About EC

With over 30 years of history on Sado Island, Earth Celebration is Japan’s Longest Running Music Festival.
In 2018, Earth Celebration ranked No.1 in visitors Satisfaction level on the travel site “japan-guide.com”,  marking the event as a unique must-go travel destination for foreign visitors.

Every year since 1988, the rich natural splendour of Sado has set the stage for Earth Celebration,  acclaimed taiko ensemble Kodo and its hometown Sado Island’s international arts festival, which seeks an alternative global culture through musical and cultural collaborations with artists from around the world. The result is 3-days of exciting outdoor live performances and opportunities to enjoy local culture and cuisine of Sado Island.

Earth Celebration is the nation’s longest running music festival, described by the New York Times as “Japan’s leading music event.” The event was also awarded “The Japan Foundation Global Citizens Award” in 1994, as well as the “Furusato event Grand Prize” by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications award in 2008. In 2009, in recognition of “notable contribution to the promotion of Japanese traditional culture and to the revitalization of the local community,” the Earth Celebration Committee was awarded the Tiffany Foundation Award for the Preservation of Japanese Traditional Arts and Culture in Contemporary Society.

In 2016, under the theme of “Children of the drum” (everyone is a child when facing a taiko), Earth Celebration worked together with the local people to make Sado more accessible and enjoyable to the visitors.

In 2018, Earth Celebration launched their new slogan “The resounding island. SADO”. In addition to various concerts, also cultural workshops, local tours, fringe performances and other activities were added to the festival. In collaborating with other events like the “Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival “, visitors were able to enjoy many different locations throughout the island. During the main period, there were about 30,000 visitors, while about 60,000 visitors came in total to “The Resounding Island. SADO” project. (April~October period).

Celebrating 31 years of EC

At the outdoor main stage, spectacular collaboration between domestic and international guests and Kodo took place every night. On the final night, all Kodo members were on stage performing in the sold-out "Kodo All-Star Special Live". Together with the people of Ogi Town the “Ogi Town Market” was held especially for the Earth Celebration giving the visitors a unique opportunity to experience and enjoy the local culture.

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 as to friends as “Hancho.”

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