Written by Catrina Sugita
Date: 8th–9th October 2022
Location: Downtown Sendai
Michinoku Yosakoi Festival 2022
The Streets of Sendai are Filled with Folk Dance and Music with a Modern at Japan's 3rd Largest Yosakoi Festival!
Held for the first held in 1997, the Michinoku Yosakoi Festival has been a recurring event on Sendai’s calendar for over twenty years! Yosakoi festivals are held all over Japan, with Sendai's being the 3rd largest in the country.
During the festival, more than 150 teams each comprised of over 5,000 dancers from across Japan and the Tohoku region to dance their hearts out. Members of each dance groups vary not only in terms of age but gender too. Their passion and energy for dancing is clearly felt during their performances. Visit the streets filled with the ringing of naruko's (wooden hand clappers) and enjoy the visual spectacle and fusion of rock and traditional melodies!
What is Yosakoi?
The Michinoku Yosakoi Festival was inspired by the Yosakoi Festival from Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku. Yosakoi is the general name for festivals held in more than 250 cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan. They are organized around the 3 rules of "respect for tradition and creativity," "citizen-led management," and "incorporating local folk songs and dancing accompanoed by naruko".
Michinoku Yosakoi Festival beautifully incorporates both old and new, with the objective of reviving the Tohoku identity through folk songs adapted to the modern age. These adaptations are led by the passion and creativity of the citizens themselves, fusing modernity, music, fashion, dance, with tradition and regional folk songs.
What makes Yosakoi Festivals and performances so interesting is that since the rules are the same throughout the country, participants can not only showcase their folk songs and regional characteristics, but also achieve a sense of unity with members from far away, who share the same philosophy.