As world leaders in the performing art of Japanese drumming, Kodo state on their website that their mission is: "To explore the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko (aka wadaiko), and to forge new directions for this vibrant living art form."

Based on Sado Island, a gem of nature lying 50 km west of Niigata City in the Sea of Japan that's home to just 63,000 people — but around a third of the nation's 80-odd noh theaters — Kodo sprang from the island's fertile culture in 1981.

Since then, the company — whose name means Children of the Drums — has seen its base set amid rice paddies and persimmon groves turn into what's now known as Kodo Mura (Kodo Village), which has a rehearsal hall, an office building, a 60-bed dormitory for cast and crew, a guest house, recording studio and a taiko presentation center for visitors.