Hi, everyone! How are you? It’s Chieko here. I’d like to tell you about the “Kiyohime Picture Scroll” project I am currently working on.
“Kiyohime” is a profound work that I perform as part of my solo Yukiai performances, which is based on the female protagonist, Kiyohime, from the Dojoji Tales. For a year now, I have let that character loose on Sado Island to take photographs backed by the distinct four seasons for a Kiyohime photo book. Photographer Maiko Miyagawa, who is also an official photographer at Earth Celebration, is taking the photos for this project. This work is a collabration between the two of us.
Kiyohime standing in a freezing cold blizzard…
reaching out to a subtle color or fragrance…
basking in the light refracted from the summer sea…
making leaves fall all around with the resonating sound of her taiko playing…
We have captured a special story of Kiyohime through the camera lens as the seasons perpetually change.
Snow, wind, sea, flames, forest, flowers… everything was beautiful…
This photo book is also a collaboration with beautiful Sado Island.
It will be printed on traditional Japanese paper. So, no two will be the same.
Our book will go on sale in Spring 2015. I’m so excited.
For those of you who can’t wait, here are just a few of Kiyohime’s autumn scenes.
I hope you will enjoy the seasons of beautiful Sado with Kiyohime once our work is complete!
With photographer Maiko Miyagawa
The current Kodo Workshop Performance Tour has a brand new cast and programme!
Here’s a message from first-time programme director Eri Uchida and the cast. They’re looking forward to seeing everyone on their tour for some fun with taiko!
Next Public Performance:
Taiko Experience Corner during a School Workshop Performance
On Dec. 6 & 7, we gave performances of “Eternity” in Osaka. Behind the cast, you can see Osaka Castle in all its glory through the lobby window at NHK Osaka Hall. Thank you to everyone who came along!
Dec. 15 (Mon) & 16 (Tue) Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka City
Dec. 19 (Fri)–23 (Tue/Public Hol.) Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Dec. 25 (Thu) Niigata Prefectural Civic Center, Niigata City
On Dec. 7, a special Kodo cast performed at “Golden Jubilee: The TOYOTA Gala Event presented by Abdullah AbdulGhani & Bros. Company” in Doha, Qatar.
This trip was Kodo’s first ever visit to the Arab world. A traditional music and dance group from Qatar performed with Kodo at this commemorative event.
It was a valuable opportunity for us to experience the rapidly changing nation and region right now, as well as Islamic culture and the daily life and views of the people there.
Kodo Cast: Eiichi Saito, Tomohiro Mitome, Kenzo Abe, Maya Minowa
On March 14, 2015, the new Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) will open for travel between Kanazawa, Toyama and Nagano.
To promote this new route to Niigata and Sado to foreign tourists, a PR article in English about Sado Island is now featured on the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) website.
The writer introduces Kodo, saying “If you have the opportunity to attend one of these (Kodo) performances in your area, I highly recommend it to experience the timeless quality of the island’s continuing creative spirit.”
In 2015, our schedule is action-packed with an array of performances in Japan: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” Kodo Special Concert “Michi,” “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” encore performances of “Amaterasu,” “DADAN 2015″ performances in Tokyo, and of course, “Earth Celebration on Sado Island.” Also, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” will tour in North America in early 2015. We hope to see you all somewhere soon!
Ever since our ensemble’s first encounter with Tamasaburo Bando over a decade ago, Kodo has set its sights on new heights of expression. In this performance, we will present our quest for many years, a special “world of taiko,” through an array of Kodo’s signature pieces from the nineties.
Mar. 19 (Thu)–20 (Fri), 2015 KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Main Hall, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Director: Motofumi Yamaguchi
Appearing: Kodo (Eiichi Saito, Tomohiro Mitome, Tomohiro Mitome, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Kenta Nakagome, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Rai Tateishi, others)
Programme (TBC): Zoku, Jang-Gwara, Chonlima, Michi, Shamisen, Monochrome, Miyake, Sankan Shion, Yamauta, O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi
The Special Performances, centered around Kodo’s Distinguished Members, take place at Shukunegi Community Hall, a retro playhouse in the heart of the traditional village of Shukunegi. This picturesque settlement is classified as one of Japan’s “Important Traditional Building Preservation Areas.”
Apr. 25 (Sat), 26 (Sun), May 2 (Sat)–5 (Tue/Public Hol.), 2015 Shukunegi Community Hall, Ogi Peninsula, Sado Island, Niigata
Appearing: Kodo (Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, Motofumi Yamaguchi, Eiichi Saito, Tomohiro Mitome, & others)
“Amaterasu” will return for encore performances in 2015 at Osaka’s Shochiku-za Theatre!
May 3 (Sun)–26 (Tue), 2015 *No performances on May 7 & 14 Osaka Shochiku-za Theatre, Osaka City
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
Appearing: Tamasaburo Bando, Kodo
Special Appearance: Harei Aine
“DADAN,” meaning “drumming men,” was designed by Tamasaburo Bando as a simultaneously raw and refined performance that features solely young male Kodo performers in a bold exploration of percussion instruments. We hope you will join us for the ever-evolving DADAN performances in June 2015, exclusively at Asakusa Public Hall in Tokyo.
June 10 (Wed)–15 (Mon), 2015 Asakusa Public Hall, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
※Pre-orders available at the Dec. 19–23 performances of “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Eternity” at Bunkyo Civic Hall, Tokyo.
The Shiroyama Concerts, outdoor festival Earth Celebration’s main concert events, take place up on the hill in Shiroyama Park’s lush green surroundings. A star-filled sky and the chirp of cicadas complete this natural outdoor arena. What better place to celebrate the earth?
Aug. 21 (Fri) -23 (Sun), 2015 Ogi, Sado Is., Niigata
Further details will be announced in May 2015.
Dec. 1, 2014
Hello, everyone. This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
It’s December now and there is some snow up on top of Sado’s highest peak, Mt. Kimpoku. However, the end of this year is somewhat warmer than usual.
While it may be a little early, I would like to take the time now to look back over this past year for Kodo.
At the beginning of 2014, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Legend” set off on its European tour while soloists & small-group projects held performances around Japan.
In spring, we had “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” performances, a “Workshop Performance” tour, and “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” as well as various small-group projects, all here in Japan.
In June, we held “Mystery” performances for five days at Asakusa Public Hall in Tokyo. It was our second time to give a series of performances there and once again, it was a great success. This time, we were able to deepen the bond between Kodo and the locals in Asakusa even further. We really appreciate their support.
In July, the School Workshop Performance tour members performed “DADAN” in Europe, which featured new pieces in a power-packed programme. We have been running two separate tours simultaneously for some time now, but this was the first time for us to perform two programmes directed by Tamasaburo Bando at the same time. This experience gave both the Kodo members and staff new-found confidence.
Then in August, we had our summer festival “Earth Celebration” here at home on Sado Island.
On the first night, all 32 Kodo members appeared on the Shiroyama Concert stage together. Ranging from junior members to Distinguished Members, this is the largest Kodo cast to ever take the stage at one time. The number of Kodo performers has been on the rise in recent years, but it is very rare for us to all perform together. The newest members brought their youthful energy, the veteran members brought their well-honed skills, and from the rehearsals to the stage, we all had a great time learning from each other and stimulating each other creatively.
It was wonderful to reaffirm our connection through taiko, regardless of generation. I think the audience must have felt the depth of our 30+ years of history through our performance.
On the second night, we welcomed guest artist “BLUE TOKYO,” a group of highly-trained, physically-honed rhythmic gymnasts.
On the third day, we were joined by guest artist “DAZZLE,” a creative dance ensemble, and former “Blue Hearts” drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara. Through these collaborations, we aimed to create new fusions and forms of expression, beyond any particular genre.
In the fall, we had some cast changes before setting off on two domestic tours: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” and the “School Workshop Performance” tour. Here at home, we held more “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” featuring our veteran members, who also gave performances around Japan as soloists or with small-group projects. Fall marked the final performances in Japan for production “Mystery.” Thank you very much to everyone who came along to see it! Next, this production will tour around North America in 2015.
In November, the members regrouped to rehearse for two new productions: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” and a newly-directed “School Workshop Performance” tour. On Nov. 20, “Eternity” had its premiere performance on Sado Island.
All of the pieces featured in this production are brand new and a high-level of performance technique and expression is required of the entire cast. Audiences will surely feel first-hand the brand new step than Kodo has taken in stage expression through this programme.
Both of our year-end tours will last for a month. When we are at a theater near you, please come along to see us! We look forward to sharing our new programmes with you all.
I’m sure this is a busy time of year for you, too, but I hope that you can take some time to relax and enjoy ending your year with us and the sound of our taiko.
In April 2015, Chieko Kojima will join Taiko Meantime, a taiko group based in Greenwich, London, to tour around the UK with a collaboration based on the tale of “Dojoji.”
Taiko Meantime set up a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help fund this project. We are pleased to report that they successfully reached their fundraising goal. Thank you very much for your support!
“Dojoji” Kickstarter Campaign Webpage
Taiko Meantime Website
Kodo Blog｜Seeking Support for “Dojoji” in the UK
We are currently on the road with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity.” Yesterday, we traveled to Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture for our next performance. It’s December and the wind has gotten chillier, but I felt so enlivened by the warm sun and the blue sky with not a single cloud in sight!
On our journey, we were greeted by beautiful Mt. Fuji. It was such a powerful sight, even from afar.
Seeing such wonderful nature really replenished our energy.
We are waiting for you all at Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater Concert Hall in Nagoya tonight!
【Door Sales】 Available from 17:30 at the venue (Cash sales)
Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity Nov. 20 (Thu) Amusement Sado, Sado Is., Niigata Nov. 30 (Sun) City Hall Plaza “Aore Nagaoka,” Nagaoka, Niigata –”Heartbeat Project” Special Version– Dec. 2 (Tue) Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Dec. 4 (Thu) Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater Concert Hall, Nagoya, Aichi Dec. 6 (Sat) & 7 (Sun) NHK Osaka Hall, Osaka City Dec. 10 (Wed) Okayama Civic Hall, Okayama City Dec. 12 (Fri) Ueno Gakuen Hall, Hiroshima City Dec. 15 (Mon) & 16 (Tue) Hakataza Theater, Fukuoka City Dec. 19 (Fri)–23 (Tue/Public Hol.) Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo Dec. 25 (Thu) Niigata Prefectural Civic Center, Niigata City ▶Schedule & Box Office Details
Currently Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Eiichi Saito, and former Kodo member Kazunari Abe are playing taiko in the December Kabuki Program performances at Kabukiza Theatre in Tokyo. They appear individually, as a triple cast, in the Kyogen work entitled, “Narukami Fudo Kitayama Zakura.”
Kabuki actor, Ebizo Ichikawa, specially requested for a Kodo member to play a hirado o-daiko at the climax of the piece、so during each performance, one of the triple-cast members plays the drum behind the stage-left bamboo blinds.
Evening Programme: “Narukami Fudo Kitayama Zakura” (Saint Narukami and Deity Fudo)
Dates: Dec. 2 (Tue)–Dec. 26 (Fri), 2014
Appearing: Ebizo Ichikawa, Ainosuke Kataoka, Shido Nakamura, Tamasaburo Bando, & others.
Kabukibito | December Kabuki Program http://www.kabuki-bito.jp/theaters/kabukiza/2014/12/post_82.html (in Japanese)
For details & ticket orders in English, please visit Shochiku Ticket Web http://www1.ticket-web-shochiku.com/en/info/schedule.html#1