Tamasaburo Bando is a leading Kabuki actor, and the most popular and celebrated onnagata (actor specializing in female roles) currently on stage. His profound aesthetic sense has been demonstrated across numerous platforms as he received high acclaim for his many artistic endeavors. His stage direction of productions such as Romeo & Juliet and Kaijin Besso garnered accolades, while as a movie director he demonstrated his artistic prowess in the films Gekashitsu, Yume no Onna, and Tenshu Monogatari, which caused a splash in the arts world. In April 2012, Bando assumed the position of Kodo’s artistic director. In September 2012, he was recognized as an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder (“Living National Treasure”), and in 2013 he was decorated with the highest honor of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, Commander.
Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, KODO is forging new directions for a vibrant living art form. The vibrations created by the drummers not only reach the ears of the audience, they move listeners on a visceral level. Making their debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, Kodo is based on Sado Island in Niigata, Japan, having given over 5500 performances in 46 countries worldwide under the theme “One Earth.” Spending about a third of the year overseas, a third touring in Japan, and a third on Sado Island, Kodo is always on the move, giving performances that transcend borders, genres, and time.
Tamasaburo Bando & Kodo
In 2003, the first Kodo performance directed by Tamasaburo Bando, Kodo One Earth Tour Special, was held. The production was crafted over the course of two years with Bando making five visits to Sado Island for rehearsals.
2006 marked the first on-stage collaboration between Bando and Kodo with Amaterasu, a musical dance play based on the famous Japanese myth. Featuring Bando as the sun goddess Amaterasu and Kodo as the gods of the story, this performance was a catalyst for Kodo to break new ground in taiko expression. It has continued to receive high acclaim in its encore performances in 2007 and new-look performances in 2013.
Bando’s cutting-edge Kodo Dadan, a production that boldly portrays the essence of drumming, premiered in Japan in 2009 and has become an ever-evolving series that was most recently performed in Spain and France in 2014.
Kodo One Earth Tour: Legend, Kodo’s first production under the artistic direction of Bando, made its premiere in 2012 and went on to tour throughout Japan, the USA, and Europe.
In 2013, Bando’s second work, Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery, premiered in Japan and toured extensively the following year, and this 2015 North America tour marks the production’s foreign debut.