Ranked No. 1 in 2018 for International Visitor Satisfaction on Travel Site “japan-guide.com”
Sado Island’s annual music festival Earth Celebration has been delighting people from around the globe for over 30 years!
Every year since 1988, the rich natural splendour of Sado has set the stage for arts and culture festival Earth Celebration (EC). Hosted by world-renowned taiko ensemble Kodo and its home, Sado Island, EC seeks an alternative global culture through musical and cultural collaborations with artists and festivalgoers from around the world. The result is three days of exciting performances featuring Kodo and special guests, unique opportunities to enjoy the culture, nature, and tastes of Sado, and much more.
EC has been described by the New York Times as “Japan’s leading music event.” The event was awarded The Japan Foundation Global Citizens Award in 1994 and the Furusato Event Grand Prize by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications award in 2008. In 2009, Earth Celebration Committee was honored with the Tiffany Foundation Award for the Preservation of Japanese Traditional Arts and Culture in Contemporary Society.
From 2016, under the theme of “Children of the Drum”–meaning we are all children when we play taiko–EC networked with locals on Sado to implement new initiatives and activities based in communities further afield on the Island.
In 2018, EC began a partnership with a new project: “Resounding Island–SADO.” In addition to the various concerts, cultural workshops, local tours, fringe performances on the EC lineup to date, an array of new offerings were added to the festival. Through collaborations with other island events such as the “Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival,” visitors were able to visit and enjoy more places all over the island.
In 2019, EC welcomed around 27,000 visitors during the main three days of the festival, while an estimated total of 45,000 visitors came to Sado between April 2019 and January 2020 while the “Resounding Island–SADO” project was underway.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Earth Celebration was held exclusively online for the first time ever. The theme for this new-look EC was "Connect with the World on Sado Island.” Over the course of three full days, the festival livestreamed a diverse lineup of 34 programs in all, giving audience members all over the world the chance to come together in spirit.
Earth Celebration Concept
By Toshio Kawauchi, from the 1983 “Kodo” Quarterly Fall Edition
“Through world music and artistic exchange, using the natural beauty of Sado to set the stage, I would like this event to be an experiment in strengthening the community ties of all the earth’s inhabitants. Then, through our mutual understanding, we can establish a new earth culture, bringing us one step closer to a world where human beings can truly live as human beings.
Under a star-filled summer night sky, with the beat of the drum carried far away on the ocean’s roar as the sound of Gamelan and sacred Shinto music fill the air… that is the vision I wish to bring into reality.”
Toshio Kawauchi (1971-1987)
Tokyo-born Toshio Kawauchi moved to Sado in 1971 to help form Kodo’s antecedent “Sado no Kuni Ondekoza,” and lived communally with the group as one of its founding members. On stage he mainly played shamisen, but he also played a large off-stage role in administration. When Kodo was founded in 1981, he became the group’s first managing director. Toshio Kawauchi was Kodo’s spiritual pillar. He poured his heart into the Kodo Village concept and the planning of Earth Celebration. His aim was to encourage the preservation of regional cultures and promote global cultural exchange. Kawauchi was known to friends as “Hancho.”