Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader, Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

Yuichiro Funabashi
I wish you a very happy new year.
I am sure that you all had a very difficult time over the course of the past year due to the effects of the spread of COVID-19. For us, we were able to resume our touring in Japan with strict COVID-19 countermeasures in place, but we had to abandon our planned performances overseas until the pandemic situation greatly improves. These circumstances have been very harsh for us, but thanks to the support and words of encouragement that everyone has given us, we were all able to start 2021 in good spirits. Once again, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has helped us through this tough time.
The past year was a hectic blur, so I’m surprised it’s already time to write another New Year greeting. There were so many things we were unable to do last year, but on the other hand, there were many things we could do and think about due to the free time created by the pandemic. In the thick of the ongoing difficulties, we sought out various ways to express ourselves and developed the strength to take on new challenges. I’ve been able to reaffirm the appeal of Sado Island, the power of taiko, and the joy of performing in front of an audience.
This year marks Kodo’s 40th anniversary. In addition to a diverse program of performances, we’ll be focusing on offerings such as video streaming and teaching projects to bring the magic of Kodo to an even wider audience. We want to connect with our audience more deeply, too. We hope that as many of you as possible will enjoy our performances and initiatives this year. I believe that last year was a time when the Kodo group gained strength. We will use this strength to push forward so we can continue to bring the sound of taiko from Sado Island to every corner of the world for the next 50 years, 100 years, and beyond. As the new year begins, I hope that the spread of COVID-19 will come to a swift end, and that this year will be a good one for all of us. I would also like to ask for your continued guidance and encouragement throughout the year ahead.

Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

January 2021

Takuro Susaki

Takuro Susaki
I wish you a very happy new year.
Our “Tsuzumi” performance tour began in November last year. While audience numbers had to be restricted to 50% of the usual theater capacity, we were truly grateful to the many people who came to see our performances in person.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude and respect to the many healthcare workers and essential workers who support our society. I can’t thank you enough for making it possible for us to resume our performances little by little under the current circumstances.
At this time last year, no one could have imagined that 2020 would have panned out how it did. The situation that unfolded drastically changed our everyday lives, just like it did for people all over the world. For us, the biggest changes were that we couldn’t hold performances and we couldn’t travel.
Last year in spring, I wrote a message in a corner of Kodo’s Japanese newsletter that said, “I believe that we will be able to share our positive energy with you again one day.” When I reflect on those words now, I realize that we were able to share our positive energy with you all along. It wasn’t impossible.
2020 taught me that regardless of the situation, you can share positive energy, whether it’s online or in your thoughts and heart.
What kind of year will 2021 will be? As Kodo celebrates its 40th anniversary, I think we need to take a good look at where we are standing now and where we are heading. With that in mind, I want us to spend this year thinking about the role we can play for the people and the world around us.
I hope you all have a safe year ahead and that you will share your positive energy with us, too.

Takuro Susaki
President
Kitamaesen Co., Ltd.

January 2021

Minoru Ikarashi
Chairperson, Kodo Cultural Foundation

Minoru Ikarashi

Happy New Year!

I would like to thank you all for your generous support and kindness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Thanks to your generous support, Kodo Cultural Foundation and the Kodo Group were able to make it through that year. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you all.
This unprecedented global pandemic caused many of Kodo’s performances and events to be canceled. From April to July, the situation was particularly bad. Most performing arts events and activities had to be canceled, despite great efforts to stop the spread of the virus. It was an extremely difficult situation. We apologize to everyone for all the issues caused by these disruptions.
Amidst those circumstances, we have been doing our utmost to keep the flames of performing arts burning.
Living and beating the drums are synonymous. Our inability to perform due to the COVID-19 pandemic gave the Kodo group a chance to reevaluate what we were doing. We realized that taiko is something that cheers people up, encourages society, is essential to people’s lives, and is something that we must never lose. “Ignite the fire within and drum your heart out.” These words of encouragement have driven Kodo forward for decades, and they are especially relevant now.
We have been giving our all to new challenges, focusing on the things we can do right now. For example, we held our annual festival Earth Celebration online last year, we presented small-scale performances with COVID-19 countermeasures in place, and we have been sharing new music. We are also working on developing new initiatives. For instance, the Foundation is developing an online taiko training program with Kitamaesen and the members of Kodo.
Every night has its dawn. And, as the saying goes, it’s always the darkest before the dawn. I want to keep looking ahead, walking forward with purpose towards the light of each new day. This year, let’s all work together to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. A bright future awaits us, so let’s keep moving towards it.
I know that we will continue to face difficult times for some time to come, so please take good care of yourselves and have a good year. I sincerely hope that we can count on your continued support of the Kodo Group. 

Minoru Ikarashi
Chairperson
Kodo Cultural Foundation

January 2021