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Friday, 6th June 2014
In Events In Japan,

Yosakoi Soran Festival gets underway

The Yosakoi Soran Matsuri got underway in Sapporo City in northern Japan this week, with thousands of participants flocking to the metropolis in order to enjoy the jaw-dropping Yosakoi dance displays.

An enormous international celebration, the festival regularly attracts some 30,000 dancers from Japan and across the world, with the bulk of the performances taking place in and around Sapporo's splendid Odori Park.

While there are plenty of conventional routines to enjoy, there are also extravagant parades that demonstrate the enormous love in Japan for a great festival, coupled with opportunities for newbie dancers to have a go at Yosakoi themselves.

Characterised by energetic choreography, vibrant costumes and colourful makeup, Yosakoi is an incredible spectacle set to folk melodies that originate from the nation's Hokkaido island, which are known as soran.

The festival itself celebrates the interesting pairing of the dance with the music, which was until relatively recently sung only by fishermen as they dragged their catch over the side of the boat.

However, the story goes that a Hokkaido University student initially saw a Yosakoi dance festival in the Kochi Prefecture and decided to bring the concept to Hokkaido, setting it to the soran type of music.

The first Yosakoi Soran Matsuri in Hokkaido was staged in 1992 and attracted around 1,000 dancers, with numbers steadily increasing every year to the astonishing strength they are at today.

Performances are staged in teams and are quite an exciting visual spectacle, with up to 150 participants permitted in each team.

Sapporo is the largest city of the Hokkaido island, which is the least-developed of Japan's major islands. The metropolis also plays host to the Sapporo Snow Festival, which once a year sees Odori Park lined with awe-inspiring snow structures and pine trees bedecked with shimmering lights.

Related news stories:
Obon: What's it all about? (13th August 2014)