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.
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.
Kodo Ensemble Leader