Tag ‘Yoshikazu Fujimoto’
Uchiko-za Theater Centennial Ceremony
On Feb. 20, I attended the Uchiko-za Theater Centennial Ceremony in Ehime as Kodo’s representative.
Kodo gave its first Uchiko-za performance in 1997, which was organized by a local committee that also provided home stays for our members. We have enjoyed a close relationship with our friends in Uchiko ever since. They have held seven Kodo performances to date.
The ceremony took place at Uchiko-za Theater in the afternoon and was followed by a reception at the Ikazaki Local Center. At the reception, I showed Kodo’s gratitude to Uchiko and the theater by playing taiko for them. I was happy to hear that our friends in Uchiko were pleased by my performance. I will continue to treasure our special connection with Uchiko and I sincerely wish the town all the best for the future.
On the 3rd & 4th, the first weekend in October, I led a two-day live-in workshop in my hometown, Kyotanba Wachi in Kyoto Prefecture. The 24 participants who joined me there traveled from Tokyo, Kanagawa, Gunma, Gifu, Hiroshima, Okayama, Mie, Nara, Hyogo, Osaka, Fukui, Shiga, Kyoto, and as far away as Canada. We enjoyed a very intense weekend of making good vibrations and connections together in Wachi.
The venue was Wachi Taiko’s practice hall, which used to be an elementary school in Wachi. Now the former school building has a new purpose.
Thankfully, it was a sunny autumn weekend. So we got to go outside on the school field and play “air taiko” to practise the taiko rhythms as we sang them out loud. It felt so good to have the grass under our bare feet. It was the best place to hold a camp! Everyone stayed at a Japanese inn in front of JR Wachi Stn. called Kadoya Ryokan. We had a dinner party there and we all had such a great time eating, drinking, chatting and dancing together.
On the Sunday morning, Wachi Taiko was invited to perform at a sports festival on the plains where Wachi Taiko originated. So we went to Fujinomori Shrine and I played Wachi Taiko as a special offering with the members of the Wachi Taiko preservation group, Wachi Taiko Hozonkai. All the taiko camp participants came along to watch us drum.
We plan to hold this “O-daiko Camp” every year in my hometown. If the timing didn’t suit you this time, I hope you can make it next time! Please come along. I’ll be early waiting for you with the presenter, Wachi Taiko Hozonkai (Wachi Taiko Preservation Group).
Photos: Mr. Takeshi Emoto of Wachi Taiko Hozonkai
Kodo Cultural Foundation Project: “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” Live-in Workshops
O-daiko & Ogi Matsuri Daiko with Yoshikazu Fujimoto
From Jul. 3 through 5, I led a “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” live-in workshop for eleven participants. The group was made up of men and women of various ages from all over Japan, as well as four people from overseas who came along to play taiko for the first time. It was such a mixed bunch: the youngest participant was 17 and the eldest was 68 years old! We had four workshop sessions in all: Day 1 afternoon, Day 2 morning & afternoon, and Day 3 morning. I used these sessions to teach them O-daiko, where they face the drum and beat it, and Ogi Matsuri Daiko, where they drum standing side-on to the drum, plus a further two pieces. It was tough for them to learn all the different rhythms to play, but they all worked hard and managed to get through each piece. They came together as one, and I was so happy! I breathed a sigh of relief.
On the first day we had a BBQ outside, and I poured my heart and soul into making my specialty egg dish, dashi maki tamago, for them all to enjoy.
Kazuaki Tomida has arrived on Sado to begin rehearsing for his performance with Yoshikazu Fujimoto at EC Theatre next month.
Upon his arrival, he began creating some items to use to decorate the theater. After discussing what elements to include, Yoshikazu Fujimoto first drew a picture and Tomida then wrote the text. The completed curtain will greet their audience on the day of the performance.
“Fujimotomida” made its debut performance last year at Tiara Koto in Tokyo. During their practice, it’s hard for me to tell where their discussion time ends and their performance practise begins…
Their earnestness is impenetrable as they rehearse. Their rehearsals are extremely serious.
Mr. Tomida says that he has chosen his favorite “Yoshikazu pieces” for this performance. With one month to the performance date, the artists are holding on to every discovery they make.
Follow Kazuaki Tomida’s blog here for more about this rehearsal: (in Japanese)
Tickets are on sale now!
If advanced tickets sell out, there will be no tickets available on the day of the performance, so don’t delay! Reserve your seat today!
Taiko Workshops in New Zealand
My taiko workshops at IPC Tertiary Institute in Palmerston North, New Zealand, went very well. The workshops were hosted by the members of IPC’s taiko group, Kodama. They gathered participants for the workshops by spreading the word around other taiko teams in New Zealand. On the first day I led workshops for Kodama, and then on Days 2 & 3 I gave open workshops for taiko players from all over NZ.
Kodama was formed 25 years ago and is the oldest of all the 13 taiko groups in NZ. It was set up by Japanese students studying in NZ who formerly played taiko in Japan, so even now many of their members are Japanese students. They held my workshops at their dojo on the university campus.
There is a wonderful building next to their dojo that has a dining hall and guest accommodations, so it was the perfect set-up for a live-in taiko workshop.
I was so happy to have the chance to come to NZ by myself. Kodo has never been there, so I was really lucky. I really want to develop our connection with their taiko community, so I did my best, as always, to lead passionate, fun workshops. It was a real pleasure to see that the participants were delighted with the workshops I led.
“O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule for ‘Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring'” by Kodai Mazaki
O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule
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.
Yoshikazu Fujimoto is heading to New Zealand for the first time, where he will lead taiko and bamboo flute workshops.
If you live in NZ, or fancy a trip there, please sign up and take part!
Dates: June 5 (Fri)–7 (Sun), 2015
Venue: International Pacific College, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Instructor: Yoshikazu Fujimoto
For further details and to book, please contact the organizer directly:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Saki Iwasawa)
Details also available on Facebook.
On Feb. 19, Motofumi Yamaguchi and I visited some TV stations and a radio station in Kumamoto to promote “Uto Taiko Matsuri.” We gave a mini live performance at each station.
I led a taiko camp from Feb. 20 (Fri) to 22 (Sun), and on the final day, the participants had a recital at Uto Taiko Matsuri to show everyone what they had learned during the camp. Each year, this recital is the first act at the festival. First, we sang “Hobashira Okoshi Ondo” and then we played a new piece called “Narukami, which means “Thunder God.” The ten participants, including three local high school students, had joined me there from all over Japan. I was really pleased that they all took part. Some of them were just beginners, but I had them play simple base rhythms and we were all able to play together.
Seeking Participants for My Upcoming “Taiko Camp in Uto”
This year will mark my third “Taiko Camp in Uto” in Uto City, Kumamoto Prefecture. It is my pleasure to teach others about my own personal stance and mindset for playing o-daiko (the big drum), using the unique, traditional Uto o-daiko drums. The pieces we will work on this time differ from those I shared at the first and second camps.
Taiko Camp in Uto with Kodo’s Yoshikazu Fujimoto
Yoshikazu Fujimoto will head back to Kyushu in February to offer another energetic taiko camp in Uto City, Kumamoto, which is home to 26 keyaki o-daiko (large taiko drums made from Japanese zelkova). This three-day/two-night workshop is designed to allow people to come and experience “taiko life” through Yoshikazu’s character, rather than to learn specific skills. We hope you’ll join him there!
Feb. 20 (Fri)–22 (Sun), 2015 Uto Shimin Kaikan, Uto, Kumamoto
Instructor: Yoshikazu Fujimoto (Kodo)
Fee: 40,000 yen (Accommodations and drumsticks included)
Inquiries:”Kodo Uto Tokubetsu Koen” Staff, Uto Shimin Kaikan Tel. 0964-22-0188
Note: Workshop instruction will be in Japanese only, but everyone is welcome!