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“Launching Ceremony for New Fast Car Ferry ‘Akane'” by Tetsumi Hanaoka

Apr. 21, 2015

Launching Ceremony for New Fast Car Ferry ‘Akane’

Photo: Tetsumi HanaokaPhoto: Tetsumi Hanaoka

The new fast car ferry, “Akane,” has just been launched between Naoetsu and Ogi on Sado Island. Kodo’s Motofumi Yamaguchi, Tomohiro Mitome, Mariko Omi, and Rai Tateishi performed at its launching ceremony. I went along to help out behind the scenes.


A large crowd gathered to see Kodo perform in the ferry terminal building, and outside there was a range of stalls and demon drumming performances. Misato and Misaki, the Community Development Course trainees, were helping the Ogi locals serve up delicious soup.


The “Akane” is a fast car ferry service that has shaved one hour from the usual travel time between Naoetsu and Ogi. It also has increased the number of services on this route, so it has made access to Sado both faster and easier. I hope you’ll use this service to come to Sado Island!


“My Kodo Workshop Series at Kyowakan” by Eiichi Saito

My Kodo Workshop Series at Taiko no Sato Kyowakan: Elementary & Intermediate Courses

Photo: Eiichi Saito
In October 2014, I started teaching an eight-lesson workshop series at Taiko-no Sato Kyowakan in Tokyo and now there’s only one lesson to go! The two courses are working hard on different pieces: the Elementary Course is practicing Toki no Koe and the Intermediate Course is playing Atatte Kudakero. Each lesson lasts just 90 minutes, but I hear that the participants are renting studio space to practice on their own and taking other classes, too. I am constantly astounded by how passionate they are about playing taiko!

On May 31 at Kyowakan’s annual recital, “Kyowasai,” the participants will perform to demonstrate what they have learned during the course. But the emphasis is not on “showing” people: the focus is on the participants enjoying playing taiko. They are all practicing hard together in hopes that the audience will feel like they are drumming along with them as they hear the pieces played live.

Kodo Workshop Series at Taiko no Sato Kyowakan: Elementary & Intermediate Courses



“Collaboration with Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra” by Tetsumi Hanaoka

Apr. 8, 2015

Collaboration with Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra

I’m in Osaka with the rest of the Kodo cast and crew for our collaboration with the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra. We are going to perform Maki Ishii’s Mono-Prism under their conductor, Michiyoshi Inoue. It has been 6 years since Kodo last performed Mono-Prism, which was in Rome, Italy, and 22 years since Kodo last performed it in Osaka. It will be my very first time.

Photo: Taro Nishita

From Kodo’s last Mono-Prism performance in Japan, in Tokyo (2008)

As I’m sure many of you know, composer Maki Ishii’s piece Mono-Prism has a subtitle “for Japanese drums and orchestra,” and he based the taiko piece (now a “Kodo classic”) Monochrome on this taiko & orchestra piece.

Maki Ishii also composed Dyu-Ha and ballet suite Kaguyahime, which Kodo has performed countless times. Mono-Prism is a crucial part of Kodo’s history: it was debuted by Kodo’s antecedent group Ondezoka, then performed at Kodo’s own debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981 with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.

On the first day of rehearsals for this year’s performance, the conductor Michiyoshi Inoue met with Kodo first, to check through the piece together.

He said things like, “This part is sharp, make it cut like a Japanese sword,” and “That part is really menacing!,” and gave us all kinds of advice.

These images might seem obscure, but Mr. Inoue’s instructions were really easy for us to grasp and when we were rehearsing, we could see that his directions were really accurate for the feel of the piece. It felt like he enjoyed following the score and feeling the unique schrony of our taiko, which clashed and harmonized with the orchestra.

Photo: Ryoko Iwamoto

On the second day of rehearsals, we practiced Mono-Prism with the orchestra.

Personally, I felt that the orchestra has its own unique physical synchrony and timing, just like taiko does. By no means are they just playing what is written on the score and simply progressing through the piece. I was able to understand this firsthand by taking part in these rehearsals with them. It was a valuable experience for me to see if their synchrony and timing could harmonize with ours as we played taiko. It is a really difficult challenge. This collaboration has taught me so much already, although I haven’t performed this piece for an audience yet! Please come and see us perform this weekend.



Apr. 10 (Fri) & 11 (Sat), 2015 Collaboration with Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra at Festival Hall, Osaka City

Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra on Twitter


“All Loaded in for ‘Mono-Prism’!” by Tetsumi Hanaoka

Apr. 10, 2015


We’re all loaded in and set up on stage for Mono-Prism, and now we are getting ready for our rehearsal today.

Looking around the orchestra, I noticed something interesting…four wooden fish.


Apparently they normally use these in the orchestra and they call them “Temple Blocks,” not wooden fish!
We use wooden fish (mokugyo in Japanese) on the Kodo stage, but I had no idea that I’d ever see an orchestra playing them!


I also saw they had gongs called “Kin” and bin sasara in the percussion area. It made me feel happy to see Eastern instruments in an orchestra full of Western instruments.

Time to get ready for our performance! I’ll do my best!


Collaboration with Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra
Apr. 10 (Fri) & 11 (Sat), 2015 Festival Hall, Osaka City

Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra on Twitter (Japanese)


“Voice Camp in May” by Yoko Fujimoto

Voice Camp in May in Wachi, Kyoto


Recently, I had a very detailed meeting with Mr. Fumitaka Ideno from Wachi Daiko about the upcoming Voice Camp here in Wachi.

When I’m here and I feel the sunlight filter through the leafy green trees, hear the sound of the river flowing by, and look out over the mountains, I get excited thinking about everyone who will come along for the Voice Camp. I look to the sky and imagine their voices creating sparkling rainbows right across its wide canvas.

When you come for Voice Camp, let’s also go and sing at the nearby temple dedicated to Kannon. It’s a sacred place that looks down over the village, and I’m sure the location will add emotion and sparkle to our eyes and voices. It’s such a wonderful place, I can’t wait to take you all there.

Songs have a special way of opening people’s hearts. With our voices, we’ll create soft, stimulating whirlpools and let ourselves get swept away. I look forward to being moved with you all.
I am so grateful to everyone at Wachi Daiko for creating this opportunity for me. Thank you! I’ll do my best to make it a joy for everyone who comes along to take part.
My husband Yoshikazu Fujimoto, “Mr. O-daiko,” was born in Wachi. I’m so happy to have the chance to invite people to Wachi and share this wonderful place with others. I hope it brings joy to Wachi, too.

Yoko Fujimoto “Voice Camp in Wachi”


“EC 2015 Shiroyama Concert Rehearsals” by Kenta Nakagome

Earth Celebration 2015 Shiroyama Concert Rehearsals

Photo: Chie AkimotoPhoto: Chie Akimoto

In February, we had rehearsals at Kodo Village with Leonard Eto for Earth Celebration 2015. He was a member of Kodo from 1984–1992, but this was his first visit to Kodo Village since he left our group. Leo and our senior members Yoshikazu, Eiichi, Chieko and Motofumi, who had shared the stage for countless performances in the past, made a really feel-good mood in the rehearsal space and we all enjoyed creating sound together. I am excited to join them with my fellow new generation Kodo members to see what kind of sound and music will emerge from our rehearsal sessions between now and August.

Photo: Chie AkimotoPhoto: Chie Akimoto

We rehearsed with Leo for three days and nights, which reminded me how truly fun it is to create sound. We are going to work hard to make this festival an exciting highlight of the summer of ’15 on Sado Island.

Photo: Chie Akimoto

Kodo Website | EC 2015 Details http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20150821ec_en.html

EC 2015 Official Website (English) http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/index_en.html

EC 2015 Official Facebook Page (English) https://www.facebook.com/EarthCelebration

“Appearance at Opening Event for Joetsu Myoko Station” by Tomohiro Mitome

Appearance at Opening Event
for Joetsu Myoko Station on New Hokuriku Shinkansen Line

We were invited to perform at two opening events for Joetsu Myoko Station on New Hokuriku Shinkansen Line: a private celebration in Takada City on Mar. 14 and a public performance at Joetsu Myoko Station’s Kamakura Dome on Mar. 15.

Photo: Tomohiro Mitome

At the private celebration in Takada City on Mar. 14

At this brand new station, we were joined on stage by three brand new Kodo junior members! They must have felt the pressure of being assigned some of the main parts to perform, but I am sure that it was a memorable debut for them to perform for so many people.

Photo: Ryoko Iwamoto

At Joetsu Myoko Station Kamakura Dome on Mar. 15

In April, a new high-speed ferry called “Akane” will run between Naoetsu Port and Ogi Port on Sado. Access to southern Sado Island will become much easier and faster using the new bullet train line and fast car ferry. We hope you will come to see us for the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island” this spring, and “Earth Celebration” this summer.


Hina Matsuri Joshi-kai Concert” by Yoko Fujimoto

Hina Matsuri Joshi-kai (Doll’s Festival Ladies Get-Together) Concert

This spacious, beautiful cafe was the perfect place for my concert. I think it was a comfortable, peaceful and refreshing time for all of us there. Thank you very much to all of you who came along and everyone who helped prepare for the concert.

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa

The day before this dog cafe concert, the organizer Noriko had me over to stay at her home. We made lyric sheets together, admired her dolls on display, and celebrated the concert in advance by sampling the sweet sake that would be provided at the concert venue.

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa

I wore a new pink costume with flowers on it especially for the Doll’s Festival, to feel like a young girl again.

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa

I sang songs filled with flowers, from good old songs to little pieces by Beethoven.
I played the koto (harp) to accompany three of the songs. One of them was about my beloved dog, Kintoki, may he rest in peace.

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa
The audience sang along with me, following the lyric sheets we had prepared. Their kind, warm sound echoed throughout the venue.

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa
This time, I chose to perform pieces that I just learned or had just revisited anew, so I battled against my age and memory skills to prepare for the concert. But through this experience, I fell in love with popular songs like “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana” and “Hana wa Saku” and I would like to keep singing them from now on, too.

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa
Little Tora came the concert and listened my songs quietly. What a cutie! Thanks for coming. See you again!

Photo: Mizuho Hasegawa

This is Hideko, the owner of Deco’s Dog Cafe. She is looking forward to our next special event together. I am happy to hear that!

Next time, I’ll have a concert that boys can come along and enjoy, too.

Photos: Mizuho Hasegawa


“‘Mystery’ Performance in Montreal” by Ryoma Tsurumi

Mar. 7 (Sat) Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

The “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Mystery” North America Tour started in late January and we are currently in Canada. In North America, the climate differs from area to area, and so far Canada is the coldest of all, with temperatures plunging below minus 20 degrees. Sado is pretty cold, but here in Canada, this was my first time to experience such severe cold.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Even though it was a freezing outside, so many people came to see our performance in Montreal and the 3000-seat theater was a full house! We had such a great audience, so we felt wonderful and gave a really feel-good performance.

Photo: Sergei Bachlakov

“Mystery” performance in Vancouver(Photo: Sergei Bachlakov)




Eri Uchida appeared on “CP24 Evening Breaking News” on Toronto TV
[Articles about Mystery]
Irish Film Critic
True Tall Taiko Tales
Book View Cafe
Irish Film Critic
True Tall Taiko Tales
Book View Cafe
thestar.com (Performance in Toronto, Canada)
tokyo-flow (Eri Uchida Interview)
Quebec Spot


“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Mystery” North America Tour

“Ebisu Daikoku Live” by Yosuke Oda

Mar. 8 “Ebisu Daikoku” Live

Former “The Blue Hearts” drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara and I (Yosuke Oda) joined forces to create a new unit, “Ebisu Daikoku.”

Photo: Taro NishitaPhoto: Taro Nishita

I had been looking forward to March 8, the day of the debut of “Ebisu Daikoku,” for quite a while. Actually, we had been talking about this project for about 4 years, so it was a long wait. Our concept was to form a band rather than just having a jam session. We wanted to create an entire performance together. So we took the time to discover each other’s timing and breathing and how we drum and play taiko. We compared drum and taiko rhythms and found where they intersect and where we had fusion difficulties. We made use of tiny windows of opportunity in our schedules to create pieces and rehearse together. For our debut performance, we invited guitarist Isaku Suzuki to join us.

Photo: Taro NishitaPhoto: Taro Nishita

We powered through the performance with drums roaring like thunder, taiko howling like gales, and the guitar conjuring an array of different scenery throughout. That hour flew by, but I was left with an unforgettable feeling that will remain with me forever.

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