“School Performances in North America During the ‘Evolution’ Tour” by Jun Jidai

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

After our opening night in Las Vegas, we had back-to-back performances for three days in Berkeley, California.

On the first two days, we performed “Evolution.” Then on Day 3, we changed into our indigo-blue Kodo costumes and gave a completely different performance at the same theater: a program especially for school children.

The audience was made up of almost 2000 students from local schools, elementary through high school. Eight cast members from “Evolution” delivered this school performance: Kengo Watanabe, Ryoma Tsurumi, Tomoe Miura, Issei Kohira, Yuta Kimura, Chihiro Watanabe, Taiyo Onoda, and I.

It was a really exciting experience for only eight of us to give a performance in such a massive hall!

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

During our school performances, we take turns speaking to the audience during the program. Because we’re in the USA, that meant whenever we were the MC, we had to speak in English. We all had the extra challenge of giving our self introductions in English, too.

It’s my first time giving School Performances overseas. My goal is to communicate with our audiences through taiko, fostering meaningful exchange beyond language and culture.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

We also have School Performances in Hanover, Amherst, Burlington during this tour. We’ll give our all to this challenge alongside our theater performances.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution” North America Tour


“A Refreshing Gift Between School Performances” by Narumi Matsuda

June 22, 2017

Our School Workshop-Performance tour is currently visiting elementary schools in Niigata City. After performing at one school this morning, the Kodo members arrived at the next school for the afternoon performance. Just when they were about to begin loading in and setting up for the next performance, the teacher in charge said, “First, here’s an arrival drink!” and gave everyone a bottle of chilled tea. On a hot day, we truly appreciated their great hospitality.

Everyone was touched to read the handwritten message and felt recharged by the nice cold drink. The card reads:
“Dear Kodo,
Thank you for coming today.
Here is some cold tea for you to enjoy.”
It was a great boost before the afternoon performance.

■The current School Workshop-Performance tour cast is:
Yuichiro FunabashiYosuke OdaShogo KomatsuzakiMizuki YoneyamaIssei KohiraYuki HirataChihiro Watanabe

“The School Workshop-Performance Tour, Working Hard in Niigata” by Eri Uchida

On Friday June 16, I went to see the School Workshop-Performance tour in Niigata City where they are currently visiting elementary schools. Kodo gives regular performances at the many schools there.

I went to see our tour at an elementary school that is 10km from Niigata Station. I decided to rent a bicycle to go there. I don’t know what I was thinking… it was further than I thought. I should have known it would be tough on a bike with a basket and no gears. On the way back, I took the easy route by getting a lift back in the Kodo truck. (lol)


Ask any young person who went to school in Niigata City if they have seen Kodo and most of them will say that they have, at least once. That is largely thanks to Kodo’s Eiichi Saito and Kazuki Imagai and their efforts since our School Workshop-Performances began some twenty years ago. To visit all the schools in the city requires a morning and afternoon performance each day, at different schools each day. That means fitting ten performances into five days each week. With such a tight schedule, it’s important that everyone is as organized as possible to ensure smooth, good performances. To make sure that not even a minute is wasted, the preparation for the tour includes detailed meetings about loading in and out of each venue and then the cast and crew carry out simulations of how each day and situation will go.

On Friday afternoon, the end of the school week! The kids were so lively!

The School Workshop-Performance requires a lot of stamina, so the physical power of young Kodo members is essential for this tour. Currently there are three junior members on the tour and every day they are giving it their all. They have been on the road for one month now and since I last saw them at a run-through rehearsal on Sado, the young members have all grown in leaps and bounds. Every day as I learn I am reminded that the more you grow, the more you realize exactly what you still lack. The junior members still receive a lot of critiques from the senior members, and I’m sure they are being stretched to their limits. But now that I am a bit more senior myself, I can see that they are growing more than they may think. The senior members know if they praise the junior members too much they won’t improve, so they make sure they don’t give them too much praise. (LOL)
During my visit, I saw my fellow Kodo members all working diligently to better themselves and the performance. Regardless of seniority, they all worry, suffer, work hard, and enjoy themselves. I think they are all really valuable to Kodo.
Keep up that spirit, School Workshop-Performance team! Do your best!

The children flocked to the cast members after the performance for autographs. I hope they will come to see Kodo perform when they grow up, too. We’ll be waiting for you!

“School Workshop Performance Rehearsals” by Narumi Matsuda

May 19, 2017
Photo: Narumi Mastuda

It’s starting to look very summery here on Sado Island!

Photo: Narumi Mastuda
This week at Kodo Village we are holding run-through rehearsals for the upcoming School Workshop Performance tour, which is about to begin. The other day, we asked Kodo’s apprentices to fill in as the school pupils for our rehearsal. This programme is designed for performances in school gymnasiums. As well as our taiko performance, it also features introductions to the various instruments we play and a hands-on taiko experience corner.

Photo: Narumi Mastuda

This tour will spend a month and a half giving performances at schools in Fukushima, Yamagata, Tokyo, Osaka, and Niigata. As the performers rehearse and fine tune the programme, they all wonder how the kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, and high school students will react to their performance.
If we are coming to your school soon, we look forward to seeing you there!

School Workshop Performances

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