History of Yosakoi

Yosakoi means ‘Come at night’ in Tosa Dialect from the Southern island of Shikoku. As island folk, the people of Shikoku love outdoor dancing, and its indigenous dance was the popular Awa Odori.

After the Second World War, the city of Kochi organised a Yosakoi dance competition in an attempt to revive its economy and to promote its local culture and tourism industry.

The rules of the competition was simple – like Awa Odori, dancers had to dance down the main street, but teams could apply modern twists to it and the dance-style was entirely up to the team – from the traditional, to samba, jazz, rock’n'roll, Chinese inspired – as long as they used the ubiquitous clapper known as the ‘naruko’ and their music contained the tune and lyrics of the official theme song, ‘Yosakoi Naruko Dancing’.

The composer of the theme song, Takemasa Eisaku, took elements of three folk songs of the area – the ‘yosakoi-bushi’ (yosakoi melody), ‘Yocchore’ (children’s song) and ‘Jimma-mo’ (Kochi folk song) – to create Yosakoi Naruko Dancing.

Then in the early 90′s a University student from Hokkaido visited Kochi’s Yosakoi and decided to bring the idea to Hokkaido. But instead of using the Yosakoi-bushi as the theme music, they used the Soran-Bushi – a traditional Hokkaido fisherman’s folksong – as the basis of what eventually became “Yosakoi Soran”

Not to be outdone, in Tokyo, they have the SUPER Yosakoi – where the theme music used is the Yosakoi-bushi. The Super Yosakoi is held in the heart of trendy Omotesando, and the event is voted as one of the Top Ten popular events in Tokyo.

There are many videos on Youtube where you can view the different teams, the costumes, the styles and also the music! Yocchore, Yocchore, Yocchore, Yo!!!

 

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