I am Tomohiro Mitome and I have been performing wholeheartedly with Kodo for 20 years. In 2012, I assumed the position of Kodo's ensemble leader. Including the history of our antecedent group "Sado no Kuni Ondekoza," Kodo has a four-decade history of performance to build upon. As we embark on this new journey in the Kodo chronicle, I know I take on a great responsibility. I am honored to lead the group through a process that I know will be a renaissance for Kodo.
Having moved from an era when we were one of the few groups to perform ensemble taiko on stage, to a time when there are many groups with excellent skills, our challenge to create unique productions is greater than ever. From now on, I will to do everything in my power to make Kodo a group where each individual member focuses on his or her individual expression as an artist, to cultivate awareness, skill and presence, so that our ensemble will be continued to be recognized as an innovative force in performing arts throughout the world.
In inviting Tamasaburo Bando to join us as our artistic director, we look forward to his expert instruction in all facets of our stage performance. Over the past 10 years, I learned many things through working with him, but now as I transition to the role of a leader rather than just a performer, I want to make sure that we are working outside of our comfort zone, continuing to broaden our horizons, seeking new forms of taiko expression, and venturing into unknown territory.
What I hope will not change is the sound of our taiko, filled with a spirit that echoes in the hearts of those who hear it, and our humanity, as we show people our earnest efforts to always improve and reach the highest of goals. We have all devoted ourselves to the taiko as a means of stage expression, but in comparison to the world of Japanese traditional performing arts, the history of our art is still quite short. I look forward to guiding the course of Kodo and continuing to develop a taiko culture that will remain strong for generations to come.
I kindly ask for your continued guidance and encouragement as we embark on this new journey together.