Ten Fun Facts About Kodo “Evolution”

Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, Kodo is forging new directions for a vibrant living art-form. In early 2018, we return to Europe with our latest production, “Evolution.” Here are some fun facts to read about this new production before you head to the theater.

1. Ayaori is played on newly-designed drums that produce a different key on either side.

Ayaori means “twill weave.” This composition is performed by three drummers playing katsugi okedo daiko (portable barrel drums). At first glance, these three drums look like regular barrel drums, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. This innovative taiko, Kanade, was developed by Kodo performer Masayuki Sakamoto in collaboration with renowned Japanese taiko maker, Asano Taiko. Recipient of the Japan Good Design Award in 2015, it’s the world’s first taiko that lets a performer tune the drumhead on either side to a different key. In Ayaori, the drummers use the two-tones of the drum and a range of different drumsticks to weave a multitude of tones into a musical tapestry.

2. The performers use handheld switches to control their overhead lights in Ake no Myojo.

Set in a realm of darkness, captivating Ake no Myojo is a dynamic yet haunting piece. Its name means “Venus in the morning sky.” Each performer appears wearing a light overhead that they control using a handheld switch to create two light patterns. This complex piece challenges the performers to drum, sing, and dance in rapidly-changing formations, all while carefully controlling their individual overhead light.

3. The climatic finale, Rasen, has a special significance to the production.

“Evolution” showcases Kodo’s classic and latest repertoire and its climax is the finale, Rasen, which means “spiral.” In fact, this production premiered in Japan as “Kodo One Earth Tour: Spiral” to match the Japanese production name, “Rasen.” In the eponymous final number, the performers conjure a spiral as they perform in turn, creating a whirling vortex of energy that envelops the entire audience. Rasen also depicts a helix of sound and spirit that connects Kodo’s history to its present and continually drives the ensemble headstrong into the future. Refrains from long-upheld Kodo signature pieces emerge within the fervent torrent of beats as the next generation pays homage to the past while asserting their own dedication to the evolution of taiko performing arts.


Kodo Members Take on a Challenging New Role in “Yugen”

The climax of our new production with Tamasaburo Bando, “Yugen,” features five colorful beasts. Two Kodo members appear in this role alongside Tamasaburo Bando, Jusuke Hanayagi and a Hanayagi dancer. They are Kengo Watanabe and Kodai Yoshida.

The picture below is of Kodai Yoshida (Kodo), Jusuke Hanayagi (center), and Kengo Watanabe (Kodo), backstage at the Nagoya performances.

And here they are again, transformed into shishi (beasts).

They look forward to seeing you at the theater for “Yugen”!

Tamasaburo Bando x Kodo Special Performance “Yugen” (Japan)

Yugen Programmes Available at Performance Venues!


Kodo member Reo Kitabayashi would like to draw your attention to the “Yugen” programme, which is on sale in the lobby at every performance.

The 52-page, full-color programme includes a special interview with Tamasaburo Bando, candid conversations about “Yugen” with Kodo members, a synopsis of each iconic story portrayed in the production, rehearsal photos, an introduction to Noh theater, and much, much more!

Purchase yours before the performance to look behind the scenes and read all about this unique production! (Note: Japanese text only)

Yugen Programme
Color/ 52 pages / 2,000 yen (tax incl.)

Tamasaburo Bando x Kodo Special Performance “Yugen” (Japan)

Sold-Out Premiere Performances of “Yugen” in Tokyo

May 21, 2017

We are pleased to announce that all five of the premiere performances of “Yugen” at Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo were sold out. Thank you very much to everyone who came along!
Next, we will share Yugen with audiences in Niigata and Nagoya. We look forward to seeing you at one of the theaters below very soon.

Sneak Peak at “Yugen” on Stage

Photos: Takashi Okamoto

Tamasaburo Bando

 Masayuki Sakamoto (Kodo)

Hanayagi-ryu Dancers with Kodo

Tamasaburo Bando with Hayato Otsuka (Kodo)

From left: Kodai Yoshida (Kodo), Masakatsu Hanayagi, Tamasaburo Bando, Jusuke Hanayagi, Kengo Watanabe (Kodo)

Tamasaburo Bando

Tamasaburo Bando x Kodo Special Performance “Yugen” (Japan)

Update Regarding Kodo Members who Recently Returned from Touring Abroad (Current as of Mar. 25, 2020)|Kodo PR Team

March 25, 2020

Thank you for your continued support of Kodo’s activities.
We understand that many people are concerned about the Kodo members who returned from touring abroad last week, so please allow us to share an update with you all.

1. Details about Kodo members who recently returned from Europe (Kodo One Earth Tour 2020: Legacy)
・This tour commenced at the end of January and visited 9 countries before an early finale in Liverpool (UK) on March 15. As previously announced, our March performances planned for Italy, Poland, and Germany were all canceled.
・The 18 Kodo members (cast and crew) left Europe on March 17, flying out from London Heathrow International Airport (UK) to return to Japan, arriving at Narita International Airport (UK) on March 18.
・The 2 Kodo staff who traveled separately to the UK on business to attend Kodo’s London performances also left the UK on March 17 and arrived in Japan on March 18.

2. Details about one Kodo member who recently returned from North America (Chieko Kojima Solo Performance and Workshop Tour) 
From mid-February, Chieko Kojima spent approximately one month in the USA and Canada, before returning to Japan, landing at Narita International Airport on March 18.

・The Japanese Government announced on March 21 a request for people who arrived in Japan from Europe and other countries to stay at home for 2 weeks. This was 3 days after our members returned to Japan, but from the day they arrived back in Japan, all returning Kodo members and staff have been: (1) staying at home, (2) checking and reporting their temperature twice a day, and (3) keeping a record of their movements.
・Returnees who reside at Kodo Village—our base on Sado Island—have not been in contact with Kodo members and staff who weren’t on tour. They are temporarily staying 1km from Kodo Village at Fukaura Schoolhouse, where they are monitoring their health away from others.
・As of March 24, no Kodo members show any signs of being unwell.
・The returnees will continue to monitor their health and avoid any non-essential, non-urgent outings.
・Kodo members and staff who have not traveled overseas recently are also checking their temperature twice a day and looking after themselves.
・On April 1, when a full two weeks has passed since the returnees arrived in Japan, the Kodo Group plans to check every member’s condition before resuming rehearsals together.

In hopes of reducing the causes of concern to our supporters and the citizens of Sado Island, every Kodo member is taking extra care in their daily activities.

The Kodo Group will continue to put health and safety first by keeping in close contact with Sado Heath, Welfare and Environment Department and updating our measures based on the latest information.

For detailed information regarding the Kodo Group’s response to Coronavirus Disease (CVID-19), please see below.

Updated: Kodo Group Response to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


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