“The Kochi Yosakoi Festival runs for four days, from August 9th through the 12, in the southern city of Kochi. Some 18,000 dancers in 200 teams, carrying ‘naruko’ clappers as they go, turn the streets into a giant carnival.
The festival began in 1954 as an idea from the Kochi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to invoke health and prosperity for the citizens, and to invigorate the city’s business district, then in the throes of recession and a midsummer slump in sales. The seven hundred and fifty participants in that first festival had become more than 10,000 by the 30th anniversary. Constantly introducing new elements, the musical influences now extend from reworkings of ancient folk themes to samba and rock. The excitement of this festival, from the southern region known as ‘Tosa’, makes this a spectacle that never gets old.”