Posts by Staff
Chieko Kojima & Masami Miyazaki “Taiko Camp in Fukuchiyama”
Chieko Kojima & I led a taiko camp in Fukuchiyama from May 22 through 24. It was such a fun three days with the 18 participants who gathered from Maizuru, Himeji, Hiroshima, Gifu, Aichi, Yokohama, Tokyo, and even Australia!
On the first day, after the orientation, everyone got straight into the first taiko performance workshop, based on “Hana Hachijo.” Everyone was quite rigid and nervous on the first day. (But that night… they loosened up during a fun party)
On Day 2, in the morning we split into two teams: one went for a walk through the local hills while the other team made breakfast. Then we all spent the rest of the day playing taiko.
Everyone also learned part of a dance and got ready for a recital & mini concert to display everything they had learned.
That night, we were all licking our lips at the deer and wild boar on the BBQ. Then we gathered around a campfire and everyone danced like crazy to the sound of the taiko, chappa (cymbals), and bamboo flute.
We later found out that some people could hear us 10 km away!
On the last day, we held a recital and mini concert to show our appreciation to everyone who helped us, as well as to cheer on the people of Fukuchiyama, who have been hit by natural disasters in recent years. Everyone who came along, from little kids to senior citizens, had huge smiles from start to finish. We all danced a local dance together in a big circle to end the event.
Fukuchiyama is written using the kanji character for “happiness,” and the locals say you come there for happiness. I hope we can come again for some more happiness with them all soon.
This taiko camp was presented by the four members of Fukuchiyama-based wadaiko unit “Hitotsu.” We are so grateful for their warm welcome and generous hospitality. Thank you, Hitotsu!
After the camp, Chieko and I appeared on a local radio (FM Tamba) broadcast with Makoto Shimozawa, the leader of Hitotsu.
It’s now less than two weeks until the “DADAN 2015” performances. We wanted to make Kodo’s presence in Asakusa even stronger than last year, so we asked everyone in Asakusa to lend us a hand.
This style of vertical scroll poster is often seen around Asakusa, but it’s Kodo’s first time to make one for our performances. Many places have kindly displayed them for us.
We also made these postcards and they are available at cafes and other stores around Asakusa. Keep an eye out for them and share them with your friends!
And… do you know what these are?
Well, you’ll have to come to Asakusa to find out for yourself! I’m looking forward to telling you about these when the time comes…
May 29 (Fri)–31 (Sun), 2015
Shinobue (Bamboo Flute) with Motofumi Yamaguchi
This weekend, we look forward to welcoming participants to the first in our new series of 3-day live-in workshops at Fukaura Schoolhouse: Shinobue with Motofumi Yamaguchi. If you’d like to register last minute, please call us to confirm your place without delay!
Message from Motofumi Yamaguchi
“Learning to play an instrument is similar to climbing a high mountain. Even if you work hard, taking one step at a time, it is not always easy to reach the top. But with each step you make upwards, you’ll encounter a brand new view.”
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.
Kodo Cultural Foundation Project: “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” Live-In Workshops
Thank You All for Your Generous Support!
We are pleased to announce that our crowdfunding project to help share the story of Kodo’s first 30 years and before, “Inochi Moyashite Tatakeyo,” with libraries all over Japan was successfully funded.
I asked Takao Aoki, president of Kodo’s management company, Kitamaesen Co., Ltd., to choose some episodes from the book to share with you all. The book is only available in Japanese, so in English, we will share some of the main points through the photos below.
“Early in 1987, we got the shocking news that Kodo’s leader, Toshio Kawauchi (who we all called ‘Hancho’) had died in an accident in the Philippines. I took over the management of the group suddenly and every time I wasn’t sure what to do, I asked myself: What would Hancho do in this situation?”
“We forged ahead to realize Hancho’s vision of building a base on Sado Island for Kodo with a main building, living quarters, and rehearsal hall. Kodo needed a place to put down roots while traveling the world, to maintain balance between touring and home. I decided that it was important to carry out this vision, even if it was one step at a time.”
Mr. Aoki took over the reigns from Kodo’s first managing director, Toshio Kawauchi (Hancho), and has been steering Kodo forward ever since, one step at a time.
Mr. Aoki says, “I want Kodo to exist in 100 years from now, in 200 years from now… and at the heart of Kodo, there will always be people who play taiko earnestly. That is something we will always hold dear.”
■Online Fundraising Final Total for “Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project (as of May. 16)
711,000 yen (Goal: 500,000 yen) = 142% funded
We raised more than our goal, which means we can share more books with more libraries around Japan!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT, EVERYONE!
“Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project
“Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project (Japanese)
“Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring” Finale Tomorrow!
Thank you very much to everyone who has come along already to see the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring.” There are just two performances to go: TOMORROW! We hope to see you there!
“[18 Days to Go!] Online Fundraising for ‘Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.’ Project” by Hirofumi Uenoyama
[18 Days to Go!]
Online Fundraising for “Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project
The goal of this new project is to donate the Kodo 30th Anniversary Publication “Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo. – 30 Years of Kodo –” to libraries all over Japan. We are asking for support by way of the READYFOR crowdfunding website. The campaign started on March 16 and will run for 60 days, until May 14. This crowdfunding website is available in Japanese only. Thank you in advance for your kind support, either by way of a donation or by sharing this project on social media.
READYFOR “Share the Spirit of Kodo with Libraries All Over Japan!” Fundraising Website (in Japanese):https://readyfor.jp/projects/inochi_moyashite_tatakeyo
Here are some photos from the book featuring Yoshikazu Fujimoto, one of Kodo’s founding members.
In 2010, Yoshikazu became the first active Kodo performer to reach the milestone age of 60. He is still going strong, drumming with the heart of a child.
■Online Fundraising Update for ‘Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.’ Project (as of Apr. 26)
257,000 yen (Goal: 500,000 yen) = 51% funded
There are 18 days to go until the project closes. Thank you in advance for your support!
“Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project
“Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project (Japanese)
“O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule for ‘Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring'” by Kodai Mazaki
O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule
We are pleased to announce the schedule of one of the highlights of the upcoming “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring”: the triple cast for O-daiko (the big drum). Each performer’s style is so unique! We hope you will come along!
Apr. 25 @14:45 Tomohiro Mitome
Apr. 26 @11:00 Eiichi Saito
May 2 @14:45 Yoshikazu Fujimoto
May 3 @11:00 Eiichi Saito, @14:45 Tomohiro Mitome
May 4 @11:00 Yoshikazu Fujimoto, @14:45 Eiichi Saito
May 5 @11:00 Tomohiro Mitome, @14:45 Yoshikazu Fujimoto
*Please note that this cast & schedule are subject to change without notice.
Apr. 10, 2015
Countdown to ‘Mono-Prism’ Live on Stage
After four days of intensive rehearsals, today is the day for our first 2015 performance of Mono-Prism. It is such a rare opportunity for both our performers and staff to collaborate with an orchestra, so we are all taking in as much of the experience as we can possibly absorb.
During these rehearsals, the orchestra performers asked the Kodo members a wide range of questions about Kodo and taiko, such as what Kodo does for its daily training and how we tune our taiko drums. The Kodo members also asked the percussionists about their handmade stick stands, and they showed a great deal of interest in the various genres of instruments on stage. The orchestra and Japanese drums really do create a unique realm when they perform this piece.
We are all waiting for you here at the theater!
Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra on Twitter (Japanese)
Apr. 3, 2015
Here are some photos from our Sado Island Taiko Centre Special Project “Taiko Lessons” last month. Thank you very much to everyone who came along. You really made our Centre lively for the entire month!
Each of the three courses, “Play Taiko to Diet!,” “Taiko for Better Health!,” and “Casual Taiko Lesson,” had a class once a week. The Diet Course was a bit tough: the participants had to drum non-stop and drum with large strokes while yelling from their abdomens.
There were little cuties running all over the hall during the Casual Lessons, and for the Better Health Course, we made sure that everyone stretched and twisted their bodies in all sorts of ways to make sure they all got a full-body workout.
We gave a voucher for a free Taiko Experience to anyone who came to every session in one course. There were 4 people in the Diet Course and 1 in the Casual Lesson Course. Well done, all of you! And thanks again to everyone who participated in our taiko lessons! We are already planning some further lessons this fall.
If you are keen to join us this fall, please let us know if there is a certain kind of course you’d like to take part in or a certain time of day that suits you to come along. We welcome your suggestions!
Sado Island Taiko Centre now has English information on its website! Please have a look. We hope to see you soon!
“Mystery” Performances in New York
We had our first appearance in New York for the first time in 4 years. This time, we had the privilege to perform at America’s longest running performing arts theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Brooklyn, New York. It was our first time at BAM, but our three performances turned out to a great success!
Our last performance was sold out, with a line waiting for cancellation tickets outside the theater. It was wonderful to see so many people come out to see our production, “Mystery,” and the reactions from the audience were unforgettable. All three performances received a grand standing ovation, and the cheers and the applause felt like they were never-ending.
One of the performing arts capital of the world; New York. We’ll be back again soon!
（Photos: Julieta Cervantes）
Howard Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
Articles about “Mystery” 2015
Huffington Post | Standing Ovation for ‘KODO’ at BAM
Green Global Travel | INTERVIEW: Kodo, Japan’s Legendary Taiko Drummers
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Mystery” North America Tour
[Purchase on CD]
Kodo Online Store | Mystery [CD]
[Purchase Download Version]