KOCHI -- Kochi Prefecture's signature Yosakoi Festival commenced on Aug. 10 for the first time in three years, with some 6,600 dancers from roughly 100 teams from the prefecture and other areas performing at 12 venues in the city of Kochi to create a lively summer mood.
The festival in the western Japan city had been canceled for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, held this year under the name 2022 Yosakoi Naruko Odori Tokubetsu Enbu, is continuing until the night of Aug 11.
Shimamuta, a team based in the prefectural town of Shimanto, prepared glamorous costumes designed with carp scale patterns, as the town is said to be where flying carp streamers above a river originated. Members performed powerful dances, and the sound of "naruko" wooden clappers echoed through the venue. Narumi Sozaki, a 20-year-old member who participated in the event for the third time this year, said with a smile, "People in the audience waving fans and cheering me on gave me strength."
Sakura, a team made up of students from Kochi Chuo High School, prepared a red outfit and a light blue one, and the members danced under the theme of "blowing away the coronavirus." Kotaro Machida, a second-year student excitedly said, "It was so much fun to perform the Yosakoi dance for the first time in three years. It was the best."
(Japanese original by Yosuke Oyake, Kochi Bureau)