Yosakoi Festival, Japan

Yosakoi Festival, Japan

Yosakoi Festival, Japan


Celebration Date
Mid August
Other Name
Holiday Type
Not National Holiday


Yosakoi is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan and that is performed at festivals and events all over the country. The first Yosakoi festival was held in 1954 in Kochi. Yosakoi-style dancing has spread throughout much of Japan. The style of dance is highly energetic, combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. The choreographed dances are often performed by large teams. Along with a number of professional yosakoi schools and town dance teams, yosakoi is also a popular event during the sports festivals held by Japanese elementary, junior, and senior high schools. Yosakoi participants include men and women of almost all ages sometimes within a single team. The
dance is no longer performed in just one style. The yosakoi dance has taken in all sorts of new ideas, and it's quite typical for dancers to don bright and showy hairdos and costumes. Some other creative additions to the dance include live rock band performances, samba or rock melodies and choreography, or themes based on popular movies.


Yosakoi Naruko Dancing

The official yosakoi dance is based on a song called "Yosakoi Naruko Dancing", written by Takemasa Eisaku. This song was created by combining elements of three songs: "Yosakoi-bushi" ("yosakoi melody"), "Yocchore" (a children's song), and "Jinma-mo" (a folk song of Kochi Prefecture). The original competition in Kochi requires that each team's music include some part of this original music. Competitions and festivals in other areas may not have this requirement (thus allowing teams to compose their own music), or may require that elements of different local folk songs are worked into the dance routines. Takemasa has given the copyright on "Yosakoi Naruko Dancing" to the public.


Yosakoi Matsuri

Yosakoi Matsuri ("yosakoi festival") is a festival in the city of Kochi, Japan. This is the original yosakoi festival it has taken place every August since 1954. In this festival, teams of dancers and floats crowd to dance the yosakoi naruko dance together. The number of participants has been increasing yearly as of 2005 over 10,000 dancers participate in this competition every year.

The rules of the Kochi yosakoi competition are as follows:

  • Participants must use the naruko clappers in the dance. 
  • Any musical arrangement is acceptable, but the music must contain at least some part of Takemasa's original "Yosakoi Naruko Dancing" song.
  • Teams are limited to 150 participants.




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