Premium Yosakoi dance festival brings smiles ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Premium Yosakoi: The world’s next dance craze, live from Tokyo, Japan.

Premium Yosakoi was live streamed around the world from Tokyo on July 4, 2021. You can watch the full 1 hour 45 minute show on YouTube until July 22. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy the spectacle of this exciting dance and learn about its origins and how it has caught the imagination of people all over Japan and around the world.

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Yosakoi: A local dance that caught the imagination of the nation

Japan doesn’t immediately spring to mind when it comes to dances that have captured the imagination of the world. Yosakoi, an exuberant dance born in the remote region of Kochi in Shikoku, however, might just change that. GetHiroshima readers may know Yosakoi from the Yosakoi dance parade held on Hiroshima Peace Boulevard on the final day of the Hiroshima Flower Festival.

Premium Yosakoi - Strike a pose

Yosakoi is known for its powerful energy, upbeat music, elaborate choreography and dazzling costumes (and super-fast costume changes reminiscent of Hiroshima Kagura) and huge troupe flags. Not to forget the naruko clackers, a kind of rattle originally employed to scare crows away from agricultural fields and an essential part of Yosakoi.

Premium Yosakoi - Kochi yosakoi live from Kochi

Hiroshima is by no means alone in making Yosakoi its own. Grand Yosakoi festivals are held all around Japan and groups dedicated to the dance can be found in every corner of the country. There are also a growing number of Yosakoi dance troupes overseas. The popularity of the dance is due, in part at least, to the generous spirit of the people of Kochi and the creator of the song that kicked off the whole thing off in particular. Takemasa Eisaku wrote the song “Yosakoi Naruko Dance” for the original Yosakoi Dance Festival, first held in Kochi City in 1954.

Premium Yosakoi - Kochi yosakoi live from Kochi

Takemasa, who incorporated elements of three folk songs, made “Yosakoi Naruko Dance” a gift to the people, allowing them to adapt the song in any way they pleased. Festival organizers are equally accommodating, encouraging troupes to interpret the dance in any way they liked, as long as they included at least some elements of the original song and incorporate the use of the naruko clappers.

Premium  Yosakoi - Props are always welcome

Troupes have taken up the challenge with gusto, creating ever more elaborate choreography and costumes, backed by soundtracks that borrow from rock, pop and club music; There are are even samba Yosakoi troupes! It all makes the dance incredibly fun to watch, troupe after troupe after troupe.

Premium Yosakoi - Daruma Dance

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the first cancelation of the Kochi Yosakoi Festival in its almost 65-year history and troupes all around the country have been unable to gather to do what they love for many months. As Tokyo will not be welcoming the people of the world this summer as planned, Premium Yosakoi aims to safely give these troupes a platform from which to send out the energy and encouragement that Yosakoi exudes to the world. It is fitting that this dance created in the 1950s to help revive the spirits of a defeated and still war-ravaged nation, now brings smiles to pandemic-weary people from around the globe via YouTube.

we love yosakoi troupe

Inclusivity is something that is stressed throughout the 2-hour show. Regardless of race, nationality, gender or ability, the world of Yosakoi is ready to welcome you. The Tokyo 2020 may be remembered as a troubled Olympics, but this is surely something that all can agree on. So sit back, click on YouTube and enjoy Premium Yosakoi!

July 2021

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of and loves running in the mountains.