Yo: Yosakoi Festival

Yosakoi Festival
What is Yosakoi?
Japanese Dance Culture
Dance Lesson

Yosakoi Festival

The city of Kochi, in Kochi Prefecture, holds a festival called the “Yosakoi Festival” – every year in August, from the 9th to the 12th. Find out more here!

This festival features approximately 200 dance teams, comprising 18,000 dancers, in a parade that marches through the city of Kochi. A wide and diverse array of dance teams – from traditional Japanese dance, samba, flamenco, hula dance, to street-style dancing such as hip-hop – participate in these festivities. Every team intensely prepares their outfits and choreography for the 4-day celebration, and practices extensively throughout the year. It is said that about 1 million people come over the course of these 4 days to watch this festival.

What is Yosakoi?

The word “Yosakoi” is an old saying, meaning “come at night.” Nowadays the word has no relation to that original meaning and is used to name dance festivals, dance contests, and similar events throughout Japan. It is said that there are about 200 such “YOSAKOI” events all across the country, including Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Sasebo… Since 2001, Tokyo has been hosting “The Harajuku Omotesando Genki-matsuri Festival – Super Yosakoi”. Find out more here!

Japanese Dance Culture

Most people might not associate Japanese with the saying “Japanese people enjoy dancing,”.  However, Japan has had a “dance culture” since ancient times. When we say “dance culture,” that definition is not limited to traditional “Japanese dance” – with performers wearing beautiful kimonos while dancing on stage. In summer, people living in local regions have gathered together  to participate in the “Obon dance.” For the past 1000 years, this may be considered a form of “Japanese street dancing…?”
Nowadays, “dance” is prioritized as a part of education in schools. Since 2008, dance has become a compulsory subject together with martial arts (judo and kendo) in physical education classes. In such dance classes, street-style dancing such as hip-hop has become prominent.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has said that it hopes that all children can experience the fun and joy of dancing. Japanese dance, ballet, social dance, jazz dance, hip-hop, house, etc… Right now, there are many dance studios and schools in Tokyo. It has been said that the city of Tokyo may have the largest population of dancers in the world.

Dance Lesson

Would you like to take on the challenge of a dance lesson in Tokyo…?
For more details, visit this page.

About this week’s blog author:
Mr. Shigemi Matsumoto, was a junior high school Japanese teacher for 23 years before joining Coto Language Academy. Therefore, he is a Japanese language pro. He currently teaches Coto’s Intensive Courses (intermediate and advanced), Business Courses and the Part Time N1 grammar and reading classes. He is also involved in developing teaching materials at Coto.

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