鼓童ブログ Kodo Blog

“From ‘Amaterasu’ to ‘Mystery’: Part 2″ by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

From “Amaterasu” to “Mystery”: Part 2

Article by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

Behind the Scenes of “Mystery”


Jamai — the “Serpent Dance” — is derived from Orochi, known as “the Great Serpent Dance” from Iwami Kagura (Iwami: a region, the west part of Shimane Prefecture/ Kagura: dance and music for the kami, or deities).The Kodo cast members of Jamai absorbed the skill and spirit of this traditional folk dance by learning from local performers while in Shimane as artists in residence. Iwami is the name of this area in the western part of Shimane Prefecture. Iwami is famous for its historical site, Iwami Ginzan, the largest silver mine in Japan, a world heritage site. Kagura was originally performed to summon kami (deities) during traditional rituals of worship in shrines and other sacred places. Japanese traditional music, dance and festival culture has its roots in these ancient rituals. Taiko, or the Japanese traditional drum, was once regarded as a sacred instrument because of its magical power to conjure up the deities for tasks such as bringing rain to a region in need.

The Kodo cast members of Jamai absorbed the skill and spirit of this traditional folk dance by learning from local performers while in Shimane as artists in residence.

The Kodo cast members of Jamai absorbed the skill and spirit of this traditional folk dance by learning from local performers while in Shimane as artists in residence.

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“Sado Island Taiko Centre (Tatakokan) in Spring” by Masami Miyazaki

At the Sado Island Taiko Centre (Tatakokan) in spring the sounds of energetic taiko echo out every day. Today members of “Aoba-kai,” a physical rehabilitation group on Sado Island, visited us at the Centre.

I was glad to see them play taiko and have fun, saying with pleasure that “We thought we wouldn’t be able to play taiko with our bent backs, but we were able to play so much!” Seeing that really made an impression on me.

Photo: Masami Miyazaki

So, please come to the Takokokan to play taiko, all of you. Taiko gives you a lot of energy!

“Trip to Argentina” by Yoshikazu Fujimoto

Photo: Yoshikazu Fujimoto

At our performance venue Paseo La Plaza, Buenos Aires.
(With Yoko at the theater entrance)

Argentina is the furtherest country from Japan. The time there is the total opposite from day & night in Japan. There are many Japanese-Argentinean people due to its history of immigrants from Japan, and they uphold Japanese culture there with great care. We met people who love Japanese taiko, who make taiko by hand, who formed taiko groups and, of course, who play taiko. They all started playing taiko without any teachers. I was very impressed by their attitude towards taiko.

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Kodo Online Store: Kodo Tenugui “Typhoon Ikka” in Navy Blue!

A tenugui is a traditional, useful cotton Japanese towel, which can be used as a bandana, scarf, and even a table or wall decoration. Following our former, popular red version, we now have Kodo tenugui “Typhoon Ikka” in navy blue.


Kodo Tenugui “Typhoon Ikka” in navy blue

Kodo Online Store (Japanese)

For orders in English, please contact the Kodo Online Store by email. Email: store.eng@kodo.or.jp
Kodo Online Store http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/

“Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island” by Shingo Kawamura

T’is the season again for “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island”!


From April 27 to May 9, join us for the spring series of performances at Shukunegi Community Hall on the Ogi Peninsula, Sado Island. It’s during “Golden Week” (a week filled with public holidays in Japan), so it’s a good time for people living in Japan to visit us on Sado!

These performances are centered around Kodo’s Distinguished Members, joined by junior members and apprentices, who hope to be the future of Kodo. Please come and enjoy their collaboration!

Photo: Shingo Kawamura

Of course, this popular guy is also waiting for you!

Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2014: Spring

“Come to See Kodo in Asakusa!” by Nobuyuki Nishimura

Come to see Kodo in Asakusa!

Photos: Takashi Okamoto, Taro Nishita and Naomi Iseki



There are always many visitors at Asakusa Engei Hall and at Kaminarimon entrance gate.

Asakusa is in a part of Tokyo called “shitamachi,” which is the traditional shopping, entertainment and residential district of Tokyo. It is an area where the atmosphere of the past decades of Tokyo is still alive and well. We had performances at Asakusa Public Hall last year and we have been given the chance to perform here again this year, too!

A year has passed since I personally became based in Asakusa. I was lucky enough to help carry a mikoshi (portable shrine) during Asakusa’s famous festival, “Sanja Matsuri.” People in Asakusa think about this festival all year long and the whole town sparkles when the time for the festival itself draws near.

(左)浅草観光連盟会長 冨士さん。(右)観光連盟副会長の川上さんのお店の前で、川上さんとメンバー、西村。(2013年)

Left: Mr. Fuji, President of Asakusa Tourism Association
Right: Vice President Mr. Kawakami with some Kodo members and I in front of his shop (2013)


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“From ‘Amaterasu’ to ‘Mystery’: Part 1″ by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

From “Amaterasu” to “Mystery”: Part 1

Article by journalist Sachiko Tamashige

Guided by the Mysterious Power of the Serpent




Aside from the dim outline of a mountain, the stage is shrouded in darkness. Look closely, and you may catch a glimpse of something undulating in the distance, then out of the black they appear: three giant snakes, entangled with each other. As they gradually reveal themselves, it becomes clear that a spectacular and ominous world awaits. Three snakes wriggle free from each other, their scales glinting in the dim light. The sound of the taiko takes on the cadence of a heartbeat as an eerie melody is played on a Nohkan, the bamboo flute used in Noh and Kabuki theater. Your invitation into a mysterious realm is complete. The snakes return to the darkness while the lights of lanterns float in the air like giant fireflies. Like an ancient lullaby, voices arise, transporting you to forgotten childhood memories.

Where exactly are we? Each of you might ask yourself this question in the darkness. Kodo’s unique sound and spectacle have the ability to transcend the reality around you.



In the autumn of 2013 — the year of the serpent — the brand new production, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” was revealed with this mesmerizing opening scene. Directed by Tamasaburo Bando and premiering on Sado Island, Kodo’s home and base of operations, Mystery consists of 18 scenes, including ones inspired by traditional folk dances such as Jamai, Namahage and Shishimai, and contains scenes newly created by members of Kodo such as Yomichi and Yuyami, along with pieces from the classic Kodo repertoire.

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Kodo “Mystery” Tour T-shirts in New Spring Colors!

鼓童Tシャツ 神秘〜春の新色

We are happy to announce our new Kodo Mystery tour t-shirts in spring colors. They are made of tri-blend fabric and available in four colors: vintage heather blue, purple, pink and red. The triangular uroko design and Kodo calligraphy (the same as seen on the lanterns we use on stage) are printed in white.



Kodo “Mystery” T-shirts in blue, purple, pink and red

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


Kodo Online Store

“Takada Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing Event” by Shingo Kawamura

On April 19 (Sat), Kodo performed at the “Takada Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing Event” at Takada Castle, which is renowned as one of “Japan’s Top 3 Evening Cherry Blossom Spots.”

Photo: Tomohiro Mitome

We worried about the weather as it was raining there the day before the performance. But luckily a beautiful blue sky welcomed us all on the performance day.

Photo: Tomohiro Mitome

We gave two performances and the second one started at 18:00. It was chilly at night, but many people came to see our performance! We were very glad to see everyone there.

Photo: Tomohiro Mitome

The performance was a week after the cherry blossom season peak, so the cherry blossom petals had started to fall from the trees… but everyone got to see some surprise petals on the Kodo stage!

Photo: Tomohiro Mitome

It’s not just confetti, it’s a special cherry blossom version! At these performances, beautiful, real cherry blossom petals flew out from Chieko’s fan.

Thank you everyone that came along!

“New Apprentices Start Their First Year at the Kodo Apprentice Centre” by Michiko Chida

The entrance ceremony for the Year 33 (2014-2015) class of Kodo Apprentices was held on April 6 and now one week has passed. They are probably so nervous about beginning this new lifestyle, but all of the 12 new apprentices have been doing well. I will introduce their week of firsts with some pictures.

Photo: Michiko Chida

Dance lesson with Chieko Kojima

Photo: Michiko ChidaPhoto: Michiko Chida

Ranjo-san’s shinobue (bamboo flute) making workshop

Photo: Michiko Chida

Taiko lesson with Tomohiro Mitome

(They do not use bachi (drumsticks) in their first lesson: they use Japanese fans and towels.)

Photo: Michiko Chida

Rice field work (Selecting rice seeds)

Photo: Michiko Chida

Standing by the rice fields and singing a song facing out to sea

Photo: Michiko Chida

Kiyoko Oi teaches all the new apprentices how to make chopsticks from one shared bamboo stick

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