Leader, Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble
I wish you a very happy new year.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you all for the support we received last year. We greatly appreciate it.
The past year was filled with a variety of performance opportunities for Kodo in Japan and abroad. We toured throughout Europe with our ongoing One Earth Tour, sharing Tsuzumi with audiences overseas for the first time. In Japan, we toured with our School Workshop Performances, main stage production Warabe, and a brand new work Cycles, featuring all new compositions. We returned to Asakusa Public Hall for the first time in three years with a new production, Shoso, which we also shared globally via livestreams. In 2022, we presented Noism x Kodo ‘Oni,’ a long-awaited collaboration with dance company Noism, who also hail from Niigata. At our annual festival Earth Celebration, we had a wonderful on-stage reunion with guitarist Miyavi and Shamisen performer Hiromitsu Agatsuma, bringing our soulful collaboration to a live audience for the first time. We released new albums, a DVD, and enjoyed sharing more digital content such as livestreams and online radio programs throughout the year, too.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we kept pushing ahead. Spurred on by many new encounters and experiences, the members of Kodo continued to hone their skills. When I reflect on the year gone by, I can sense how much everyone has grown.
As 2023 begins, we will dive into rehearsals for our first collaborative work with Tamasaburo Bando in five years, Yugen. In late January, we are excited to return to North America for the first time in four years, touring there for two months with Tsuzumi. In February, we will present the inaugural One Earth Music Festival in Tokyo, which is a chance for Kodo and high school taiko groups to perform Kodo’s One Earth Music compositions together. From spring onwards, we have a range of performances planned throughout Japan, including tours with Cycles and a new production set to premiere in June: Calling. We also have a year-end tour with a production directed by Yoshie Abe on the agenda. Here on Sado Island, we look forward to welcoming people to a range of fun events, from taiko experiences and workshops to our annual festival Earth Celebration and the Kodo Sado Island Performances in Shukunegi.
The sound of our taiko will echo out from Sado Island to the world, and from the world to Sado Island. This year we will continue our One Earth Tour—our mission to remind people of the common bonds we all share. We will strive to connect people through the resonant sound of taiko, creating moments and spaces brimming with joy and smiling faces.
I sincerely hope that the year ahead is a great one for you and yours.
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit and we will strive to make it a year of success.
I would like to thank you in advance for your ongoing support and encouragement as Kodo forges ahead.
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble
President, Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.
Happy New Year.
I am sincerely grateful to everyone who supported Kodo last year. Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we were still able to continue our activities thanks to our supporters. Looking back at the three years that have passed since 2020, we often faced new challenges and had to focus on what was right in front of us. However, it was because of this that our eyes were opened to the constant factors in our lives, such as Sado’s natural environment, each other’s presence, the daily meals we quietly consumed, and the sound of taiko.
Taiko drums are simple instruments, so they convey the drummer’s feelings directly to us. If the drummer wants to play well, that feeling will come through. If the drummer is only thinking of themselves, the sound will be rather dull and not carry well. So we like to look up, and just drum like nothing has changed. If we keep doing our best when we play, I think we become one with the taiko.
Under the banner of “One Earth,” we travel the world with our taiko. We believe that when myriad cultures and ways of life resonate together, it reminds people we are all connected as humans on Earth. Achieving this may be difficult in these times we live in, but I hope that we can come out of our shells and be like the sound of taiko itself, resonating with people all over the world.
I kindly ask for your unwavering support.
Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.
Chairperson, Kodo Cultural Foundation
Happy New Year.
I would like to sincerely thank you for your support for the Kodo Group last year. While the coronavirus pandemic was still ongoing last year, we managed to gradually resume our activities.
In particular, despite the restricted numbers at our annual festival Earth Celebration held on Sado Island in summer, it was great to be able to hold a live event. This was like a special gift from our supporters, so thank you. It was a good reminder of the significance of holding Earth Celebration as an outdoor festival.
Also, I’m pleased to report that a cafe has opened at Sado Island Taiko Centre, which is a hive of activity when events are held. These days, we have a lot more opportunities for students on school trips to experience taiko here at the Centre, too.
We have also made new efforts to spread the word about Exadon, a taiko-based health promotion and preventive healthcare program that was co-developed by Kodo and a medical specialist. We have been training Exadon facilitators who are key to spreading the program further afield. We plan to increase our efforts in promoting this program throughout the year ahead. Taiko makes people happy and healthy, so with our aging society in mind, we feel it is an important contribution that we can make to society.
As the new year begins, I would also like to encourage everyone currently training at Kodo Apprentice Centre. They hold the future of Kodo in their hands. Running the Apprentice Centre during the pandemic was very difficult, but moving forward, I hope that we can continue to funnel the power of youth into the world of taiko in Japan and further afield.
Taiko drums are instruments that connect people with people, and people with nature. Amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I am acutely aware of the role of taiko performing arts for world peace. Fostering connections beyond cultures and languages is the Kodo Group’s philosophy—striving to foster a sense of oneness. One Earth.
In the wake of the pandemic, I hope that our society will return to normal this year. Take care of yourselves, everyone, and I hope you have a good year.
I thank you sincerely for your ongoing support and encouragement of Kodo Group.
Kodo Cultural Foundation