Pacific Crossing: Kenny Endo, Hiromitsu Agatsuma, and Chieko Kojima

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Pacific Crossing: Kenny Endo, Hiromitsu Agatsuma, and Chieko Kojima


Saturday Aug 04 07:30 PM
Sunday Aug 05 02:00 PM


Doris Duke Theatre


Museum members: $30.00
General Admission: $35.00


About the Performance:

Part of 150th Gannenmono in Concert.

In celebration of “Gannenmono,” the first immigrants from Japan to arrive to Hawai`i in 1868, three world-renowned artists—Kenny Endo (taiko and tsuzumi), Hiromitsu Agatsuma (Tsugaru shamisen), and Chieko Kojima (taiko and dance)—will come together to present traditional and contemporary work. Don’t miss the world premiere of new work created for this special occasion. 

Special guests include: Yosuke Oda (taiko) and Noel Okimoto (vibraphones and drums).  

Kenny Endo is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continually paving new paths for this Japanese style of drumming. A performer, composer and teacher of taiko with numerous awards and accolades, Endo is a consummate artist, blending Japanese taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation. Endo began his taiko career with L.A.’s groundbreaking Kinnara Taiko before moving onto the renowned San Francisco Taiko Dojo, the first kumi daiko (ensemble drumming) group outside of Japan. In 1980, he embarked on a decade-long odyssey in Japan, studying and performing with the masters of classical drumming, traditional Tokyo festival music and ensemble drumming. Endo has the honor of being the first non-Japanese national to have received a natori (stage name and masters license) in hogaku hayashi (classical drumming). In the hogaku world, Endo is known as Mochizuki Tajiro. In the greater musical world, “Kenny Endo” has become synonymous with “taiko.” 

Hiromitsu Agatsuma is a leader of the new generation of shamisen players. Agatsuma breaks new ground with his fresh approach to the shamisen, introducing the traditional instrument to new listeners everywhere. At the age of six, he began studying the Tsugaru shamisen. Throughout his childhood, he frequented and won shamisen competitions, receiving high recognition in the field of traditional Japanese music. His reputation grew as he ventured out into other genres of music, such as jazz and rock. In 2001, his major debut album Agatsuma was named the Traditional Japanese Music Album of the Year at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. With EN, his sixth album released in 2006, he won the Traditional Japanese Music Album of the Year at the Japan Gold Disc Awards for the second time. In 2014, he composed and performed for Ebizo Ichikawa’s Kabuki production—an unprecedented moment for a Kabuki stage to feature the Tsugaru shamisen instrument. He has been active not only as a performer but also as a producer, writing scores for TV and theater.

Chieko Kojima first encountered Japanese folk dancing when she moved to Sado to join Sado no Kuni Ondekoza in 1976. She went on to become one of Kodo’s founding members in 1981. In addition to her work with Kodo, she has an active solo career that is perhaps best characterized by her ongoing project, “Yukiai,” where she seeks out new encounters and collaborations with artists and taiko groups within Japan and throughout the world. Kojima is known for her vivid portrayal of the goddess Ameno-uzume in the first season of Amaterasu in 2006. She became a Kodo Distinguished Member in 2012, and was the director of the annual concert series Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island for four years, starting from its inaugural season that same year. She continues to ambitiously broaden her expressive outlets, as demonstrated by her recent productions based on the Tales of Dojoji, which then became the inspiration for her first photo book, Kasane no Kiyohime Monogatari: The Myriad Layers of Kiyohime­—a unique work created with photographer Maiko Miyagawa and released in 2015. Today, Chieko is perhaps the most dynamic female taiko drummer in the world, combining grace, beauty, power, and artistry.

Special thanks to community partner East West Center Arts Program

Hospitality sponsor Outrigger Hotels & Resorts

Supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program

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