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Japanese Tradition (English)

Introducing Yosakoi Dance of Tanegashima Island

Introducing Yosakoi Dance of Tanegashima Island
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About Yosakoi Dancing in Tanegashima

Yosakoi Odori is a traditional dance originated in Kochi Prefecture, Japan, and is one of the most famous dances in Japan.

The history of Yosakoi Odori is long and dates back to the Edo period (1603-1867), about 400 years ago.

At that time, it was a festival held in Kochi Prefecture, where participants performed the dance while playing flutes and drums. Later, in the early Showa period, Yosakoi Odori developed into its present form. After all, the dance can be said to be from Kochi Prefecture.

Today, Yosakoi Odori is danced in Kochi Prefecture and other parts of Japan, and its popularity is increasing. In particular, the Kochi Yosakoi Festival, held in August, is known as one of the most popular festivals in Japan that attracts many people.

On Tanegashima Island, people often dance to some island event, and they dance in summer, winter, and even in heavy rain.

Yosakoi dancing is characterized by elements such as the strong and bright tune of the music, the bright costumes, and the "kakegoi" (call to action) in which the dancers dance in unison.

The leader of the yosakoi team calls out this call with a microphone, and the members dance to it.

The highlight of the yosakoi dance is the vigorous shouts, such as "Ha-ha! is one of the highlights of yosakoi dancing.

The dancers are open to anyone regardless of age, gender, occupation, or region.

Even the teams on Tanegashima Island include everyone from children to the elderly, as long as they are strong on their feet and legs.

Yosakoi dancing continues to evolve while respecting its history and traditions and incorporating modern elements, and I have heard that the unique sub-dance of the region is transmitted and evolved.

The fact that no two teams perform the same dance is one of the main characteristics of yosakoi. Also, each team is researching their dances on a daily basis.

We hope that this dance will continue to be loved by many people and be passed down to Tanegashima as a part of Japanese culture.

The team introduced in this article is called "Shimakoi Minamitanekoi," a team from Minamitaneko Town on Tanegashima Island, who performed this dance at the "Minamitanekoi Town Furusato Festival.

About the history and tradition of Yosakoi dance in Japan

Yosakoi dancing has a variety of interesting stories and topics. Some of them are introduced below.

Origin of Yosakoi Dance

The Yosakoi dance originated from a Shinto ritual held in Kochi Prefecture. In the past, people used to visit local shrines to perform Shinto rituals, during which they played flutes and drums while dancing. This is said to have been the prototype of Yosakoi Odori.

Costumes for Yosakoi Dancing

Yosakoi dance costumes are characterized by bright colors and gorgeous embroidery.

Among them, the "Awa Odori Costume" made mainly in Kochi City is the most famous costume for Yosakoi dancing, and is worn by many dancers.

Even on Tanegashima Island, the costumes are completely different depending on the teams in each district, and we encourage you to observe the isos.

Yosakoi Dance Songs

There are many songs in Yosakoi dance. Among them, the song "Yosakoi bushi" is known as a representative song of Yosakoi dancing.

This song has a bright and powerful melody and plays a role in enlivening the atmosphere of Yosakoi dancing.

When several Yosakoi teams get together and dance as a group, this song is played at large festivals because there is no team that cannot dance without the character zenuji match.

Yosakoi Dance Kakei

Yosakoi dancing is characterized by dancers who call out to each other as they dance.

These calls play an important role in supporting the dancers as they dance in unison, a role often played by the leader of the team.

It seems that women often write the calls because their voices are more easily understood.

Popularization of Yosakoi dance

Currently, Yosakoi Odori is danced throughout Japan, especially in Kochi Prefecture. It is also popular overseas, and Yosakoi dance festivals are held in the United States, Europe, and other countries.

In Tanegashima as well, they usually practice in the evening and at night in gymnasiums and other places.

When I was first assigned to Tanegashima, I was walking in front of the gymnasium and someone said to me, "Oh, you don't look familiar! You don't look familiar! Come here for a minute! and brought me into the gymnasium.

He was like, "Please come and watch the yosakoi dance of Tanegashima! It was an episode that is very typical of Tanegashima.

Summary of Yosakoi Dancing on Tanegashima Island

Here are 59 photos of Yosakoi. All of the photos were taken at the time of the event, so please forgive any variations in brightness or other aspects of the images.

Thank you very much for viewing them.

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