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“Impressions of ‘Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos'” by Kyoko Honma

Impressions of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos”

Review by Kyoko Honma ● Photos by Takashi Okamoto

I used to spend my days going to concert halls and live houses all over Tokyo. Without a doubt, the rock performances were the most explosive.
Guitar, bass, and drums.
I saw countless bands featuring these three instruments with vocals. The drummer and bass player are usually the rhythm section of each band, so if the drums go off beat, they cannot play the rhythm as one.
When I closed my eyes to feel the rhythm, for some reason
(demon drumming from Sado Island) would come to mind. It was sort of like a strange déjà vu about the folk arts on Sado.
I found the reason for that phenomenon when I saw Kodo’s “Chaos” performance.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto
There were three drum kits on stage. Three drummers played the drums, each in their own way, and I got goosebumps each time. There is a universality within the action of beating a rhythm and each powerful beat resonates throughout your soul. So any sound created on earth comes from the same place. This also rang true for the flutes, timpani, and harps that were featured in the “Chaos” performance. I heard sound only that person could create, that I could only encounter in that moment. It is significant that the Kodo performers gave this performance without collaborating with other artists.

The audience responded with echoing applause.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto
I floated over an invisible wall of preconceptions and really enjoyed the sound. Centered around percussion, “Chaos” also incorporates string instruments, wind instruments, vocals, handmade instruments…anything and everything!

I am excited by the fascinating possibilities Kodo, the ultimate “band,” has shown with this production.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Ms. Kyoko Honma is the daughter of Mr. Masahiko Honma, a teacher and advisor to Kodo since the founding of its antecedent group Sado no Kuni Ondekoza. Ms. Honma attended the premiere performance of “Chaos” on Sado Island on Nov. 23, 2015.



About “Chaos”

Performance Schedule (Nov.–Dec. 2015)

Kodo Blog | Chaos

Premiere Tour Throughout Japan

Nagoya Dec. 15 (Tue), 2015 Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya, Aichi

Yokohama Dec. 17 (Thu) Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, Yokohama, Kanagawa

 Tokyo Dec. 19 (Sat)–23 (Wed./Public Hol.) Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo

“‘Chaos’ in Niigata Today” by Kengo Watanabe

Dec. 3, 2015

“Chaos” in Niigata Today


Today we have our Niigata performance of “Chaos”! The first time I ever saw a Kodo performance was here at the Niigata Prefecture Civic Center. I hope everyone who comes along to see us today in Niigata thoroughly enjoys our performance! We are waiting for you all at the theater!




About “Chaos”

Performance Schedule (Nov.–Dec. 2015)

Kodo Blog | Chaos

Premiere Tour Throughout Japan

Nagoya Dec. 15 (Tue), 2015 Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya, Aichi

Yokohama Dec. 17 (Thu) Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Tokyo Dec. 19 (Sat)–23 (Wed./Public Hol.) Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo

“Opening Performance of New Production ‘Chaos'” by Nobuyuki Nishimura

Opening Performance of New Production “Chaos”

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


After four years of ideas and creation, at long last we held the premiere of “Chaos.” The first performance here on Sado Island, where Kodo is based, precedes a nationwide tour with this new work. On Sado, there are many people who have watched Kodo for decades since the very beginning, so when we present new programmes here we are nervous to see if they will be accepting of our latest work. We set up in the theater, add lighting to the new production, and welcome its first audience. I have come to realize that as the performance begins, I find myself thinking about the next production as I watch it. I wonder how far we can broaden the scope of the Kodo group. When I think about the possibilities, I get excited and know I will lose sleep for days with that on my mind.


Photo: Takashi Okamoto


About “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos”

“Chaos” Tour Schedule (Nov.–Dec. 2015)

Kodo Blog | Chaos

“Tetsuya Kajiwara’s Lecture on Drums” by Nobuyuki Nishimura

Tetsuya Kajiwara’s Lecture on Drums

Photo: Nobuyuki Nishimura

Tetsuya Kajiwara, the drum supervisor for our upcoming “Chaos” production, gave our performers a lecture about drums in the rehearsal hall yesterday.

Photo: Nobuyuki NishimuraPhoto: Nobuyuki Nishimura

He taught them how he set up the drums when he played with his former band, “The Blue Hearts,” and the members learned how to handle the various parts. This knowledge will help them throughout the “Chaos” performances.

Our opening night on Sado Island is approaching quickly!


About “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos”

“Chaos” Tour Schedule (Nov.–Dec. 2015)

Kodo Blog | Chaos

“Looking Ahead to the Europe ‘Mystery’ Tour” by Yosuke Kusa

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery”
Europe Tour Begins Late Jan. 2016!

Photo: Julieta CervantesPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

It’s not long now until our tour around Europe with “Mystery” begins on Jan. 30, 2016.

This production was very well received in Japan, but because it features so many elements of Japanese folk arts, the first time we took it abroad I was honestly anxious to see how our audiences would react to it. Earlier this year we set off on tour with “Mystery” in the USA and Canada and our entire cast was so surprised… because we received standing ovations at every venue.



In particular, when we gave back-to-back performances at BAM in New York, word of mouth created a huge demand for tickets and people were waiting for cancellations to come and see us. We were very happy to feel such warm acceptance of our culture as we traveled throughout North America with this production.

That was just two countries… and next we are taking “Mystery” to several countries in Europe.
I’m sure the reaction to our performance will differ from country to country. Also, we perform at more concert halls than regular theaters in Europe, so we have the added challenge of adapting the programme and performance to suit each venue.

I hope to take my performances in Europe to new heights, facing each one anew with all my might. I will make the most of my experiences to date performing “Mystery” in Japan and North America.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


Since March, the cast of “Mystery” has been split up to work on all kinds of different tours and projects. When we reunite for the Europe “Mystery” performances, we will bring new inspiration and energy with us from those experiences. We look forward to sharing the unique realm of darkness and light that “Mystery” creates on stage with everyone in Europe soon.
Also, if you’re planning to visit Europe in early 2016, please come and see us somewhere during your travels!




“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” Europe Tour
Jan.–Mar. 2016

“Kodo in November” by Tomohiro Mitome

Nov. 1. 2015

From Fall into Winter: Kodo in November

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well. This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.

November has just begun, yet it’s already remarkably cold here on Sado Island.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

On October 18, we gave our final performance of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” which premiered in November 2014 and toured throughout the past year. This was the third production directed by Tamasaburo Bando since he became our artistic director in 2012. “Eternity” has such a profound title and theme and was created entirely from brand new compositions. For Kodo, this work was full of new challenges in musical and stage expression, which led us to new depths and heights on stage.

Photo: Courtesy of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal

Photo: Courtesy of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal

Meanwhile, in Canada another cast of Kodo members took part in the contemporary ballet production “Kaguyahime” in October. Every performance received such a wonderful, excited response from its audience. Kodo throughly enjoyed taking part in this collaboration again and week by week, our performers deepened their connection with the dancers, Gagaku musicians, and percussionists. We are truly grateful for this experience.


Our Kaguyahime cast members also found time between the ballet performances to present Kodo’s first ever School Workshop Performances abroad. It was a very good experience for both sides: many children in Montreal had the chance to experience the sound and vibrations of taiko for the first time and our members got to try speaking French for the first time to deliver their self introductions to the audience.

Speaking of performances abroad, we also held “DADAN 2015” performances at the end of October in Hong Kong, and in November a small Kodo ensemble will head to Bali, Indonesia, for collaborations with EC 2015 guest artist Suar Agung. It’s the first time in 29 years for Kodo to visit both Hong Kong and Bali, so in both cases it’s the first time for all the cast members to visit these places with Kodo. I’m sure the performers will be inspired by these new places & experiences. We look forward to sharing stories and news from our travels with you through this blog, so please stay tuned for updates.


Kodo at “Shion Kansha Nihon Taiko Festival 2014”

Also, this November I’ll return to Ise in Mie Prefecture with Kodo for a taiko festival at the Ise Grand Shrine called “13th Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri.” Kodo performed at this event last year, too. This exciting two-day event draws amazing performance groups from all over Japan and such an enthusiastic crowd.


From the 2014 Kodo Apprentice Centre Harvest Festival 2014

Futhermore, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Kodo Apprentice Centre’s relocation to its current premises: the former Iwakubi Junior High School premises in Kakinoura on Sado Island. Every year in early November the apprentices plan and hold their own “Harvest Festival” and this year they are having a “Great Harvest Festival,” which will be a huge celebration. Kodo Apprentice Centre alumni and Kodo members will come along to perform and enjoy a freshly harvested feast together. This festival is our way of saying thanks to the locals in the Kakinoura and Iwakubi area for their constant kindness. Since all Kodo members and many Kodo staff members pass through the Apprentice Centre, the festival is always a great reunion for Kodo and the locals near the Centre. I am truly looking forward to the Great Harvest Festival that celebrates this milestone year.


Photo: Takashi Okamoto


Last but not least, on Nov. 23 “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos,” the latest production directed by our artistic director Tamasaburo Bando, will premiere on Sado Island.
Sounds of the West, the East, and Japan will create a world of chaos and harmony as they entwine and disperse. This new work is based upon bolder, more liberated ideas than ever before for a Kodo performance.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

With the unveiling of this new production and the start of a new tour, November marks another exciting beginning for the Kodo.

“The Grand Finale of ‘Eternity’!” by Mitsuru Ishizuka


Our “Eternity” tour, which began in the winter of 2014, held its final performance in Kagoshima on Oct. 18, 2015. Thank you very much to everyone who came to see our performances nationwide!


The Eternity production features all brand new compositions and so many different new musical, physical, and performance elements. We gained so much through this tour and I can really feel that both Kodo and I have grown through this ground-breaking production. While there are currently no plans for any future performances, I really hope that many more people will have the chance to experience this profound work live on stage.


Using this finale as a new starting point, Kodo will continue to work with devotion, aiming for even higher heights and to create even deeper realms on stage. First up is our next new performance, “Chaos.” Please come along to see it!



“Eternity” Sep.–Oct. 2015 Japan Tour

[Sep.–Oct. 2015] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Osaka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Kagoshima

Discography | Eternity

“Our Performance in Legendary Yabu” by Mariko Omi

Our Performance in Legendary Yabu
Oct. 3, 2015 “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity”


From the beginning of our current tour, the senior members have been saying “but when we’re at the venue in Yabu” so many times and they have brought up interesting things about this legendary hall.

“We have to roll the O-daiko in from outside up a staircase!”

“Last time, we set up the O-daiko cart on the stage even though it was a tight fit.”

“They have a profound love for Kodo at the hall in Yabu.”

As our performance there approached, I got so curious about Yabu from hearing all the different things the Kodo members had to say about it!

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

Rehearsal in Yabu

Viva Hall in Yabu is smaller than most of our usual venues with just 333 seats and a smaller stage to match. It was such a cozy place accompanied by a really warm, heartfelt welcome from all of the staff.


Rehearsal in Yabu

No matter how different a venue is, we have to create the unique realm of “Eternity” on stage as intended by the artistic director and deliver the production to our audience properly. So during our rehearsals at each venue, we check every element in our performance with great attention to detail, from the angle of our gazes into the audience to how we produce each sound to suit the acoustics.

I felt relieved when we received such warm applause from the full house during our performance in Yabu.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

When each and every member of the cast actively reconsiders the essence of “Eternity,” we move with more detail and create sound together with more depth. I can feel our performance gaining depth and becoming more refined each time we go through this deliberate process.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto



“Eternity” Sep.–Oct. 2015 Japan Tour

[Sep.–Oct. 2015] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Osaka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Kagoshima

Discography | Eternity

“Asano Taiko’s New Product ‘Try Before You Buy’ Event” by Mitsunaga Matsuura

Asano Taiko’s New Product “Try Before You Buy” Event


Asano Taiko held a special event so that people could along to try out the new Asano drums that were created in collaboration with Kodo for our performances. The instruments introduced at this “Try Before You Buy” event are the taiko that people ask us about the most, mainly wondering if they are available for purchase. So on Sep. 21, during the Silver Week holiday period, we joined Asano Taiko in Yutenji, Tokyo, for this hands-on event at Taiko no Sato Kyowakan.

▶︎Watch footage from the event on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzqiFGQWnjc

During the event, Kodo members gave special workshops using each of the three collaboration-project taiko drums. Kodo’s Yuta Sumiyoshi composed a piece especially for the workshops with those taiko in mind. It incorporates some unique grooves that you can create with them, allowing all the participants to really experience the potential of these new taiko.

Photo: Mitsunaga Matsuura

Introducing the Kodo x Asano Taiko Collaboration Taiko Lineup

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Shime-jishi Taiko

This small taiko has a crisp, sharp sound that lets a solo part stand out amongst other taiko on the Kodo stage.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


This taiko is now on sale thanks to popular demand. We usually play it with one drumstick on stage. Its low tone really complements other instruments, including chappa (cymbals) and bamboo flutes.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


All eyes are on this one! This is an okedo-daiko (barrel drum) that has independent tuning for each head thanks to special metal parts on the barrel. The two drum heads differ in thickness, too. The incredibly broad range of this taiko is showcased in a solo by Masayuki Sakamoto in our production “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” directed by Tamasaburo Bando. See the performance live or on DVD/Blu-ray to see “Kanade” in action.

Promotion Video for “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos” Released Today!

Kodo 35th Anniversary Production “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos”

Watch on YouTube▶https://youtu.be/qGCmnpbdRHo

Our next production directed by Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos,” will premiere in November 2015.
This performance promises to share brand new forms of taiko music through a daring, liberating concept that incorporates drum kits and even taiko drums made from tires.

The debut tour will begin on Sado Island before visiting Fukui, Toyama, Niigata, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okayama, Aichi, Kanagawa, and Tokyo.
For further details, please visit our website.


▶ “Chaos” Production Details

▶ Premiere Tour Schedule (Nov.–Dec. 2015 Japan)

▶ Kodo Blog | Rehearsals for Brand New Production ‘Chaos’” by Yuta Sumiyoshi

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