoshikazu Fujimoto first drew a picture and Tomida then wrote the text. The completed curtain will greet their audience on the day of the performance.


“Fujimotomida” made its debut performance last year at Tiara Koto in Tokyo. During their practice, it’s hard for me to tell where their discussion time ends and their performance practise begins…

Their earnestness is impenetrable as they rehearse. Their rehearsals are extremely serious.

Photo: Minako Goto

Mr. Tomida says that he has chosen his favorite “Yoshikazu pieces” for this performance. With one month to the performance date, the artists are holding on to every discovery they make.

Follow Kazuaki Tomida’s blog here for more about this rehearsal: (in Japanese)


Tickets are on sale now!

If advanced tickets sell out, there will be no tickets available on the day of the performance, so don’t delay! Reserve your seat today!

Details: http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/en/event/ectheatre/fujimoto/



“San Jose Obon Festival” by Yui Kawamoto

San Jose Obon Festival

Greetings from San Jose, California!
Yoko Fujimoto and I attended one of the nation’s largest obon festivals this weekend. The obon culture in the United States is a little different, as many take place on various weekends and different locations throughout early summer.
Let me tell you a little about the one that we attended: San Jose Obon.

Obon: an annual Buddhist event to commemorate one's ancestors


San Jose Obon is famous for hosting great taiko performances by Californian collegiate groups and San Jose Taiko!
San Jose Taiko was established before Kodo was founded, and our groups have been great friends since the very beginning. They have supported Kodo in many ways over the years, including the storage of some of our touring equipment in their studio!

Photo: Yui KawamotoPhoto: Yui Kawamoto

Taiko performances, food, and games are enjoyed by friends and family throughout the entire Obon weekend.
At the end of each night many people gather for…..

Obon dancing!


Here at San Jose Obon, over 1,000 people gather and dance to live music played by the Chidori Band and San Jose Taiko.
One of the dance pieces is called Ei Ja Nai Ka.
The taiko music was composed by PJ Hirabayashi from San Jose Taiko and the melody and lyrics that were written by Kodo’s Yoko Fujimoto.
This is a popular dance piece that has been enjoyed for many years, mainly by the Northern Californian communities, and it was truly wonderful to hear Yoko’s voice accompanying it live this year!
This piece will actually make its debut at a further 18 new obon festivals this summer, so if you are in the United States this summer, make sure to check out an obon festival near you! You might even hear Yoko’s vocals…


Photo: Yui Kawamoto

“Earth Celebration 2015 T-shirts” by Kodo Online Store


The “Earth Celebration 2015” T-shirts are now in stock! This year we have used the Sado-inspired visual from the cover of the EC info booklet and made t-shirts in 8 different colors! These t-shirts are currently available from the Kodo Online Store and at the Sado Island Taiko Centre. Of course, you can also purchase them at EC in August (if stocks last)!
We only have a limited number of each size and color, so order soon to avoid disappointment!

“Earth Celebration 2015” T-shirts
http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/170.html (Japanese store webpage)

KOLSE_logoFor orders in English, please contact the Kodo Online Store by email: store.eng@kodo.or.jp

Orders can be shipped to 120 countries around the world. 

Kodo Online Store: Yuichiro Funabashi in New Release DVD & Blu-ray “Eternity”

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

Behind the Scenes, Episode 1

The third piece on the “Eternity” programme is called Gosui and it features Yuichiro Funabashi center stage playing an instrument that Kodo received from Suar Agung, the past Earth Celebration guest artist group from Indonesia who will return to the EC stage this year. Before the rehearsals began for “Eternity,” this instrument was on display in the entrance to the main building at Kodo Village… and the composition evolved from the idea of playing it to see what sound it would create.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

Recorded: Live at Bunkyo Civic Hall, Tokyo, Japan, on December 21 & 22, 2014.

Price: Blu-ray: 6,000 yen (tax inc.) / DVD: 5,000 yen (tax inc.)



Blu-ray http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_78.html

DVD http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_79.html

Kodo Discography http://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/index_en.html


kodo2Kodo Online Store






“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity” Japan Tour (June–July, Sep.–Oct.)

[June–July] Kanagawa, Saitama, Gunma, Chiba, Osaka, Nagano, Kyoto, Ehime, Hiroshima
[Sep. Oct.] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kagoshima

“Earth Celebration: New Beginnings on the Horizon” by Tomohiro Mitome

July 1, 2015

Earth Celebration: New Beginnings on the Horizon

Hello everyone. I hope that you are well.

This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo. The rainy season began around June 19 in Niigata Prefecture, but it did not rain in Sado until the end of June. Farmers seem to be quite worried about the lack of rain for their crops.

As announced on June 10, there are new changes on the horzion for our annual festival Earth Celebration, which began in 1988. Next year, the festival will change shape and will not be centered around the usual Shiroyama Concerts.

Photo: Buntaro Tanaka

The idea of Earth Celebration originates from the Kodo Village Vision introduced by the first leader of Kodo, the late Toshio Kawauchi (a.k.a. Hancho). He depicted the idea of inviting artists to Sado Island whom Kodo had met while traveling around the world and sending out new ideas and music from Sado together. Ever since EC began, we have used the experience and knowledge we gained by attending festivals including Toga Festival (Toyama, Japan), Sado Music Festival (Sado, Japan) and Edinburgh Festival (UK), to help Earth Celebration to evolve into its current form, incorporating new elements every year.

Earth Celebration usually takes place annually in August, but in the past it was once held in May, and once it was even held in a tent theater for about one month. Earth Celebration has continued as an outdoor event in different forms for the past 28 years.

Photo: Masakazu Sakomizu

Earth Celebration 1988 (Photo: Masakazu Sakomizu)

If I look back on my own Earth Celebration (EC) experiences, well, I came over to Sado for the first time for the first EC in 1988. I attended the Kodo Village Opening Concert, Shiroyama Concerts, and a taiko class held during the daytime where I was able to learn taiko directly from Kodo’s stage performers. When I stop and remember that experience, I can now see it was an event that became a turning point for me, which led me to becoming a member of Kodo.


Earth Celebration 1989

In 1989, I took part in EC as a Kodo apprentice. A typhoon hit Sado on the last day, and the concert venue was the Ogi Town Gymnasium, but it got converted into an evacuation center due to the storm… I recall that it was so grueling…


Earth Celebration 1990

I performed as a Kodo junior member at EC 1990. It rained so heavily on the first day that we had to change the concert venue to the Ogi Town Gymnasium. From early in the morning, we were rushing around carrying all of the musical instruments, lighting and sound equipment, and so on, to the Gym. We had no time to rest and hectically rushed about in the mud to prepare and then launched straight into our performance. It is so true that power comes from necessity.

From the first EC in 1988 until 2012, the Kodo performers labored together with the staff members to set up the stage and dismantle it after the festival. We built the festival facilities from scratch, performed for three days, said thanks and goodbye to our guests as they boarded the ferry and left the island by playing farewell taiko, and then packed up all the event venues. The three-day clean up following the festival was something we considered as a part of EC. It was physically demanding, but I thought it was all worth it to hold this event together with people of Sado, volunteers and part-time staff members. We all worked very hard and had a great, exhausting time together, presenting OUR festival as a team.


On stage with Fanfare Ciocarlia from Romania at EC 2004

Every year EC changes for the better with new innovations, ideas, and encounters, based on our experience from the previous year and also from years before. We have introduced new collaborations and guest artists, new workshops, various EC Theatre and Fringe Performances, guerilla live performances at Kisaki Shrine early in the morning, and so on. We always try to improve EC each time, so everyone can enjoy it more and more each year.

Looking ahead to the 30th anniversary of EC in two years, we have decided that now is the time to review the form of our festival, and think about how we can make EC better for Sado Island, Kodo, and everyone who comes along, so we can all continue to enjoy EC together.

Photo: Maiko MiyagawaPhoto: Satoko Maeda

EC is one of very few events where you have the opportunity to enjoy an outdoor Kodo performance on Sado Island, where we are based, but we have decided that the time has come to take a step back and rethink the format of EC. So we will start by not centering the festival around the big concerts at Shiroyama Park next year.

This year for our Shiroyama Concerts, we are pleased to welcome a legendary former Kodo member and well-respected performer, Leonard Eto, back to Sado and EC as a guest artist and director. Also, we welcome back Suar Agung from Indonesia. Our past collaborations with them at EC have influenced Kodo pieces in many ways. We are sure the Ogi area will have a multinational, exotic atmosphere for three days during EC. We are now preparing for the events, concerts, workshops, and an array of optional activities to explore Sado Island.


This year, may I suggest you make your trip to Sado via the new Hokuriku Shinkansen? It is a new bullet train service that just started running in March.

The new fast car ferry “Akane” also started operating this April between Ogi and Naoetsu. Please note that all seats on the Akane ferry are allocated chairs and reservations are required, unlike the car ferries to Ogi until last year. So, if all the seats are full, you cannot board. We recommend you book your seats on the ferry as soon as possible.


We look forward to welcoming many of you to Earth Celebration 2015, from abroad, around Japan, and of course, from around Sado Island.


“‘Yamazu Megurumo’ Concert” by Yoko Fujimoto

Yoko Fujimoto “Yamazu Meguromo” Concert
At Craft Kowa, Tokyo (June 10, 2015)

Wakako Sato, the presenter of this concert, uses traditional picture mounting skills in ways that suit our modern way of life and hopes to hand these skills down to future generations. Even though our fields of works are different, she shares the same passion for creation that the Kodo group has pumping through its veins. Wakako was my classmate in high school. Surrounded by the energy of our friendship and her works, at this concert I sang in such a relaxed, feel-good way, while plucking away at a makoto harp*, which I had only just been introduced to for the very first time!

*Makoto harp: A new instrument created by Rieko Renuma after the 3.11 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake & Tsunami.


Wakako Sato works closely with her neighbors and community to organize events that bind the city and country through food. Her network is similar to the concept we had when we founded Kodo Village on Sado Island.

Since spring I have been blessed with a number of new encounters, including the makoto harp, and the path of my “journey with song” has become clearer all of a sudden. I will use songs to boost people’s immunity, as well as my own.

Does that make you laugh? Well, I mean it!

That’s exactly what I want to do!


With the makoto harp

In other words, I am focusing on the love involved in singing and music. For example, when you play an instrument or sing, you express an array of things. If the audience tells you they were moved, soothed, encouraged, or so on, well if that makes you happy as an artist, you could say that you perform to move and energize others, as your purpose. Artists and their audiences give and receive, love and receive love, interact and share all kinds of emotions and experiences, good and bad. We can all choose to think of life and all its encounters as interesting or challenging, instead of rough or tough. We can cry together and laugh together.

If you share your emotions and let people and music in, your heart and mind can feel that connection to others and receive great power. As we are uplifted emotionally, our physical strength, and even our immunity and resilience, also increase. By singing, drumming, dancing, and sharing time together, we can create power within us, which we can then draw on in times of need. This power will help us to overcome various difficulties and all kinds of infections, both now and in the future. That’s a wonderful thing to do, don’t you think? I believe that music and communication can have this effect and I will continue working and singing in the hopes of sharing this effect with many people.

I want to use my power as an artist to create a network of love and harmony that strengthens people from within. I’ll continue my travels with an enthusiastic smile on my face, singing as I go… here, there and everywhere. I’ll do my very best!


Artworks created by Wakako Sato


TV Program “Journeys in Japan” On Demand

June 23, 2015

TV Program “Journeys in Japan” Featuring Kodo Apprentice Centre Available On Demand

提供:Journeys in Japan提供:Journeys in Japan

“Journeys in Japan” is an English-language TV program that features foreign reporters traveling through Japan, showing the nation through their eyes. The latest episode is a journey to Sado Island and features demon drumming (onidaiko) as well as a visit to the Kodo Apprentice Centre. The report includes the apprentices playing taiko and a look at their lifestyle at the Centre and on Sado. This program was broadcast in 130 countries and is currently available for viewing worldwide online for a limited time.

Program Name: Journeys in Japan

View On Demand via NHK World Website (available until mid-July 2015)

Contemporary dancer Alessandra Lupi visits Sado Island to study the powerful Onidaiko demon dance. The traditional performing art is offered to the gods to pray for peace and abundant harvests. Alessandra also experiences the traditional lifestyle of the region. She stays in a charming inn converted from an old home, tries rice farming and meets apprentices of Kodo, the renowned drumming ensemble. During her journey, she comes to feel how closely the Onidaiko performing art is connected to the local way of life. On the last day of her journey, Alessandra is bestowed with an honor that is most unexpected…

Photo: Erika Ueda

Kodo apprenctices with contemporary dancer Alessandra Lupi at the Kodo Apprentice Centre, Kakinoura, Sado Island.

“Beating the Drums, Playing the Drums” by Koki Miura

June 21, 2015

We have just finished our “DADAN 2015” concert series in Tokyo and now we are straight back into our “Eternity” tour around Japan.

photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

“DADAN” is an explosive, pulsating, non-stop hard-hitting performance. “Eternity” is performed with control and fine attention to detail. These two performances are so different, and by performing both of them back to back, we can feel just how far our range of expression is broadening with time.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Tamasaburo Bando, our artistic director, said he wanted this production to express the workings of nature. Personally, I think that nature is inherently perfect and beautiful and, as a consequence, the “Eternity” performance is an extraordinarily beautiful production.


Photo: Takashi Okamoto

I want our audiences to enjoy just being in the same space as our performance. I want it to make them feel good. Please come along and experience the natural realm we create in “Eternity.”






“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity” Japan Tour (June–July, Sep.–Oct.)

[June–July] Kanagawa, Saitama, Gunma, Chiba, Osaka, Nagano, Kyoto, Ehime, Hiroshima
[Sep. Oct.] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kagoshima

“School Workshop Performances in Matsumoto” by Ryosuke Inada

June 22, 2015

Photo: Takuro Susaki

Our School Workshop Performances in Matsumoto, Nagano, are coming to an end soon. Every day we meet a lot of children at each school we visit. I really treasure all of the encounters we have with the school kids every day.


My aim is to give a performance each time that makes all the kids, both the bubbly ones and shy ones alike, want to give us all a handshake or high five as they leave the performance. I want our visit to make them want to say, “See you again!” to us as we part ways.

I have realised that to make this happen, it is not just my performance that is important, which of course has to be good. I have to also mind the way I act in front of them and the way I talk to them in between each piece. They notice everything.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

Children are very open and they give us a lot of power and energy. I think it is important for me to stand before them with openness and honesty. I want to return their energy with the sound and power of my own performance.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


School Workshop Performances

“Hello Kodo” Small Ensemble Performance

July 20 (Mon), 2015 Kashiwazaki City Performing Arts Center Art Forêt, Kashiwazaki, Niigata


“School Workshop Performances in Nagano” by Masaru Tsuji

June 20, 2015

We are currently in Matsumoto, Nagano, using taiko to facilitate exchange with school children. Our visits are mainly to elementary schools, as well as some junior high schools, schools for children with special needs, and schools for children with visual impairments.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Everyday we are surrounded by kids, and they are all so sweet.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

I don’t know what kind of impact our visit and taiko playing has on each child. I imagine that each and every one of them has their own unique response to us. I hope that our visit will make them feel something new, and maybe that will have an influence on them in the future in some way.


The world is filled with wonderful things that I hope these kids will experience throughout their lives. When I visit each school, I hope our visit and interaction with them is one of many good experiences for them.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

We have two days to go of School Performances in Matsumoto. It has been great here.

I’ll do my best for the remaining performances and I’m looking forward to next time already!


School Workshop Performances

“Hello Kodo” Small Ensemble Performance

July 20 (Mon), 2015 Kashiwazaki City Performing Arts Center Art Forêt, Kashiwazaki, Niigata


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