Kodo’s mission is to “explore the limitless rhythmic possibilities of taiko, and in the process, forge new directions for a vibrant living art-form.”
But I also believe that taiko has the endless ability to gather and connect people.
This is what I think is the most attractive aspect of taiko.
Tomorrow marks our final performance of our two-month-long North American tour of ‘Evolution.’
We were so lucky to have met and reunited again with new and olds friends across this continent.
To the local taiko groups who are talented in so many ways in embracing their creativity, and to our long time friends who have been watching and listening to our performances from way back when: Thank you so much to everyone who has come out to our performances this year!
Everyone’s passionate hearts for taiko definitely gave us energy and strength to pull through the tour.
The possibilities are still limitless.
Who have we not met yet? Who is still out there? What will our friendships bring?
These are just a few thoughts that excite me!
Hi everyone, I’m Ami Akimoto. In March, I was touring for the first time with Kodo as an assistant manager on the “Evolution” North America tour.
I have seen Kodo’s performances as an audience member many times before, however there was so much more that to learn about Kodo that I not seen before stepping behind the scenes as a staff member on this tour.
As I spent time on this tour, I had realised that there are so many different thoughts that existed in all the people who were a part of or had encountered Kodo. The performance and staff members on the tour all had their own reasons and unique thoughts, individual challenges, personal goals, and uncertainties to overcome. But there was always a sense of respect and understanding towards each other, which may assist in creating the feeling of ‘oneness’ as a group, transforming each performance into something spectacular on stage.
Personally, as I spent more time with the members, I found that the feelings I had towards watching each performance changed as well. I gained a new sense of appreciation and started to notice something new every time.
I had also discovered, through the direct contact with the audience members as part of my role in the tour, that the audience members all had very unique thoughts and different senses of appreciation for the performance they saw. It was not only from the love they had for taiko: there were also people who enjoyed the energy they felt through all senses in their body. There were people who seemed to be filled with a sense of courage and passion, perhaps simply from seeing the beaming performers on stage. And others who felt motivated to change in a positive way after seeing the dedication from the performers, just to name a few. I felt that this was proof of Kodo’s ability to connect and create something special that resonated and lingered differently within the souls of many people.
This was also true for the many local venue volunteers and staff members, bus drivers and stage hand staff that we met during the tour. Whether there was a common language spoken or not, it seemed that there were always smiles and positivity wherever we travelled, and new connections and relationships formed.
As I spent time on the tour, I realised that there are many feelings, numerous different reasons, and countless desires that wondrously co-exist and bring everyone together.
In line with the wish behind the title “One Earth Tour,” I hope that Kodo continues to be a special part of many souls, overcoming language and cultural barriers, resonating with an even wider audience from around the world.
Furthermore, I hope that the art of taiko can help to bring people together to understand one another, to form many special connections, and create infinite possibilities!
There are thirty-three Kodo performers. They range in age from 21 to 68 years old, just like a big family.
Each of our performances has a unique cast selected from that large group. As you’d expect within a big ensemble, the members are all closer to some of their colleagues than others. However, one thing we often hear from our audience are comments about perfect coordination, synchronicity, and teamwork. So where does that come from?
Today is our first day of work on location for our two-month-long North America tour.
The Smith Center is a new, art-deco style theater in a redeveloped area near downtown Las Vegas. This theater hosts performances by world-class classical, jazz, and rock artists.
Still struggling with jet lag, the tour members all began unpacking their instruments, which had been shipped over from Japan. They checked the condition of all the drums and set up for the first performance, while meticulously organizing all the equipment for the long tour ahead.
Lifting heavy instruments onto stands, tuning drums by tightening the heads, and choosing the position for each drum on the stage… I really notice their synchronicity and feel that sense of teamwork when I see them carry out this type of work and their various discussions and checks. These are all important team tasks at beginning of the tour.
The curtain is about to rise for the opening night of “Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution.”
I hope you’ll come along to experience the unique groove this particular cast creates on stage.
Winter is on its way and the autumn leaves on Sado Island won’t be around for much longer.
When I see the mark for snow show up on the weekend weather forecast, I know it’s time to brace ourselves for another long, cold winter.
It’s easy to get sick now the temperature is much lower in the mornings and evenings, so it’s a good time to actively increase your intake of probiotic lactic-acid bacilli and get your gut microbiome in order!
So, on the menu this month at Kodo Village we’ve had:
*Grilled Fish (Saury) Saury (sanma in Japanese) is an exemplary bluefish. Blue fish oil lowers cholesterol.
*Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria-Packed Soup
This soup has soy milk, kimchi, and miso in it. Kimchi contains plant lactic acid bacteria, which regulates the intestines. The pungent component of kimchi increases your metabolism and disintegrates fat.
*Sweet Potato Salad
We use yoghurt as a dressing. Yoghurt makes good bacteria activate, so it helps prevent constipation. Walnuts bring an enjoyable crunch element to the dish.
All of sudden it’s cool and comfortable on Sado Island. It’s so different to the summer heat that was here not long ago.
The other day, we did some agricultural work with the Kodo apprentices at a persimmon orchard managed by Mr. Shokei Kusaka at Konin-ji, a temple in Hamochi. Mr. Kusaka teaches us how to do debudding, cut the weeds, and pick the persimmons properly.
When we went to the orchard, the apprentices exclaimed:
“Those small persimmons have gotten so big!”
“What a beautiful shade of orange, they look delicious!”
“We’ll have to work hard to harvest them all.”
We harvested the persimmons, learning from Mr. Kusaka how to pick them without damaging them. After picking the fruit, we put alcohol on them to remove the astringency and carefully pack them into boxes.
The apprentices’ wishes for a swift delivery are also sealed in each parcel along with the sun-ripened persimmons.
We hope they reach everyone quickly and safely.
If a box is heading your way, we hope you enjoy this delicious taste of autumn!
(These persimmon are sent annually to selected supporters in Japan and members of Kodo no Kai)
About Kodo no Kai
To join our Japanese-language supporter service Kodo no Kai, please contact us by email or see our website for details (in Japanese only).