“Martin’s Birthday” by Tomoe Miura

Feb. 16, 2019

Happy Birthday, Martin!

Hello from Los Angeles in chilly North America!

We’ve been enjoying ourselves here, eating our first Japanese food in a while in Little Tokyo, going shopping, and so on.

Photo: Koji Miyagi

Free time for practice and warm ups at Walt Disney Concert Hall 

In L.A., we performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall on the birthday of our indispensable technical director Martin. His birthday has become a regular pre-Valentine’s Day event on our foreign tours!

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Martin has been touring outside Japan with Kodo since 2007. As our technical director, Martin gives directions to the staff at each theater and operates our lightning. He is an essential member of our team.

This year, my fellow cast member Issei was in charge of organizing Martin’s birthday surprise. He started planning the surprise from about a week before and liaised with our tour managers in preparation for the big day.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Issei, the surprise organizer, studying hard to memorize his lines in English.

At the end of the rehearsal at Walt Disney Concert Hall, he arranged for there to be a request to rehearse one piece, Yuyami, again. Backstage, there would be a cake covered with strawberries, Martin’s favorite, and the staff would light all the candles quickly when they heard the cue. (We got special permission from the venue to use candles inside the venue.)

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

When the rehearsal ended, Martin looked like he was heading backstage so one of the managers frantically stopped him, saying they needed to run through a certain piece one more time. The performers quickly did the necessary set change on stage. Martin changed the lighting to the setting for Yuyami, and it was time for the surprise to begin!

▼ If you’d like to listen to Yuyami, click play below.

Usually performers with flutes would enter for stage left and right, but this time the flutes came in from stage left and a cake with flickering candles appeared from stage right. Issei recited a birthday message for Martin to the music of Yuyami. At the end of his speech, he gave a cue and all the cast members sang “Happy Birthday” together.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

We gave Martin a card signed by all of us. The surprise was a big success! I could tell by the lovely smile on Martin’s face.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Happy Birthday, Martin! Thank you for everything.
We look forward to the rest of the tour with you!

Yuyami is featured on Kodo album “Kaden”
Available from Kodo Online Store

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

[Kodo Next Generation] “The Tour Finale” by Tomoe Miura

Photo: Takuro SusakiHello, everyone!
Ten days has passed since we arrived in Paris. We’ve enjoyed nice weather and the feel-good breeze that blows through the Bois de Vincennes.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

Many things happen each day that remind me how inexperienced I am, but I know am still very early on in my career. This experience here in Paris is a seed that will grow. I feel determined to do my best in life as a taiko performer. That seed, that drive, I carry them on stage with me to face each new performance.

Photo: Takuro SusakiFor ten days, we have been based at Théâtre du Soleil in the Bois de Vincennes in suburban Paris. Both our accommodations and our performances have been on site.

Photo: Takuro SusakiThe members of the Théâtre make our meals and take good care of us on and off stage. Thanks to them, we can rest assured each day that our daily life and our performances are in great hands.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

Photo: Takuro Susaki

Even if we had a tough day for some reason or other, their delicious meals and their warm smiles always saved the day.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

Thanks to Ariane Mnouchkine, the director of Théâtre du Soleil, and the entire company, we have made it to the day of our finale. Thank you all very much!

Photo: Takashi OkamotoOnly one performance to go. I’ll give 200% again today, right until the very last beat!

Photo: Takuro Susaki

Kodo Next Generation (France)

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

“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)

“Our ‘Living, Learning, Creating’ Exhibition at EC” by Yosuke Kusa

Earth Celebration 2017 begins this weekend!

One of the events at EC 2017 this year is Kodo’s free-admission “Living, Learning, Creating” exhibition at Tennanso in Ogi’s main shopping street. Kodo performers and staff will share a range of things they made by hand, including stage props, instruments, and furniture, alongside photos they took while they were on tour with Kodo.

Today, I would like to share a sneak peek of some of the items that will be on display.

▼ Kenta Nakagome’s taiko bachi (drumsticks)

▼ Eiichi Saito’s suri-zasara, a percussion instrument made from bamboo that is played by rubbing a whisk-like beater along a long notched rod.

▼ Tomoe Miura’s coverall apron

▼ Photos by Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga (left) and Ryoma Tsurumi (right)

Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Tomohiro Mitome, and Yuichiro Funabashi will also have their handcrafted drumsticks on display. You will also see sashiko embroidery by Kiyoko Oi, an okedo-daiko made by Maya Minowa…and much more! We look forward to showing you a different side to Kodo than what you see on stage. Please come along!

▼ The exhibition will be held at Tennanso, which is marked “23” on this Ogi map.

Download (PDF *Japanese only)

*During EC, the shops numbered on this map will hold a special market-place event. We hope you’ll take the time to stroll along the shopping street and enjoy the special goods and delicacies the town has to offer.

Earth Celebration 2017 | Living, Learning, Creating Exhibition

“Final Rehearsals Before the Premiere of ‘Yugen’!” by Tomoe Miura

The brilliant green of new leaves, the gorgeous peonies & wisteria.

Kodo Village is adorned with beautiful nature, with buds blooming one after another.

We are currently deep into rehearsals for our new production, “Yugen.” It is nearly ready for the stage.

We received song instruction from Mr. Hirotada Kamei.

I was astounded by the momentum of his singing and the intense force of his voice.

It is very difficult to express an array of beautiful and courageous sentiments with only intervals and one’s voice.

However, I have learned that the Japanese sense of beauty is truly profound.

With the Hanagi-ryu dance leader, all the dancers, Tamasaburo Bando, and Kodo, there were 35 performers in all taking part in our rehearsals.

This collaboration features beautiful dance, valiant beasts, and Kodo. The group dances are really exquisite on stage.

“Yugen” offers an opportunity to see a new side of Kodo.
Personally, I am really looking forward to it.

Japanese performing arts are expressed by harnessing and combining one’s spirit and physical power.
It is a struggle to maintain the concentration required for this performance, so I am training my mind and body every day.


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

Kodo Blog Archive