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“‘Rizumu o Taikan Concert’ (Feel the Rhythm Concert)” by Tsuyoshi Maeda

Sep. 26, 2015

Kodo Appearance at “Rizumu o Taikan Concert” (Feel the Rhythm Concert)

Today we took part in a concert at Bunkamura in Shibuya, Tokyo, especially for citizens of Tokyo. The programme featured tap dancer Kazunori Kumagai, Kotaro Oshio on guitar, and Kodo. We got to collaborate with both artists on a selected pieces during the performance.



Kodo is an ensemble, so when we tour or give performances, we usually perform with just our own members. We don’t have that many opportunities to collaborate with other artists on stage. I learned so much through this collaboration with two top artists. It was so fruitful. Kazunori Kumagai and Kotaro Oshio are both solo artists who face the world head on, alone. They are such powerful individuals. In comparison, I became keenly aware of how small I am. This kind of encounter is undoubtedly inspiring for me as an artist. I am truly grateful for this experience.

Photo: Taro Nishita

Kazunori Kumagai and Kotaro Oshio, thank you very much for such a great collaboration!!!

Kodo Appearance at “Rizumu o Taikan Concert” (Feel the Rhythm Concert)



Singer Hiromi Iwasaki came to see our performance! Here’s a picture with a few of us backstage afterwards.

 (From right: Yuichiro, Kosuke, and I)

Mar. 18 Appearance on TV Kanagawa “tvk Arigato”

Appearance on TV Kanagawa “tvk Arigato” (Thanks tvk)

On Mar. 18 (Wed) at around 13:10, Kodo will appear live on TV program “tvk Arigato.” If you live in Kanagawa, we hope you’ll tune in!


TV Kanagawa “tvk Arigato”
Mar. 18 (Wed) *Kodo will appear around 13:10–13:25.
Appearances: Yuichiro Funabashi, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Rai Tateishi

Program Website: http://www3.tvk-yokohama.com/arigato/

This week we have two Kodo 2015 Special Concert “Michi” performances in Yokohama, on Mar. 19 & 20!

These two performances are almost completely sold out. If you want to see “Michi,” don’t delay! Call for your tickets today!
Inquiries: tvk Ticket Counter Tel. 0570-00-3117 (Weekdays 10:00–18:00) http://www.tvkcom.net/

▶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, Reo Kitabayashi, Masaya Koike, Mizuki Yoneyama (Cast subject to change)
Programme: Zoku, Jang-Gwara, Chonlima, Michi, Shamisen, Monochrome, Miyake, Sankan Shion, Yamauta, O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi

“In Preparation for ‘Michi'” by Tsuyoshi Maeda

Feb. 14, 2015

Kodo 2015 Special Concert “Michi”

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda

This month we began our rehearsals for Kodo 2015 Special Concert “Michi,” which will be held at KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre in Yokohama on March 19 & 20. The programme is nothing but “Kodo classics.” We have taken the pieces that Kodo has honed over the past decades and let our current members recreate them.

For a couple of years, we have been working on all kinds of new challenges and taken a break from the fundamentals of Kodo to date, such as our signature pieces and costumes. With that distance comes new realizations about things until now that had never occurred to us before. It has been a period for us to find out about what defines us as “Kodo” beyond our name.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda

Now, at this particular point in time, we will hold this special concert, Michi, which means “road” or “path.”

Chonlima, Monochrome, Miyake, O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi. We have taken a look at an array of classic Kodo pieces anew. Personally, I deeply feel that a special Kodo aura radiates from within each of these “classic Kodo performance” pieces.

Photo: Erika Ueda

During our rehearsals for Michi, the senior members remind us about our stance, the nuance of each rhythm, how to approach the taiko mentally and emotionally, and they performed with us for the first time in quite a while. This really emphasized to me where my weaknesses lie, and it also made me realize just how high our seniors have set the bar with their own skills.

Rehearsing feels like I’m banging into a wall that I can’t climb over yet, and while I completely frustrate myself everyday, I can also feel a fire burning my belly ignited by motivation. In any case, I am learning a lot every day.

Photo: Satoko Maeda
In Japanese, onkochishin is a phrase we use at times like these, which means “to attempt to discover new things by studying the past.” I can reaffirm what is important for Kodo, what Kodo must never lose, through these rehearsals for Michi. And I want to make a good use of what I learn in brand new creations, too.



▶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, Reo Kitabayashi, Masaya Koike, Mizuki Yoneyama (Cast subject to change)
Programme (TBC): Zoku, Jang-Gwara, Chonlima, Michi, Shamisen, Monochrome, Miyake, Sankan Shion, Yamauta, O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi

“Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” Cast Interviews

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

“Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity”

We are proud to present the third work directed by artistic director Tamasaburo Bando: an evolutionary performance entitled “Eternity.” This production will premiere on Sado Island in November and tour around the major cities in Japan from late November through December. During their intense rehearsals, we interviewed two of the cast members: Mitsuru Ishizuka and Tsuyoshi Maeda.

Interviewees: Mitsuru Ishizuka, Tsuyoshi Maeda
Photos: Takashi Okamoto
From Monthly Japanese Newsletter “Kodo” Vol. 337 issued in July, 2014

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

When I was mulling over the theme of eternity, it occurred to me that “the workings of nature” unfold in spiral patterns. By enumerating “the workings of nature,” maybe we could express “eternity.” Strictly speaking there probably is no such thing as “eternity,” but as things that are connected to it, there’s dawn, light, rain, wind, clouds, waves, stars, dusk, the night sky, and amongst all these, I saw “human beings.”

Tamasaburo Bando

Mitsuru Ishizuka

The Beginnings of the Third Work by our Artistic Director

The creation of this production started without any plan or scenario: it began with the words, “So, what shall we do?” So, it felt new, scary, and exhilarating. We have been working with Tamasaburo Bando for more than ten years, it has been three years since he became our artistic director, and at last we reached a point where we could create a programme with him from scratch. I think Kodo has entered into new territory and this production will be an unprecedented taiko concert.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

A Multitude of Musical Instruments

Kodo is primarily a group that gives concerts that let audiences listen to taiko. But I think the productions directed by Tamasaburo, first “Legend” and then “Mystery,” used taiko and performing arts as a base and then added more visual elements to create concerts for audiences to watch.

I feel that his third programme, “Eternity,” simply depicts human beings, rather than being a “concert” or a “show.” Because of that, there are less pieces where we play taiko with all our might, and more pieces with all kinds of small instruments, which we use express our various emotions. With a multitude of instruments, we portray a range of scenes such as having a conversation, taking a nap, and falling rain.

When I first heard the name “Eternity,” I thought the scale of the theme was so big. But now, in a sense, I think this is going to be our most human, life-sized performance to date.


Tsuyoshi Maeda

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

New Eternity-Themed Pieces

For me, the first thing that sprung to mind as a motif was “nature.” The concept of eternity is hard for me to grasp, but it made me things that create a span like the workings of nature. It also made me think of “time.” Music that loops and creates a trance also creates that sort of span, so this production features new pieces with those kinds of repetitive rhythms. I composed a piece for Eternity called Yogiri (Night Fog), which is played by intently beating the taiko and playing bonang (Indonesian percussion instruments) and rin gongs (Buddhist bells). I created it with the hope that even when this piece ends, it feels like it carries on; even when the sound ends, the musical realm lingers eternally.

Many of the other pieces composed by Kodo members for this programme were also melody-based. I guess that is because we all were trying to express nature and scenery. Perhaps “eternity” makes us all imagine something enormous that cannot be expressed just by looping rhythms. For me, the word “eternity” conjures such a massive image, so it’s hard to comprehend it and connect it to more concrete ideas. It is really difficult to find answers when I start pondering the question, “What is eternity?”


Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity


Nov. 20 (Thu) Amusement Sado, Sado Is., Niigata
Nov. 30 (Sun) City Hall Plaza “Aore Nagaoka,” Nagaoka, Niigata
–”Heartbeat Project” Special Version–
Dec. 2 (Tue) Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, Kawasaki, Kanagawa
Dec. 4 (Thu) Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater Concert Hall, Nagoya, Aichi
Dec. 6 (Sat) & 7 (Sun) NHK Osaka Hall, Osaka City
Dec. 10 (Wed) Okayama Civic Hall, Okayama City
Dec. 12 (Fri) Ueno Gakuen Hall, Hiroshima City
Dec. 15 (Mon) & 16 (Tue) Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka City
Dec. 19 (Fri)–23 (Tue/Public Hol.) Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Dec. 25 (Thu) Niigata Prefectural Civic Center, Niigata City


Kodo Photo Gallery [UPDATE]

We have added pages to our Photo Gallery for performers Masayuki Sakamoto, Kenta Nakagome, and Tsuyoshi Maeda. Please click on the photos below to visit each Gallery page.


Masayuki Sakamoto

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Kenta Nakagome

Photo: Maiko Miyagawa

Tsuyoshi Maeda

Photo: Takashi Okamoto


“Workshop Performance in Ono, Hyogo” by Kenta Nakagome

Kodo Workshop Performance in Ono, Kyoto

This venue is very close to where Tsuyoshi Maeda grew up and many of people who have supported him all along came to see this performance.

Tsuyoshi was so relaxed as he played taiko and sang songs to this audience in response to their warmth and hopes. I’m sure he has kept improving since childhood by performing for them, gaining skill with each performance. I felt that I saw his true roots through this performance. We all enjoyed performing in such a warm atmosphere.

Photo: Mitsunaga MatsuuraPhoto: Mitsunaga Matsuura

This Workshop Performance programme, directed by Tsuyoshi, premiered at the end of 2013. This current tour is the last tour for this particular programme. We have improved as a small ensemble through our performances every day. I know I will enjoy performing this programme right until the very end of our tour!

Sep. – Oct. 2014 Kodo Workshop Performances


Tsuyoshi Maeda: An Interview by Johnny Wales

An Interview with Tsuyoshi Maeda by Johnny Wales

Image 2

Tsuyoshi Maeda, immediately after this interview.
(Photo: Johnny Wales)

Tsuyoshi Maeda was born in the countryside near Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture on August 28th, 1986. He has one older sister. He fondly remembers a childhood playing in the surrounding foothills, fishing with friends from their small school with whom he remained close from kindergarten right through to middle school. Never keen on school work, Tsuyoshi played soccer and loved making music and art. At the age of 11 he joined the local children’s drum group, Hatakko Daiko. Learning taiko, fue, dance and song, it wasn’t long before Tsuyoshi knew that this is what he wanted to do with his life. Unusually, his parents supported that dream from the start. By high school his rehearsals and weekly performances with the group left too little time to carry on with soccer and he broadened his musical training by studying koto and (Japanese harp) shamisen (Japanese banjo) too.

He first came across Kodo in middle school through a CD which he listened to over and over. He went to see the group at a large concert in Kobe and decided then and there that he wanted to be like them. He remembers thinking that they seemed to shine on the stage.

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“Premiere of ‘FLAMENCO Sonezaki Shinju'” by Narumi Matsuda

Tsuyoshi Maeda from Kodo appeared in “FLAMENCO Sonezaki Shinju.”

The opening night performance was held on April 2 at the New National Theatre. It was a really enjoyable flamenco and live music programme. Tsuyoshi played taiko throughout the production and had a key role in each scene.

Photos: Narumi Matsuda

Here are pictures of the gorgeous lobby at the theater and Tsuyoshi working hard to tighten the ropes of the taiko all by himself.

“FLAMENCO Sonezaki Shinju” at New National Theater in Apr. 2 (Wed) – 6 (Thu)


“Rehearsals for ‘FLAMENCO Sonezaki Shinju'” by Narumi Matsuda

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

On February 20, Tsuyoshi Maeda took part in a rehearsal attended by the press for “FLAMENCO Sonezaki Shinju.” The production will take to the stage from April 2-6 at the Playhouse at the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

The musical director Ryudo Uzaki and artistic director/choreographer/lead performer, Arte y Solera’s Hiroki Sato, led the focused rehearsal from after lunch until 8pm.

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