Takao Aoki
President, Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.

青木孝夫

Living things constantly destroy their cells as they simultaneously create new cells. They do this to maintain order and continue living.

Create and destroy, create and destroy.
I think this cycle of creation and dismantling is what allows life-forms to truly grow.

Perhaps we can say the same for the organization of human society. The past and future, tradition and innovation are simultaneously progressing, and through repeated creation and disassembly, we are left with now.

To maintain order, to continue to live, I think it is also important for an organization to anticipate what lies ahead, create and destroy, create and destroy, and continually change itself.

The arts are like an endless path. Satisfaction means to maintain the status quo, but I think it is impossible to reach a point of satisfaction or security on this road.

Eighteen years have passed since Kodo first met Tamasaburo Bando. Kodo members have expanded their expressive range and continued to grow under Mr. Bando’s revered instruction, and now the time has come for our members to create and direct new works of their own. This year, we will present “Michi” in early summer, directed by Kodo Ensemble Leader Yuichiro Funabashi, and a new work directed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, “MEGURU,” in the fall.

Last year, the Kodo Group climbed a new mountain. However, from the “summit” of that challenge, we could see another peak on the horizon. Now, I think it is time for our group to bravely set out to conquer the next challenge.

This year, I want our group to keep moving forward with pioneering spirit, enjoying the journey and unexpected encounters along the way. We will continue to aim for new heights as we share the many activities of Kodo now.

I think Kodo’s strength lies in tradition and innovation. I hope our group will treasure that balance as it constantly tackles new challenges, with the help of our many supporters.

I sincerely ask for your continued support of the Kodo Group’s activities this year.

Takao Aoki
President
Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.

January 2018

Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader, Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

船橋裕一郎

Another new year has begun: 2018. Last year was another whirlwind yet fulfilling year for Kodo. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for everything those twelve months entailed for our ensemble.

We will kick off 2018 with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Evolution” in Europe, which will be followed by an action-packed line up including Sado Performances in Shukunegi, School Performances, Interactive Performances, Earth Celebration, and a wide array of collaborations. Here in Japan, we will be touring in the early summer with “Michi,” and from fall with a brand new work “MEGURU” directed by Yuta Sumiyoshi.

Michi will return to the stage with reimagined arrangements of the signature Kodo classics that our ensemble has upheld for decades. As director, I aim to pinpoint and embody the quintessential Kodo form so that we can focus on understanding Kodo’s “DNA” and handing that on to the next generation of performers.

I anticipate that our new work MEGURU is going to break the mold with ingenious, radical expression, generated by boundless youthful energy. Kodo will continue to present performances like Michi that are simultaneously steadfast and new to further our ensemble’s activities. Alongside our cornerstone performances, we will continue to tackle new challenges in expression like MEGURU.

Furthermore, we are planning a special event at the end of this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kodo Distinguished Member Yoshikazu Fujimoto‘s career as a performer. This is a man who has stood apart as a pioneer in performing arts and remains in a class of his own.
Watching over and raising the next generation is very important, and we have learned the magnificence of undertaking these tasks ourselves by observing many performing arts. As we celebrate the career of our group’s most senior member, we would like to express our gratitude for Kodo’s ability to carry out a wide range of activities each year. The Kodo Group looks forward to congratulating Yoshikazu along with the entire audience who gathers for this auspicious event.

Our group has been based on Sado Island for almost half a century. We remain dedicated to bringing the sound of Kodo to people far and wide, using the beat of our drums and the heart of our group to connect people.

I sincerely hope that this year will be a good year for all of you. Once again, I kindly ask for your continued support and encouragement.

Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

January 2018

Minoru Ikarashi
Chairperson, Kodo Cultural Foundation

Minoru Ikarashi

Thank you in advance for your continued support throughout 2018.

Thanks to your encouragement in 2017, I successfully made my way through my first year as chairperson of the Foundation. Thank you very much indeed.

Kodo Cultural Foundation commemorated a number of important milestones in 2017: two decades since the Foundation was established, three decades of Kodo and Sado’s annual festival, “Earth Celebration,” and one decade since Sado Island Taiko Centre opened its doors in 2007.

Speaking of Earth Celebration (EC), the festival broadened its scope in 2016 to encompass the whole of Sado Island. Another significant change that year was the transformation of the key concert events from EC’s iconic hilltop Shiroyama Concerts to the new Harbour Market Live performances at nearby Ogi Port Park. The new-style of concert has been well received, for which we are grateful.

Last year, we took time to reflect on the Nihon Kai Daigaku (The Sea of Japan College) Project, which led to the foundation of Kodo’s antecedent group, Sado no Kuni Ondekoza. We held seminars based on that theme and we plan to continue holding these seminars and similar events as a forum for exchange with members of our supporter club, Kodo no Kai.

Undoubtedly, our Foundation’s greatest mission is to nurture Kodo’s next generation. This year, I want to put more effort into expanding our recruitment and maintaining our training facilities.

Another goal for the Foundation this year is to focus more on Sado Island, the home of the Kodo Group’s many activities. We want to help Sado Island make progress through increased cooperation with Sado City. The promotion of local development is a huge issue for regional areas throughout Japan. We want to contribute more and encourage development here on Sado Island.

As you may know, Kodo Cultural Foundation was at the heart of the developing EXADON, a taiko-centered fitness program that couples preventative care and health promotion for seniors. This year, we will dedicate ourselves to broadening this outreach program in the hope that EXADON provides vital social aid here and further afield.

In 2018, we will work with stronger dedication as we strive to overcome the various challenges that loom before us.
I sincerely ask for your invaluable guidance and encouragement throughout the year ahead.

Minoru Ikarashi
Chairperson
Kodo Cultural Foundation