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Tag ‘Sado Island’

Kodo Apprentice Centre Entrance Ceremony

Photo: Taro Nishita

On April 6, we had a joint 2014 entrance ceremony for the Kodo Apprentice Centre and Fukaura Gakusha (Community Development Course).

From this year, the shape of the Kodo Apprentice Centre has changed and now there are two courses on offer: one for training Kodo performing members and a human-resource-education course focused on community-development initiatives, designed to both to contribute to the development of our home of Sado Island and to spur local development all over Japan.


Photo: Taro Nishita

The participants from each course met at the entrance ceremony for the first time. The 2 participants in the community development course had already started their program. The 12 apprentices hoping to become Kodo performers arrived on the day of the ceremony, on this bus. United at the Kodo Apprentice Centre, they all vowed to make their dreams come true.

“Forest Working Bee at Kodo Village” by Satoshi Nakano

Apr. 8, 2014

The mild winter is over and the weather on Sado is unseasonably warm now. All the members of the Kodo Group, who were scattered apart on various tours and projects, assembled in Kodo Village today.

Photo: Taro Nishita

Today is the day when performers and staff work together, welcoming the start of the new work year with a working bee in the Kodo Village forest. This is when the new first-year Kodo apprentices meet all the members of the Kodo Group for the first time.

Photo: Taro NishitaPhoto: Taro Nishita

The work is mainly to gather trees that have been lumbered throughout the forest, chop them into firewood and kindling, take them to the woodpile and stack them; ready to burn next winter at Kodo Village.

Photo: Taro Nishita

It’s a chance to see a different side of our colleagues than we get to see on an average work day. I look forward to this forest working bee each year because I can learn more about everyone.

Photo: Taro Nishita

“The Opening of Sado’s Festival Season” by Michiko Chida

April 1st, Sado’s Festival Season is About to Begin!

First up is the village of Suginoura in Akadomari. Lucky them, they were blessed with great weather for their festival this year! The indigo blue sea is right in front of you when you are in their village and you can almost feel the sea in your body just by standing there.

Photo: Michiko Chida ▶ read more

“Iwasaki-den Sado Onikenbai Practise” by Narumi Matsuda

On Saturday March 8, I went to practise for Iwasaki-den Sado Onikenbai (demon sword dance).

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

It’s cold in the hall in winter, but everyone works up a sweat under Yoshikazu Fujimoto’s instruction. There were a variety of participants today including the new Kodo junior members, some Kodo staff members, and locals including high school students. One of the great things about learning performing arts is that is brings people together who have very different everyday lives.

Iwasaki-den Sado Onikenbai: This group was formed after Yoshikazu Fujimoto was certified by the leader of Iwasaki Onikenbai, the group who upholds this traditional folk art (demon sword dance) in the Iwasaki area of Kitakami City in Iwate Prefecture.


CD “Yamazu Megurumo”: An Interview with Yoko Fujimoto by Johnny Wales

CD “Yamazu Megurumo”

An Interview with Yoko Fujimoto by Johnny Wales

Yoko Fujimoto talks to Johnny Wales

Yoko Fujimoto talks to Johnny Wales

On March 3rd Yoko Fujimoto released her 2nd solo album ‘Yamazu Megurumo’ (Circle of Life) with Otodaiku. You can order her CD at the Kodo Online Store.


  The seed for this project was when my mother in Tokyo became ill and I wondered what I could best do for her living so far away. Well, for me, that is singing. So that’s how it began, a private thing for mum.

  I began to think about how life is one long continuous line from time immemorial to now. And relationships – just when you think one might be over – What?! It’s started up again! The ties that bind are re-tied.  I wanted to express in song how extraordinary a thing life is, how it renews itself, carrying on in a never-ending cycle.  I will be happy if – in some small way – these songs serve as a comfort and encouragement to people who hear them.  Incidentally, mum is much better now.

  I saw a wonderful Italian movie, “L’uomo che verrà” (The Man Who Will Come) in which an 8 year old girl and her newborn brother are left alone in a mountain village in Italy during the war. Her other little brother had died in her arms the year before and from that shock she lost her ability to speak. She resolves to do anything and everything she can to protect him. The movie ends with her finding her voice by breaking into a lullaby to her little brother. Even this tiny, seemingly powerless girl found the strength to carry on the line of life. And so it has ever been. This power that has allowed our race to continue to this day. So I wrote a poem about that. Then I learned the traditional Italian lullaby from the movie and began singing it.

  As it happened last year was a very confusing time for me, there were so many changes in my life. I was even thinking about quitting singing for good. A close friend said to me, ‘Stop being confused! You have been blessed with the chance to sing with Kodo for 30 years, stop whining!’ She opened my eyes. I showed her my poem. She said, ‘You should do this! Make this into a song!’. That friend who helped is an abstract painter. I wanted to use one of her paintings on the CD cover. She asked me the name of the CD project and I told her, ‘Circle of Life’ and she said, ‘Wait there!’ and disappeared into another room. She reappeared with a smallish painting and said ‘This is my favourite painting! And its called ‘Circle of Life’ (Meguru Inochi). That settled it.

  I first recorded the songs with no accompaniment and sent them to Shunsuke Kimura who laid down the accompaniment. He played fue (bamboo flute) and some Japanese percussion, and added other musicians on Tsugaru shamisen, wadaiko, 13 and 17 string kotos, world music percussion and violin. ▶ read more

[Kodo Apprentice Centre] “Helping Out with the Tea Ceremony at Aikawa Hinamatsuri Festival” by Michiko Chida

On March 9, there was  a Hinamatsuri Tea Ceremony at the historic Sado Magistrate’s Office site in Aikawa. This ceremony was run by students from elementary schools, junior high & high schools on Sado Island, and the 2nd-year Kodo apprentices joined the ceremony for the first time.

お客様の前でお点前をするのは初めて。口から心臓が飛び出そうな緊張感のもと。Photo: Michiko Chida

The apprentices were so, so nervous to show their tea ceremony etiquette in front of an audience for the first time.

▶ read more

“Kiyohime on Sado in Deep Winter” by Chieko Kojima

Hi, this is Chieko Kojima.

I am making a photograph portfolio of “Kiyohime” from the story “Dojoji” using the scenery of the four seasons on Sado Island. The photographer is Maiko Miyagawa, who has been taking pictures of Kodo at the Earth Celebration and of my “Yukiahi” work, etc. I am shy with new people, so I can feel at ease when I’m photographed by Maiko, who is warm and relaxed. But, the pictures all came out so cool looking.

First, here’s the winter version.

It had been fine like spring just before the shoot day, but then, it became the coldest day on Sado Island for the shoot, not by plan. I would like to share some of the pictures from our do-or-die winter photo shoot.

If you know Sado only in summer, please, come and visit sometime in the middle of winter.

Photo: Maiko Miyagawa

Stairs at Seisuiji Temple

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Sado City 10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony & Concert

Photo: Mitsunaga Matsuura

On March 1st, Kodo performed at the Sado City 10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony.
It’s been 10 years since all the villages, towns and cities on Sado Island merged into one… There was an exhibition in the venue lobby that took a look at the past 10 years, and it made me think of myself 10 years ago and how I am today.

Sado City 10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony Kodo Concert
Cast: Yuiichiro Funabashi, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Eri Uchida., Rai Tateishi, Maya Minowa
Programme: Ugachi, Kiyari, Miyake, O-daiko, Zoku


“Winter on Sado” by Eri Uchida

Jan. 30, 2014

Today, we have wonderful weather, which is rarely seen on Sado at this time of year. How beautiful the morning sea is! I saw a stairway to heaven.

Photo: Eri Uchida

The sky over Kodo Village is so blue! This is very unusual!

Photo: Eri Uchida

I wish it was warm like today everyday, but it is still in January. I don’t think I can be that optimistic.

I convinced myself this year that winter is meant to be cold, so I should warm myself up! So, I run when it’s chilly, play “Yatai-bayashi” when it’s freezing and battle on against the winter weather. Now, I really miss springtime. I think it’s important to look forward to the next season coming, especially in such modern times.


Many of us are pleased with this mild winter, but the only person who is sulking and saying ” I want to play in the snow!” like a kid is .. this guy in dressed in yellow.









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