Yosakoi よさこい

by Rochelle Zheng (千葉県)


Yosakoi 2

My recent obsession is yosakoi, a type of Japanese dance linked to the traditional Awa-Odori from Tokushima Prefecture. The type of yosakoi that my team does has only two rules: dancers must dance using naruko (clappers, originally used to scare away birds), and include a line from the Soran Bushi (a traditional Japanese sea shanty) in their song. Other than that, the choreography, costumes, props, etc. are entirely up to each team to decide, which means that there’s a huge amount of diversity from team to team.

I joined my team, Chiyoren Hokutenkai, this April, and since then it has slowly but surely taken over my life! My team has over 80 members from ages 6 to 70+, and it’s been a great way for me to meet all sorts of people in my local community. Each year, the team has a new original song and choreography, which we perform from late spring to late fall at festivals, events, and competitions. The best part is that our performances aren’t just in our prefecture (Chiba), but all over – together we’ve gone to Saitama, Tochigi, Hokkaido, Aichi, and more!

One of my favorite parts of yosakoi is the sense of camaraderie, not just within teams but also among them. There’s something about a shared love for the dancing and the music and all the passion that comes with it that makes everybody friendly and supportive of each other, even in competitions. And of course, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of dancing with almost a hundred teammates on a brightly lit stage at the finals of some competition, giving it your all and hoping to take the top place. Exercise, friendship, excitement – can you blame me for getting hooked? ◆

Yosakoi 1

Yosakoi 3

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