“Deep into the Woods of Japanese Culture” by Melanie Taylor

This month Kodo is performing at Kabukiza Theatre as musicians for the new Kabuki production “Yugen.” It’s based on the sellout Tamasaburo Bando and Kodo collaboration last year, which went by the same name. Both the 2017 production and 2018 Kabuki are based on three iconic Noh plays: The Feather Robe, The Stone Bridge, and Dojoji Temple.

So, why see a new Kabuki work based on a collaboration based on Noh?
In short, this production is a trip to a deep, dark, intriguing part of Japan that you won’t find on TripAdvisor or the like.
You may not realize it from the flier, but this is your chance to go off the beaten track and deep into the woods of Japanese culture.

I saw last year’s version three times, and this year’s twice so far. I’m going back for a third time before it ends on Sep. 26. There’s something quite addictive about the world they conjure on stage and I feel compelled to go again while I have the chance.

In all honesty, this is unlike any Kabuki I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend quite a few performances at Kabukiza Theatre over the past decade.
The big difference for me is probably the powerful beat. There is something about twenty Kodo performers on that immense stage playing with such soul and precision that draws you in and carries you away with more force than usual. As if connecting the audience to the stage on a primal, foot-tap inducing level, I felt the addition of more drums and new music made the Kabuki less foreign and more superhuman than usual. Prepare to be stunned by the power, grace, and presence of the actors. It’s extraordinary and breathtaking.

Quite simply, Yugen is a spectacular, entertaining event that will show you Japanese culture with splendour and intensity, give you goosebumps, make your jaw drop and your heart beat in time with the stage and audience members.
While it might be the most Japanese experience you’ll have in Japan, I suspect you’ll also leave feeling more connected to the humans all over the world. I can’t help but thinking that human beings doing their best on stage, right before our eyes, inspire us all the more in whatever we strive to do each day. In an age of YouTube and people happy to watch a DVD if they can’t attend a performance, “Yugen” reminds us of the many roles of the theater: to delight, to surprise, to remind us of human effort and ability, and to recharge our souls. I could go on.

I don’t want to add any spoilers, so I’ll just urge you once more: if you’re in or near Tokyo, I really hope you can see this performance.

And I invite you to share your feedback after you attend.
Kodo will be using this valuable experience to inspire our new compositions and productions, so we would appreciate your insight to help us entertain you all the more!

Kodo Appearance in New Kabuki Production “Yugen” at Kabukiza Theatre September Kabuki Performances [Evening Show] (Chuo Ward, Tokyo)

Photos: Takashi Okamoto
Stage Production: Shochiku Co. Ltd.
All rights reserved.

“Hatsune Miku x Kodo Rehearsals on Sado” by Yuki Hirata

Photo: Erika Ueda

Recently we had rehearsals at Kodo Village for the upcoming “Hatsune Miku x Kodo Special Live Performance 2018” on June 2 & 3 at Shibuya’s NHK Hall.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika UedaHatsune Miku band members and staff came to Sado Island for two days. The energy that filled the hall as we rehearsed felt as if it was a actual performance.

Photo: Erika Ueda

These practices strongly bonded Hatsune Miku, her band, Kodo, and the team of staff. Our sense of unity has increased since last year, something you’re sure to notice when you see us on stage together.

Photo: Erika UedaPhoto: Erika Ueda

I really want you all to experience this energy! You can all look forward to a lot of new pieces on the lineup this time!

By the way, last year I made my debut on the Kodo stage at “Hatsune Miku x Kodo,” so it was an especially memorable performance for me. I am so excited for this year’s collaboration, too. I simply can’t wait.

Please join us for the next stage of Hatsune Miku and Kodo’s collaborative journey!

Photo: Erika Ueda

See here for tickets! (Japanese website)

Hatsune Miku x Kodo Official Website (Japanese website)

This is NIPPON Premium Theater “Hatsune Miku x Kodo Special Live Performance 2018”

“Concert with Sayuri Ishikawa in Nagoya” by Tomoe Miura

Concert with Sayuri Ishikawa in Nagoya

I was part of a select Kodo cast who performed with singer Sayuri Ishikawa at her concert in Nagoya last weekend. Now we are back on Sado Island. It was a concert full of firsts and I was nervous right up until the bell rang that signaled the start of the performance.

I was continually moved by Sayuri’s beautiful vocals as I performed with all my might. Even after the performance, the sound of her fabulous singing was still whirling around and around in my head.

Sayuri chatted with the audience and they responded with cheers and calls. It was surprising how close the audience felt to us on stage. Sayuri’s performances are the result of all forty-five years of her long career, so I am truly happy that she invited us to join her on stage to experience her unique world.

We will also join Sayuri for her Osaka & Tokyo performances. I will do my very best and I am sure I am going to enjoy those performances, too.

Kodo Joins Sayuri Ishikawa for 45th Anniversary Commemorative Recital Tour (Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo)

“Shishi Hair Whip” by Kengo Watanabe

When I joined Kodo, I never imagined I would be given the chance to wear kumadori stage makeup or perform the traditional hair whip (kefuri) shown in the photo above! When I appear on stage in the role of shishi (beast), I perform each and every hair whip with great care.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

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

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