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Taiko Workshop & Exchange with Shiki Theatre Company

Taiko Workshop & Exchange with Shiki Theatre Company

On Oct. 30, we hosted an exchange event at Kodo Apprentice Centre for Kodo and Shiki Theatre Company. The Company came to Sado to give performances of “The Adventures of Ganba” for fifth & sixth grade elementary school students from all over the island. As soon as they arrived on Sado, they came straight here to see us!

Photo: Erika Ueda

Photo: Erika Ueda

The Kodo apprentices welcomed the Company with a performance.

Photo: Erika Ueda

Kodo’s Eiichi Saito led a taiko workshop for our guests. He told them, “Feel everyone’s hearts connect as you play taiko together.”

Photo: Erika Ueda

It looks like the members of Shiki Theatre Company really enjoyed playing taiko.

Photo: Erika Ueda


Photo: Erika Ueda

Next, they showed us a scene from “The Adventures of Ganba” that features taiko!


Photo: Erika Ueda
We all enjoyed dinner together. The apprentices made curry from scratch and filled the tables with vegetable dishes made with fresh produce they harvested themselves. Of course, they also served up Sado’s famous “Okesa Kaki” persimmons. We had such a fun meal together. Most of our apprentices are around 20 years old and so were many of the Shiki Theatre Company performers. They also had an apprenticeship period in their training, so everyone had a lot in common. Everyone enjoyed talking to each other and it was a very fruitful exchange for all involved.

Photo: Erika Ueda

Photo: Erika Ueda

The Shiki Theatre Company members have a go at playing the big drum, o-daiko.

Shiki Theatre Company will perform on Nov. 1 at Amusement Sado for the children of Sado and our apprentices will help them out with the load-in and load-out.
Thank you for visiting us, Shiki Theatre Company! We are looking forward to seeing your performance! Break a leg!

Photo: Erika Ueda

Shiki Theatre Company with Eiichi Saito and the Kodo apprentices.

“‘Talk Saito’ Returns” by Eiichi Saito

“Talk Saito” Returns June 17–19

Hello everyone! How are you?
It’s been hot for a while now in Japan, so I’m sorry to add to the heat with some piping-hot exciting news…

This month I will join Kazuaki Tomida in Tokyo for “Talk Saito 2016” at Tiara Koto Sho-Hall!

June 17 (Fri): Doors Open 18:30 / Start 19:00
June 18 (Sat): Doors Open 16:30 / Start 17:00
June 19 (Sun): Doors Open 14:30 / Start 15:00


Photo: Erika Ueda

The first “Talk Saito” performance was held in the fall of 2003.

It all started when former Kodo member Kazuaki Tomida said “I want to do something fun with you, Eiichi!” We exchanged ideas, then practiced and made our own special duo performance.

It evolved from then into the performances we gave in 2009 and then 2012. This month is our 4th season of “Talk Saito”! And perhaps it will be our grand finale?
This performance is a taiko-meets-comedy show but we are not mucking around. We are both extremely serious about being wholeheartedly foolish for around 2 hours straight.
Please come along and see us live on stage!
One of our alter egos will appear for a lively chat with the audience 15 mins. before each performance, so please come along early enough to take your seat before then. See you there!



Wadaiko Talk Saito 2016

June 17 (Fri), 18 (Sat), 19 (Sun), 2016 Tiara Koto Sho-Hall, Koto Ward, Tokyo


[TV Broadcast] Upcoming Kodo Appearances on AKB48 Nemousu TV

Upcoming Kodo Appearances on AKB48 Nemousu TV



Recently Kodo was given the opportunity to help Niigata’s new girl group “NGT48” with team building by hosting them for an intensive taiko camp. This story will be broadcasted as a three-part documentary on CS Family Theater’s “AKB48 Nemousu TV.” If you are subscribed to this Japanese cable channel, please tune in to see how the girls get on playing taiko together following the lead of their passionate facilitator, Kodo’s Eiichi Saito. The programme will air on Sundays for three weeks in a row from May 22 (Sun).

Programme Title: AKB48 Nemousu TV

About Programme: Documentaries showing AKB48 as they follow orders from unique instructors in various settings.
Broadcast Dates & Times Featuring Kodo: May 22 , May 29, June 5 (Sun) 18:00–18:30
Programme Website: http://www.fami-geki.com/nemousu22/
*This programme is only available to CS Family Theater cable channel subscribers.


NGT48 Go to Taiko Camp on Sado Island

This documentary features NGT48, the Niigata sister-group of Tokyo’s AKB48, which debuted in Jan. 2016. Like any new group, they face many challenges with group dynamics. This programme sends the NGT48 members off to a taiko camp with Kodo’s Eiichi Saito for a special live-in, team-building experience. Tune in to see what effect taiko and Saito’s passion have on the group. This three-part documentary will span three consecutive Sundays. We hope you’ll tune in!


Photo from AKB48 Nemousu TV website

“Kodo Guest Appearance at ‘Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai’ Festival” by Eiichi Saito

“Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai” Festival

Sep. 13, 2015 | Miyako, Iwate

Photo: Yuki Nakagawa

“Iwate Sanriku Chinkon Fukkosai” is an annual festival that began in 2013 to help recover the spirit of Sanriku’s festivals and local folk arts in the wake of the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake.

The backdrop for our taiko performance at the festival was the blue sea, white cliffs, and green pine trees. Jodogahama Beach is a famous scenic spot in the Sanriku Area. It may look like a peaceful place, but I heard that when the tsunami came after the 2011 Earthquake, it went up over these huge rocks and right over the rest-area buildings.

That was four and a half years ago. Even though the rubble has been tidied up, it has not been removed as they are still waiting for a designated place to take it. There were so many vacate sites throughout the town. As you’d expect, we saw so many scenes that you could only see by actually going to the disaster area, and honestly, it made me regret that my own sympathy for the recovery efforts had somewhat faded with time.


Photo: Yuki NakagawaPhoto: Yuki Nakagawa

The audience watched our performance and applauded for us to the very end, despite the rain.

Thank you very much to everyone who came along!

We will continue to do what we can to help keep the plight of the disaster area from fading away.



Heartbeat Project

“Performance at ‘Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship'” by Takuro Susaki

Sep. 7, 2015

Performance at “Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship”


On September 3, Kodo’s Eiichi Saito, Maya Minowa and Mizuki Yoneyama performed at the “Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship” in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russia.

Photo: Hiroshi Abe

This opportunity came about thanks to an invitation to perform from the artistic director of the Buryat National Academic House of Ballet, Mr. Morihiro Iwata. Kodo appeared in the first act of the concert in a work that he choreographed called “Tamashii (Spirit),” which premiered in 2008 and was created to accompany Kodo recordings. This 2015 collaboration was the first time for the ballet to be danced to live Kodo music.

The Buryat National Ballet and invited guests from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater Ballet danced with such liveliness and portrayed an array of emotions on stage with such subtle details. Their performance seemed to truly inspire and invigorate the Kodo members who shared the stage with them.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

During our short yet enriching stay, we also got taken to see Ivolginsky Datsan Temple and Lake Baikal. We are already looking forward to the day when we can collaborate with Mr. Iwata again.


Kodo Collaboration with Morihiro Iwata at “Russia-Japan Cultural Festival for Peace and Friendship”

“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. 

“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



“O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule for ‘Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring'” by Kodai Mazaki

O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule

Photo: Satoko Maeda
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.


Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring

“A 15mm World” by Maya Minowa

The rehearsals for Kodo 2015 Special Concert “Michi” are well underway.

At this performance, I will become the first-ever female Kodo performer to play Monochrome on stage.

Photo: Mitsunaga Matsuura

We have to use such precision when we practice Monochrome… you could cut through the tension in the rehearsal hall with a knife.

Photo: Erika Ueda

The pianissimo parts in this composition are played in a tiny 15mm world. We have to control our drumsticks to make strokes within this minute range. Eiichi Saito says, “Don’t move your sticks up and down, just let them fall from your tanden (core/abdomen).” But this drumming technique is far more difficult than I had ever imagined. (Apparently, in the old days, Kodo members would light a candle and practice drumming like this until it had burned down completely.)

Photo: Erika Ueda

My practice for this piece is rather stoic and subtle and it makes me connect an array of nerves that I never had to think about before.
I hope you will join us for Kodo 2015 Special Concert “Michi” next month.


▶Watch on YouTube  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1N2ME9rH4E

Kodo 2015 Special Concert “Michi”

Mar. 19 (Thu)–20 (Fri), 2015 Yokohama, Kanagawa

Director: Motofumi Yamaguchi
Performers: Eiichi Saito, Tomohiro Mitome, Yuichiro Funabashi, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Kenta Nakagome, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Rai Tateishi, Maya Minowa, Ryosuke Inada, Yuki Kajiro, Masaya Koike and Mizuki Yoneyama (Cast subject to change)
Programme (TBC): Zoku, Jang-Gwara, Chonlima, Michi, Shamisen, Monochrome, Miyake, Sankan Shion, Yamauta, O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi


“Appearance in December Kabuki Program” by Yoshikazu Fujimoto

On Dec. 2, it was the opening night of the December Kabuki Program at Kabukiza Theatre in Tokyo. It was my debut taiko performance in a Kabuki play and it went well.

After the performance, I practiced with Eiichi Saito and former Kodo member Kazunari Abe in the hall where our taiko is kept. As a triple cast, we are taking turns to perform at the climax of the play everyday until December 26.

Kazunari came all the way from Shikoku to join us. It’s so good to see him again.

Kodo’s Debut Kabuki Appearance


Kabukiza Theatre December Kabuki Program (Evening Programme)
“Narukami Fudo Kitayama Zakura” (Saint Narukami and Deity Fudo)

Dates: Dec. 2 (Tue)–Dec. 26 (Fri), 2014
Appearing: Ebizo Ichikawa, Ainosuke Kataoka, Shido Nakamura, Tamasaburo Bando, & others.

Taiko Performers (triple cast): Yoshikazu Fujimoto (Kodo), Eiichi Saito (Kodo) and Kazunari Abe (former Kodo member)

Kabukibito | December Kabuki Program http://www.kabuki-bito.jp/theaters/kabukiza/2014/12/post_82.html (in Japanese)

For details & ticket orders in English, please visit Shochiku Ticket Web http://www1.ticket-web-shochiku.com/en/info/schedule.html#1

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