In the Wake of Disaster

On behalf of Kodo, I would like to offer our sincere prayers to the great number of people who lost their lives in the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake on March 11. We also offer our heartfelt condolences to everyone who has been displaced by the disaster and continues to struggle in the face of extreme hardship.

An earthquake on a historic scale, a colossal tsunami, and the following nuclear power plant crisis... the chain of calamities has been staggering. As the true extent of the damage is revealed day by day, we are all still reeling in disbelief and feel helpless at the sight of the horrifying scenes of thorough destruction. We mourn not only for the loss of life, but also for the loss of regional culture in the disaster’s wake.

But despite all of this, when I see the strength of the disaster-area victims who continue to strive on and help each other in the midst of unimaginable grief and suffering, I am encouraged by their force of will and the vitality of human beings. I believe that through cooperation and solidarity, we will rebuild Japan, and it will be stronger than ever.

The myth of safety in nuclear power was shattered by the recent reactor crisis. We of course hope that this grave situation will be resolved as quickly as possible, but we must also heed this warning to mankind as we continue to pursue development and convenience over safety and sustainability. For the sake of the future, it is time to take pause and rethink our values and our current way of life.

Some of our performances planned in Japan for this year have been put on hold pending further developments. It is at times like these when we realize anew a very basic truth: In order for our performances to take place, we require a venue in which to perform and an audience to attend. In light of this disaster, Kodo has been forced to reexamine the very fundamental questions of why we are playing taiko, why we practice performing arts, and why we travel the world. We eagerly await the day that we can return to the disaster areas and meet our many friends there. Until then, we will do everything we can to persevere in the face of this ordeal.

On March 11, Kodo was on tour in North America. We received a great deal of encouragement and support from audience members in Canada and the United States, as well as messages from countless friends around the world who showed their heartfelt concern about Japan. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. The devastated areas and disaster victims will require long-term aid in recovery, and we hope you will all continue to offer your support.

We at Kodo are committed to taking action and doing everything we can do to help in Japan’s recovery.

Takao Aoki, Kodo Managing Director