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Tag ‘Kodo Interactive Performances’

“Bountiful Autumn” by Kodo Ensemble Leader Yuichiro Funabashi

Oct. 5, 2016

Bountiful Autumn

Photo: Taro Nishita

Hello, everyone. I hope you are all well.

The rice harvest has nearly finished here on Sado Island and the crops are drying on racks. We  look forward to tasting the newly harvested rice very soon. One of the luxurious perks of living in a rural area is eating locally grown rice, and I have to say that Sado Island has particularly delicious rice!

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Our “Spiral” and “Interactive Performance” tours are currently on the road in Japan. I encourage you to go along to experience these energetic performances at a venue near you. Both casts are largely made up of young performers. Everyday they work so hard to deliver better and better performances, so I am sure they will return to Sado Island even stronger after their efforts on these tours.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

While the main tours have been on the road, I have been on Sado Island and performing in various places, too. Last weekend, I went to Korea with a select Kodo ensemble, which was Kodo’s first time there in 16 years. It was a whirlwind schedule, just three days and two nights, and we went there especially to perform with Kim Duk Soo and SamulNori at “Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul.” It was inspiring to see so many Japanese and Korean artists performing in one place. At the end of the festival we all came together for an exciting, climatic finale.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto
Next I’m off to Vietnam for our debut performances there next week. This will be the 49th country where Kodo has given performances. We look forward to being reunited with EC 2016 guest artists Bac Ha and the other friends we made during our visit in February this year. We will perform at a music festival in Vietnam and we look forward to new encounters and further cultural exchange.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Our trip to Vietnam promises to be a great opportunity to learn more about the history and background of local musicians and our recent collaborators, as we found out last year after Earth Celebration when Kodo visited Suar Agung in Bali, Indonesia. It will give us all a chance to deepen our mutual understanding. In a few years time, perhaps we can invite guests from various countries back to EC on Sado Island for further collaborations, too.

Kodo tours regularly throughout, Europe and North America, but in recent years we are also enjoying the increasing number of opportunities that arise for us to perform on other continents, too. In the past year, with our performances in Hong Kong, Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, and next in Vietnam, we are traveling to new places and drawing on new inspiration. I am sure this will lead to each member, and our entire group, creating broader, deeper forms of music and expression, which we look forward to sharing with you all.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Yuichiro Funabashi, Kodo Ensemble Leader, plays “O-daiko” at EC 2016 “Kodo Village Concert”


“The Interactive Performance Tour Begins!” by Akiko Ando

The Interactive Performance Tour Begins!


This is my fifth year on stage with Kodo and my first time performing on the School Workshop & Interactive Performance tour. Our first performance was at a school in Shinjo, Yamagata, last week.


The atmosphere and dialect of the Tohoku region made me feel nostalgic for my hometown area, Akita Prefecture.


I will tour with this cast until December this year. I hope you will come along and see our performance. I think it has a unique sound and feel that only the seven of us could create!



Kodo Interactive Performances

Sep.–Nov. 2016 (Japan)

“Moved to the Core” by Kosuke Urushikubo

Moved to the Core

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Hello, everyone. How are you?
It has become really hot in Japan recently and the cicadas have already started chirping. I was on tour for the past couple of months with the School Workshop & Interactive Performances. We have completed our Spring–Summer 2016 tour and returned to Sado Island last week. I will be leaving Kodo soon, so my final performances will be the 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concerts in Tokyo and at Earth Celebration on Sado this August.

Photo: Ryoko Iwamoto

During my final tour, we mainly performed for school children in Kumamoto, Iwate, Niigata, and Hyogo Prefectures. We encountered a wide range of students on tour. Some of the pupils had never heard taiko before, some of them play taiko regularly, and some of them told us that our performance had made them want to start playing taiko.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

In a world that is becoming more and more modern, I would like for children to not be only interested in the latest or most convenient things. I want them to know about classic or traditional things and then, based upon that knowledge, I want them to consider various new things. This is what I had in mind when I performed at schools on this tour.


When our performances would end, one student would share their impressions with us on behalf of the student body. I was really happy to hear some of them say things like, “It was my first time hearing taiko and it was interesting,” or “I want to explore Japanese music as well from now on.” At times, I felt my tears join the sweat on my face as they spoke to us.

I mentioned that our performances were mainly in four different prefectures on this tour. And they all have something in common: earthquakes. These four areas have experienced particularly large earthquakes. I heard locals talking about their experiences during and after the earthquakes and it was all unbelievable and unimaginable for me. Some taiko groups lost their practice space and instruments due to the damage from these earthquakes. My heart ached to hear about it all.

Photo: Ryoko Iwamoto

However, the people we met in these places had not lost their smiles. Some of them said to us, “The gods are telling us we can recover from this.” We had a chance to perform for people who were greatly affected by these devastating earthquakes and after our performances some of them said things to us like, “You’ve given me power to face tomorrow,” and “I feel confident again.” Personally, I was so happy to have so many wonderful encounters on my final School Workshop & Interactive Performance tour. I was happy to hear that I was able to help people in even a small way.

Photo: Ryoko Iwamoto
I sincerely hope they will recover from those disasters really soon. I hope our Interactive Performance tour will always continue, too.
Thank you very much to everyone who looked after us throughout our tour.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


“Concert in My Hometown on May 14” by Koki Miura

Concert in Yachiyo City, My Hometown

Photo: Ryoko Iwamoto

Last year I returned to my hometown, Yachiyo City in Chiba, with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity.” This week, I am heading home again with Kodo for an Interactive Performance on May 14. I am really happy to have these opportunities to perform in my hometown.

Photo: Ryoko Iwamoto

I will play the big drum (O-daiko) with all my might!

news20160514koryuKodo Interactive Performance


May 14 (Sat), 2016 Yachiyo-shi Shimin Kaikan, Yachiyo, Chiba http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20160514koryu_en.html

“My First ‘Interactive Performance’ Tour” by Mizuki Yoneyama


Dec. 25, 2015Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Hello! I am Mizuki Yoneyama, one of Kodo’s junior members.

I spent the past six weeks or so on tour with the “Kodo Interactive Performance” programme.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Throughout the tour I experienced many things with my heart and senses: the air and scent of each place, the colors and sounds, and new connections with people who we encountered at the many schools and theaters. I want to find out more and more about so many things through wadaiko… like discovering pure sound, natural communication and, personally, how to be completely upfront.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


“Abundant Autumn” by Tomohiro Mitome

Oct. 1. 2015

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.

This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.

October has arrived and we are enjoying sunny days with a slight chill in the air. Some decades ago, there was snowy rain in October, but I think that due to global warming in recent years, the fall season on Sado has gotten somewhat longer.


Kodo held numerous performances throughout Japan this September with the “Eternity” and “Interactive Performances” touring from Hokkaido down to Shikoku, our “Special Performances” here on Sado Island, and an array of solo and small ensemble projects, too. Each of our two tours included special projects, collaborations, and workshops, so their days have been filled with all kinds of activities.


I took part in the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” centered around our Distinguished Members. This was the fourth year for this series. For the Autumn concerts, we had a cast of eight featuring veterans, junior members, and Maya Minowa for the first time. We gave seven performances over four days during Silver Week. The venue, Shukunegi Public Hall, was built 57 years ago and renovations have commenced this fall to strengthen it against earthquakes and restore it. We look forward to seeing the finished renewal next spring.


Photo: Damian Siqueiros
Dancers: Jerimy Rivera & Edi Blloshmi

The Interactive Performance team finished their Japan tour at the end of September and have returned to Sado to rehearse for their upcoming ballet collaboration in Montreal, “Kaguyahime.” Kodo also took part in this ballet with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in Canada three years ago.

“Kaguyahime” is a ballet suite by the late Maki Ishii, who also composed Kodo’s signature pieces Monochrome and Dyu-ha. He wrote Kaguyahime for a ballet danced to Western percussion, Japanese court music, and wadaiko. For most of the performance, Kodo performs in the orchestra pit, but there are also some scenes where we perform on stage. The production includes a furious battle scene where the Western percussion and Japanese taiko go head to head.



Here on Sado Island, October is an action-packed month for the Kodo apprentices. On top of their usual training, they will give Interactive Performances at junior high schools on Sado, host live-in workshop Kodo Juku at the Apprentice Centre, and have the valuable experience of harvesting the persimmons, rice, and other crops they have been growing over the past months.

At the end of September, we held information sessions for prospective apprentices in Tokyo and Osaka. Some people know they want to join Kodo on stage, but they are anxious when faced with a two-year apprenticeship and wonder how they will find it training here. Of course, it’s easier to imagine if they visit the Centre before applying, but since it’s difficult for some people to come up to have a look around, we have started holding info sessions in these two main citiess in the last couple of years. Today, our applications opened for the 2016 intake. We look forward to greeting our new applicants as they step forward for this challenge of a lifetime.

In Japan, we say that autumn is the season for performing arts.

We hope to see you all soon at a Kodo performance somewhere.


“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


“My Thirties: Episode 1” by Kenta Nakagome

Photo: Takuro Susaki

I turned 30 this month.

Today, I spent another fun day playing taiko at elementary schools.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

We all beat the taiko with all our might and made such a big racket, drumming and yelling!


Hip! Hip! Hip!



School Workshop Performances

“Hello Kodo” Small Ensemble Performance

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


“On Tour with the Workshop Performances!” by Eri Uchida

June–July Workshop Performance Tour is Now Underway!

Our cast is back together again after the North America “Mystery” tour in winter, and the “Michi,” “Mono-Prism” and “Amaterasu” performances in spring. Every time we come back from a tour, the scenery on Sado Island has changed so much with the seasons that it never looks like we have returned to the same place. I feel the power of nature when I see these dramatic changes. It always makes me ask myself how much I have grown over the same span of time.

Our “Workshop Performance” cast had been apart working on various projects for almost half a year, but when we regrouped I think we had all become stronger and more reliable in many ways.


For our School performances, we perform in front of children who are sitting up close to us. If we tell them, “You can hear our drums even if you block your ears!,” or say “The drums make the air and the floor shake, so the sound also reverberates throughout your bodies!,” the children will block their ears and touch the floor, or even put their ears to the floor to have a listen. They all listen to our performance freely, as they please.


These sensations are something that they cannot experience through a TV or computer screen: they have to attend a live performance to experience our sound and vibrations like that. Nowadays, there is so much information available through technology and screens, but everyday on our tour I think about how important it is for people to experience and feel sensations offline, with their body and senses. I want the children to continue to do this. As I think about this, I continue to hone my own senses.

On our current tour we have spent almost 3 weeks in Matsumoto, Nagano. We perform 10 times a week, giving performances five days a week in the morning and afternoon. Everyday we learn so much from spending time with children, so it is a very fulfilling experience!

As our tour continues, I look forward to sharing our live sound and powerful vibrations with more and more people.

School Workshop Performances

July 20 (Mon), 2015 “Hello Kodo” Small Ensemble Performance, Kashiwazaki, Niigata


“The School Workshop/Interactive Performance Team Sets Off!” by Koki Miura

June 3, 2015

The School Workshop/Interactive Performance Team Sets Off from Kodo Village!


We only just got back to Sado Island after “Amaterasu” in Osaka, but after a few days of rehearsals, we are all heading off on tour again! Next on the agenda for Kodo we have the School Workshop/Interactive Performances, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity” around Japan, and “DADAN 2015” in Asakusa, Tokyo. The School Workshop/Interactive Performance team has set off first.

Safe travels, everyone!


▲Here’s a photo of us waving them off, taken from one of the departing cars.


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