More about YOSAKOI

All Yosakoi music must, according to the rules, be based upon the traditional Yosakoi tune. But the variations the teams come up with are impressive. From rock and pop to Jazz, Samba, and even Reggae, the music of Yosakoi fills the streets and neighborhoods of Kochi with intoxicating dance rhythms.

Every dance team is led by a Jikatasha, a truck that supplies the team's music. Jikatashas, which also function as moving billboards for the team sponsors, are heavily decorated and provide each team with another visual design element. Some Jikatashas host live bands, others have prerecorded music. But either way, the Jikatasha trucks are a key element in the Yosakoi experience.

Each team also designs its own costumes. These are usually based upon traditional Japanese folk wear, but here again, the ingenuity of the dance teams in coming up with variations is impressive. Colorful and dynamic, these costumes are a treat for the eye.

Unlike many other dance festivals, Yosakoi dance teams make their own choreography. The only rule is that the dancers must carry the naruko, a wooden noisemaker, the original purpose of which was to keep birds out of planted fields. Dancers begin training about one month prior to the festival and local parks and riversides are filled with dancers in training. Some teams take all comers, others are more serious and selective. Some teams are composed of children, which steal the show. Some are company teams that have a real cross-section of ages participating.