Winter is here and there’s fewer and fewer festivals, so why not recall the summer with one of the last big summer festivals, the Fukuro Matsuri in Tokyo’s northern Ikebukuro district and the two day Yosakoi festival. Recently the huge yosakoi dance teams are becoming more popular abroad, as there are now teams in the US, Malaysia, Indonesia and even Ghana! The rules of yosakoi is simple, no more than 150 members per team and they have to contain elements of the original yosakoi music as well as use the traditional wooden clappers. Many teams have also started using the huge flags, the bigger the better, that you can see at the end of this post. The flags are so big that only the strongest team members can handle them and the trick is in getting them to swirl gracefully in the air without touching the ground. It really does look impressive. If you are into sequenced dancing and flashy outfits, yosakoi might just be for you!
At the annual two day Yosakoi performance at the Ikebukuro Fukuro Matsuri I took these photos of wonderful kids dancing! I think the youngest dancer I saw must have been about 4 years old, these however, were a little older. Have a great weekend and remember to do something with your time! Get off the Internet and go out dancing!
At Ikebukuro’s gigantic Fukuro Matsuri, the Owl Festival, one of Tokyo’s largest Yosakoi competitions, I saw this performance by the team RHK Kizuna, who had a splendid performance including a half second costume change half way through! I don’t know much about yosakoi, the second of Japan’s two large group dance styles. I think I’m particularly pleased wit the last shot in the series. Enjoy!
For two weekends in January at the Tokyo Dome near Korakuen in central Tokyo there’s an event called the Furusato Matsuri, basically an arena festival gathering all the major festivals of Japan into one spot. Furusato could roughly be translated as “home town” I guess. It’s basically cheating I think, you get to see the best dances and performance on stage without having to travel! It’s also something of a major gastronomical event as dozens of food stands prepare the most famous local dishes for visitors. It’s a little expensive but how many times in your life will you be able to watch folk dancing from a stadium seat? There’s also a few outside performances and last weekend I walked past and was lucky enough to time my visit to catch this Yosakoi troupe performing! Yosakoi is a very colorful dance with large movements, large costumes, thick make up and big music. More photos from more events to come!