This weekend, we look forward to welcoming participants to the first in our new series of 3-day live-in workshops at Fukaura Schoolhouse: Shinobue with Motofumi Yamaguchi. If you’d like to register last minute, please call us to confirm your place without delay!
Message from Motofumi Yamaguchi
“Learning to play an instrument is similar to climbing a high mountain. Even if you work hard, taking one step at a time, it is not always easy to reach the top. But with each step you make upwards, you’ll encounter a brand new view.”
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.
Kodo Cultural Foundation Project: “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” Live-In Workshops
On May 27 (Wed), Kodo’s Yuichiro Funabashi and Masayuki Sakamoto will make a live appearance on Radio Nippon’s weekday morning program “Mine Ryuta no Minesta” during the “Talk with Mr. Mine” corner, from around 10:00 am for approx. 20 mins.
You can listen to “Mine Ryuta no Minesta” for free in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma.
For details on how to tune in, please see here: http://www.jorf.co.jp/LISTEN/ (Japanese information only)
Chieko Kojima has based her life’s work on the story of Anchin and Kiyohime from the Dojoji Tales.
Over the course of a year, she let her own unique Kiyohime explore the four seasons on Sado Island to create a brand new tale in collaboration with photographer Maiko Miyagawa. This stunning collection is now available as a photo book.
Released: April 30, 2015
Price: 2,500 yen
Size: 32 pages (H: 25.5cm / W: 21cm)
Photo Book “Kasane no Kiyohime Monogatari –The Myriad Layers of Kiyohime–”
http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/34_1468.html (Japanese store webpage)
For orders in English, please contact the Kodo Online Store by email: email@example.com
Orders can be shipped to 120 countries around the world.
We are pleased to announce that our crowdfunding project to help share the story of Kodo’s first 30 years and before, “Inochi Moyashite Tatakeyo,” with libraries all over Japan was successfully funded.
I asked Takao Aoki, president of Kodo’s management company, Kitamaesen Co., Ltd., to choose some episodes from the book to share with you all. The book is only available in Japanese, so in English, we will share some of the main points through the photos below.
“Early in 1987, we got the shocking news that Kodo’s leader, Toshio Kawauchi (who we all called ‘Hancho’) had died in an accident in the Philippines. I took over the management of the group suddenly and every time I wasn’t sure what to do, I asked myself: What would Hancho do in this situation?”
“We forged ahead to realize Hancho’s vision of building a base on Sado Island for Kodo with a main building, living quarters, and rehearsal hall. Kodo needed a place to put down roots while traveling the world, to maintain balance between touring and home. I decided that it was important to carry out this vision, even if it was one step at a time.”
Mr. Aoki took over the reigns from Kodo’s first managing director, Toshio Kawauchi (Hancho), and has been steering Kodo forward ever since, one step at a time.
Mr. Aoki says, “I want Kodo to exist in 100 years from now, in 200 years from now… and at the heart of Kodo, there will always be people who play taiko earnestly. That is something we will always hold dear.”
■Online Fundraising Final Total for “Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project (as of May. 16)
711,000 yen (Goal: 500,000 yen) = 142% funded
We raised more than our goal, which means we can share more books with more libraries around Japan!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT, EVERYONE!
“Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project
“Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo.” Project (Japanese)
Tune in on May 24 for a 30-min. program introducing “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” which will tour around Japan from June. It is a new version of the 2014 program with the same title, featuring new interviews and stage footage.
If you’re in Japan, we hope you’ll tune in!
Broadcast Date & Time: May 24 (Sun) 12:00—12:30
Broadcast Channel: BS Fuji
Program Website: BS Fuji “Kodo Eien no Hibiki” http://www.bsfuji.tv/top/pub/kodou.html
About “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity”
His father is a founding member of the pioneering Sukeroku Daiko, his older brother and younger sister are professional taikoists and his younger brother is an apprentice taiko maker. Mitsuru made his first appearance on stage at age five, and yet at the beginning of his second year as a Kodo apprentice, he decided to forget everything he had ever learned about taiko…and begin again from zero.
Mitsuru was born into a world of taiko in Tokyo on August 6th, 1979. At the age of 4 his parents moved the family to a mountainside in Saitama believing it would be a better environment in which to raise their children. His father is a professional Nagauta and Kabuki orchestra percussionist, as is Mitsuru’s older brother. Their mother – who was a traditional Japanese Buyo dancer – passed away when Mitsuru was in middle school. His step-mother is also a taikoist, while his younger brother is apprenticing with a taiko maker in Tokyo and his younger sister is a taiko instructor in Yokohama.
His first memories are of the sound of his father’s tsutsumi drum emanating from his room. Mitsuru first played taiko on stage at age 5. In elementary school he joined a local taiko group which his father taught, though it seemed that it was more for his father’s pleasure than his own. This changed in middle school when he also joined a local folk music group where he performed things like Miyake and Yatai-bayashi and Onikenbai. Playing drums unconnected to his family gave him a feeling of independence and so he really began to enjoy it. Right through high school he played taiko nearly every day – not only in the school taiko club – but also after returning home with his brother and friends. Taiko seven days a week. He had broad musical tastes and even found time to play live performances on acoustic guitar at school.
It seemed a natural choice that he would follow his father and brother into a career in taiko, but something bothered him about walking such a pre-ordained path. In his 2nd or 3rd year of high school – like so many other future members – he saw his first Kodo performance at Theatre Apple in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo. May is here and it is a very comfortable, refreshing season. Flowers are bursting into full bloom and I feel so energized by spring.
As usual, April for Kodo was a time for us to hold rehearsals for the next new “Kodo One Earth Tour” production, which will premiere on Sado this November. We also rehearsed for “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” and the School Workshop Performances, which resume their tours in Japan in June, as well as the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” and other projects. Much like the cycle of the nature, this is a season at Kodo when new buds emerge and grow.
This May, we will hold encore performances of “Amaterasu” at Shochiku-za Theatre in Osaka. “Amaterasu” premiered in 2006, and we also held popular encore seasons in 2007 and 2013.
This production is a rare opportunity for Kodo to collaborate on stage with our artistic director, Tamasaburo Bando. This year, we welcome back guest artist Harei Aine and look forward to sharing a new version of this performance with our audiences. In this production, we convey the story of a famous Japanese myth using the myriad sounds of Japanese musical instruments, ranging from raging gods, using the powerful roar of the taiko, to one scene where “eight million gods” gather for a party.
The party reaches its climax with a dance by a goddess called Ameno-uzume (performed by Harei Aine), which leads to the appearance of the dazzling sun goddess, Amaterasu, who emerges from the heavenly rock cave. That moment creates such a powerful wave of energy that even as performers on the same stage, we cannot help feeling moved by it as we play our taiko. It is a truly precious moment. I hope you won’t miss the opportunity to see this performance live!
On May 3, the curtain rose for this year’s season of “Amaterasu” at Osaka’s Shochiku-za Theatre. I also took part in the 2013 “Amaterasu” performances and it is my favorite programme! So I am so happy to have the chance to perform in it again. The famous scene in the story where the sun goddess Amaterasu emerges from the cave is so moving each time, even for us right there on the stage. But I must admit that I was so moved by this scene on Sunday, May 3rd, for the first time in two years that I found myself fighting back my tears.
One month may sound long but it’s actually quite short. I’m making the most of every day and I will do my very best right until the curtain falls on the final performance. I am looking forward to seeing you all in the audience!
May 2015 “Amaterasu” (Osaka City)
Thank you very much to everyone who has come along already to see the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring.” There are just two performances to go: TOMORROW! We hope to see you there!
Apr. 27, 2015
Our rehearsals began with a talk from artistic director Tamasaburo Bando about the new production’s title, “Chaos.”
While the title is “Chaos,” Tamasaburo said he wants the audience to feel “harmony” when they come to this performance. If he called it “Harmony,” noone would know where that harmony would occur. Harmony has somewhere to emerge from somewhere, so you need chaotic parts. As he explained the concept to us, he jokingly admitted that this might be a humble Japanese form of expression.
This production features Japanese drums (wadaiko), naturally, but it also incorporates Western drumkits.