Jan. 1, 2020
New Year’s Greeting from Kodo Ensemble Leader Yuichiro Funabashi
I wish you all a very happy new year!
I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who supported and appreciated our group’s work last year. It’s thanks to all of you that we were able to have a fulfilling year of activities. I would also like to offer my sincere condolences to the people recovering from the typhoons, flooding and other natural disasters that hit Japan and other parts of the world last year.
Looking back over 2019, Kodo kicked off the year with our “Evolution” North America tour. We also took this production to China, where we held our first tour there in 19 years. In Japan, we toured nationwide with “Michi” and our Interactive Performances.
In the summer, we returned to Tokyo’s Asakusa with “Iki,” a special program dedicated to the people of Asakusa. The locals helped us surprise the audience by bringing a slice of Asakusa’s annual festival to the performance. They joined us on stage carrying a portable shrine (mikoshi). It was a dream come true for us to share a taste of their traditional festival with our audience.
Later in the year, we had two wonderful opportunities to share the sound of Kodo with enormous audiences: the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup and the opening event for Japan National Stadium, home to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The grand finale of our 2019 activities was Kodo “Sen no Mai,” a performance celebrating the 40th anniversary of Chieko Kojima‘s performance career. The work featured Chieko along with a cast of Kodo’s next generation. Under Chieko’s direction, they conjured a grand, beautiful realm on stage that enveloped the entire audience. It was a truly joyous production.
This year, first up for us is our “Kodo One Earth Tour: Legacy” tour in Europe. Back at home, we will visit schools and communities throughout Japan with our Interactive Performances. In May, we will premiere our long-awaited new work directed by Robert Le Page: NOVA.
Following our celebrations of Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Chieko Kojima’s performance careers, we are planning further commemoratives works to mark the milestones of other senior Kodo members who forged the foundations of our current activities.
Of course, we look forward to welcoming you all to our homeland, Sado Island, in 2020. We’ll be hosting our springtime Kodo Sado Island Performances in Shukunegi, and summer festival Earth Celebration. We’re working hard to make these events better than ever. Wherever we go, we share the sound of Kodo that was inspired by this wonderful island, and created at Kodo Village. We look forward to sharing the spirit of Sado Island with you, at home and on tour.
I sincerely hope this year is a great year for all of you. I kindly ask for your continued support and encouragement.
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble