The year 2011 will be explained to future generations as "the year of turbulence," and will become a great turning point for this generation. For Kodo, it is also the year that we celebrated the group's 30th anniversary and readied ourselves to take new steps forward into the next thirty years.
Last June, we printed a commemorative anniversary publication called "Inochi Moyashite, Tatakeyo. –30 Years of Kodo–," which encapsulates our forty-year history: thirty years of Kodo and ten years of our antecedent group, Ondekoza. By examining the past in preparation for this book, in turn we found many insights for the future. In this same year, we worked tirelessly on the process of making the Kodo Cultural Foundation a Public Interest Corporation, and we were recognized as such in November 2011. Through these processes, we began an in-depth discussion and gained profound insights on both the position of the foundation in the Kodo group and what its activities ought to encompass.
What is the mission of Kodo Cultural Foundation? First, we need to take the background of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo, which refined Japanese taiko drumming into a performing art, and put it into words. Then we need to share that information as far and wide as possible. Japanese taiko has an instant appeal, even abroad, as language is not a factor. At the same time, people want to know about the cultural background of taiko, beyond what they can see on the surface.
Secondly, we need to educate and train creative people who can play an active role in society. Artistic expression, or performance, encompasses the entire lifestyle and beliefs of the performer. Educating and training the next generation of people who will be responsible for Kodo in the future is essentially a process of "creating people." "Living, learning and creating" is the basic ideology of the Kodo Apprentice Centre. In short, it is a place where people can cultivate their talents, and a place where they can learn to coexist with others through practical application.
Thirdly, we need to consider our relationship with Sado Island. There are so many festivals and performing arts that are closely connected with the lifestyle and agricultural traditions of the people on Sado Island. I think there is no other place like Sado, which still maintains an "original" Japanese lifestyle prototype. We would like to share the magic of Sado with people on the island, throughout Japan, and those abroad. We are making plans to promote culture & sightseeing and to energize the local area which is troubled by an aging population, low birth rate and thus a decreasing number of successors. This is how we wish to show our gratitude to Sado, which has nurtured our group for many years.
In 2012, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Earth Celebration, our international arts festival which takes place in Ogi on the southern tip of the island. After a quarter of a century, the spirit of this festival remains the same. At this event, we create a place where many people of different cultures come and go, and through exchange they connect with each other and share an enhanced mutual understanding. Our aim for this year is to extend this circle so that the whole island can be better understood and experienced through this festival. We will continue to learn about the region and share that information with others.
I ask you all for your continued support and guidance in the years to come.
Chairman, Kodo Cultural Foundation