The Modern Pilgrimage: Sado Island
A traditional taiko sits on a wooden floor.
On our recent road trip across Japan, we set out to surf the four seas that define the borders of this island nation. While we didn’t always find waves, we scored a few here on Sado Island. We also met with the Kodo Drummers, and Miyazaki Masami.

The performance Miyazaki gave us left an indelible impression on all of us. The philosophy she shared propelled our journey forward with a greater depth of knowledge and understanding for the culture of our host nation, but also provided inspiration for these months following this trip.

We hope you enjoy this short film, and the interview from Miyazaki below.
“My name is Miyazaki Masami. I come from Kumamoto, Kyushu.

I [have] lived on Sado Island for 20 years.

I joined the Kodo Drummers because I like taiko. At the time of our festivals, I always used to feel that I wanted to play on my own.

Sado is a place well-known for its traditional art and culture. Even now, in every village, they have their own festivals.

Knowing that the island is full of traditional arts, Nihon Kai Daigaku wanted to form a university to keep these traditions alive. The performance group [Kodo Drummers] was created to support the university.

At first, he [Nihon Kai Daigaku] wanted to gather young people. Then by doing taiko performances, they started raising funds to support the university as they performed in Japan and overseas.

Even now, we still use the same philosophy which was followed at the time of forming the university. Our philosophy is to live, to learn, and to create Kodo.

Living here, interacting with other people from Sado, going to festivals and learning from the university, we created our own performances.

I believe taiko and nature are inseparable. Taiko is made from nature, made from wood and animal skin… if we think about it, even humans are made by nature, that is what I always remember when hitting the taiko: we can’t and shouldn’t fight with nature because we are a part of it.

We hit the taiko by ourselves, and of course, the sound is made by us, but the sound is always saying ‘You also are a part of nature.’

I feel that it is trying to tell us about how it will be best to live together with nature.

I want to live my life humbly. I want humans to live more humbly, living together with nature, wake up with a good feeling and greet other people with good intentions, eating good food without wasting it. I think that is what I want to achieve. I want to be able to live humbly in the future.”