Dance Group Brings Vietnamese Fairy Tale to Japanese Yosakoi Festival

This is also the only Vietnamese Yosakoi dance team to participate in the 21st Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi in Tokyo.
August 27, 2023 | 23:03

Vietnam's Nakama Yosakoi dance group performed at the 21st Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi which opened in Tokyo, Japan, on August 26, VNA reported.

On the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam – Japan diplomatic ties (1973 to 2023), Nakama Yosakoi is the only foreign team invited to perform at the festival along with more than 100 local groups.

The highly energetic Yosakoi dance is based on Japan’s traditional movements and modern music. Performing materials also vary. Umbrellas, flags, paper fans, lanterns, and drums can be included. Those are chosen and used depending on each team’s style to create their impressions and highlights. One of the defining aspects of Yosakoi is the use of “naruko”, small wooden clappers held in the hands of each dancer.

The most popular costumes used by Yosakoi teams include “Happi” – a loose informal Japanese coat and “Yukata” - a kind of summer Kimono that can be seen in bright colors.

Dance Group Brings Vietnamese Fairy Tale to Japanese Yosakoi Festival
The performance brings a joyful, optimistic and positive energy to the audience. Photo: Nakama Yosakoi

Established in 2013, Nakama Yosakoi is a dance group sponsored by the UNESCO Information Centre under the Vietnam Federation of UNESCO Associations. It was set up to create a playground for Yosakoi enthusiasts in Vietnam, as well as contribute to the enhancement of people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

The 24-strong group performed a dance named “Irodori” (Colouring), which was inspired by the Vietnamese fairy tale “Cong va Qua” (A peacock and a crow), at the festival and won the applause of the audience.

Phan Tien Dung, representative of the dance team, said the Vietnamese fable with profound meaning will be conveyed in a new way through the Japanese dance language, according to Hanoi Times.

"It is hoped to bring positive energy to the public, especially in the context that both Vietnam and Japan are trying to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic," he added.

The Vietnamese fairy tale "The Peacock and the Crow" teaches children patience and condemns greed. Out of impatience and gluttony, the crow jumped into the bottle of black ink by itself, dyeing its white plumage dark instead of colorful feathers.

"Through the dance, our perspective is that black is also a beautiful color. Everyone should learn to love themselves and appreciate what they have," Dung said.

Dance Group Brings Vietnamese Fairy Tale to Japanese Yosakoi Festival
Nakama Yosakoi dance group from Vietnam perform on street. Photo: Nakama Yosakoi

The group attended the 15th Harajuku Omotesandou Super Yosakoi Genki Matsuri Festival in 2015 and won the “Outstanding Newcomer” Award.

The Yosakoi Festival originated in 1954 in Kochi Prefecture to revitalize the region devastated by World War II. The dance at the festival is particularly unique - energetic and loud. Over the years, the festival has spread throughout the country, and since 2001, Harajuku/Omotesando has hosted the Tokyo version.

The "Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi Festival" is one of the largest in the Tokyo calendar.

The Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi is held annually in Tokyo to honor the traditional Yosakoi dance of Kochi prefecture. This year, took place on August 26 and 27 it features more than 100 teams with over 5,000 dancers and is expected to attract nearly 1 million visitors.

Yosakoi is not only famous in Japan but also in Vietnam, particularly among the youth. Today, some Vietnamese secondary schools have also formed their own teams to perform in Japanese festivals or compete with each other. The Vietnamese Yosakoi teams also have their own dances with both Vietnamese traditional and modern music featuring Vietnamese culture.

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