The first Yosakoi Festival was held in Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture in 1954 as a way of restoring the economy and boosting local morale after the Second World War. Since then, the now-infamous festival has been held every year over four days, from August 9 to 12, in the heart of Kochi City and featuring over 18,000 dancers.
This year approximately 1.15 million visitors were entertained by the vibrant and energetic dancing parades and performances that rotated around 16 locations within the city. With naruko clappers in hand, 200 different dancing teams performed their uniquely choreographed performances to famed folk songs for the whole city to see. As well as the colorful scenery and energetic atmosphere, one of the most exhilarating perks of the Yosakoi festival is that all visitors are free to join in and dance along with the performers.
On October 28, at the Tobu Hotel Levant in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, the Kochi Yosakoi Information Exchange Center held a promotional event, “Yosakoi Information Exchange Meeting,” with special guests such as the governor of Kochi Prefecture, Masanao Ozaki. The meeting delivered entertaining Yosakoi performances alongside an overall presentation about the origin of Yosakoi and it’s international development.
Since its inception 66 years ago, Yosakoi has grown to spread all through the country and beyond. Held now in more than 200 locations around Japan, and in 29 regions/countries around the world, the festival will be in the global spotlight during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
As well as the main festivities in summer, the Yosakoi spirit can be experienced year-round at the Kochi Yosakoi Information Exchange Center, where they promote the festival through colorful costumes, panels, and video displays. In the center, you can try on a Yosakoi costume and dance along to an instructional video with naruko clappers. As well as getting your picture taken, you can also make your own naruko clappers and take them home as a souvenir for just ¥1,000.
The 67th Yosakoi Festival in 2020
Dates: Aug 9, 2020 (Eve of Festival), 10 and 11 (Main Festival), Aug 12, 2020 (National Competition and Closing Ceremony)
Venue: 16 locations within Kochi City (various stages and arcades)
No. of participants: Around 18,000 people from approximately 200 teams