A Heartfelt Request for Continued Support and Assistance from Kodo Ensemble Leader Yuichiro Funabashi (Sep. 1, 2020)

Sep. 1, 2020

In April, I made a public appeal on behalf of Kodo for ongoing emergency support. Many people from many places sent us support and words of encouragement. I offer my sincere thanks to each and every one of you.

In light of the current global situation, this year Earth Celebration, the annual festival we host in tandem with Sado Island, was held entirely online for the first time in its 33-year history. We asked for your support by way of crowdfunding and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who answered that call for help. Your kind encouragement is the reason that our group was able to band together to tackle the new challenge of creating a diverse lineup to broadcast online. We reaffirmed the power of Sado Island and how wonderful it is to spend time with you all. It was a truly fruitful experience. I am already looking forward to the next time we are able to welcome you all to Sado Island again.

Since March, when our European tour was interrupted by the pandemic, almost all of our performances were canceled or postponed. However, from September, our School Workshop Performance cast will start touring again. They will be taking extra care with a range of infection prevention measures in place. This year, many school events were also canceled, so we hope the sound of taiko will touch the students’ hearts as it resonates within their school during these live performances.   

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

 

My own first tour with Kodo, twenty years ago, was a School Workshop Performance Tour that visited junior high schools here in Niigata Prefecture. Although junior high school students are full of emotions, they don’t always show their feelings on the outside. So on my first tour, I remember trying to gauge their reaction, which meant I didn’t have the headspace to enjoy our daily performances. But years later, sometimes adults who were junior high students back then come up to me at our concerts in Niigata and say that our school performance was an experience they will never forget. Those words make me feel the legacy of our school tours, and the joy I had trouble sensing in them back then feels doubled this time around.

The months we spent at home this year while our activities were on hold has been filled with new challenges, including holding Earth Celebration online. This period, along with what we have built up to date through our School Tours, are both valuable assets to Kodo. As these difficult times continue, each and every one of us will pool our energy to keep our activities alive. We will work hard every day, hoping that the reverberations of our taiko can offer some comfort and a much-needed energy boost to many people.

I kindly ask all of you for your continued support and assistance.

 

Yuichiro Funabashi
Kodo Ensemble Leader

 

 

 

 

Call for Emergency Support

 

Happy New Year!

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.


Yuichiro Funabashi
Leader
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble


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