Send KIZUNA International Team to Kochi 2020

Update posted by Daniel Rolandi On Dec 08, 2019

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日本語でのご支援・ご協力はこちらのページをご覧下さい


(Photo Credits: Kizuna Staff)

Hello! My name is Laura and I live in Winnipeg, Canada.

I started Yosakoi roughly 3 years ago and had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Kochi Yosakoi festival with the Sakuramai Poland International Team. Dancing in the Kochi Yosakoi festival that year was the hardest thing I have ever done, both physically and emotionally. Yet the thrill of dancing in front of so many smiling people and feeding off of the energy of the International team called me back, and I found myself signing up to be a part of the Kizuna International Team in 2019. I’m so happy I did.

Some of my awesome Kizuna teammates (Photo Credits: Kizuna Staff)

Being a part of the 2019 Kizuna International Team introduced me to so many wonderful people from all around the world. Before the Kochi festival, we trained together at a local sports camp in Ino Town. Dancing, laughing, sleeping, and eating with everyone for those 3 days in training camp added such an amazing level of friendship to the team. It was also extremely fun meeting the people of Ino Town and doing a language exchange with the local elementary students.


Decorating paper fans with elementary students from Ino Town (Photo Credits: Kizuna Staff)

When the festival started, I was once again testing my limits physically and emotionally. Dancing for 3 straight days in the high Japanese heat is no small feat. Yet everyone on the team was full of smiles and pushing to do our best throughout all of our performances. In the end we danced our routine over 42 times at many different venues around Kochi City.


Still smiling on the last day of the festival @ Kochi Castle Stage (Photo Credits: Kizuna Staff)

And even though I ended up with many blisters on my feet, I was so happy to be there again, in the beautiful city of Kochi, celebrating this amazing Yosakoi dance style, surrounded by such wonderful people.

I honestly can’t wait to do it all again in 2020!

- Laura

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Update posted by Daniel Rolandi On Dec 04, 2019

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日本語でのご支援・ご協力はこちらのページをご覧下さい

Naruko are an essential prop in yosakoi dance. Dancers hold one of these wooden clappers in each hand and during the dance they are used to make 'clack' sounds in time with the music.


You can find these special 高知家 (kou-chi-ke, meaning "Kochi Family") naruko in Kochi! (Source: Daniel Rolandi)

The traditional design has a red body with black-yellow-black stripes on the three loose clapping tines on both sides of the naruko (called bachi). More stylized naruko can have various colors, bachi on only one face (called kata naruko), or even more intricate designs including logos burned onto its side.


Gotta collect 'em all, naruko! Gotta clack 'em all, naruko! This is our dear leader Emiko Tanaka's naruko collection. (Source: Emiko Tanaka)

It is said that historically naruko were used to scare away crows and other pests from rice fields. If used correctly, they can make quite a loud noise -- it scares away my roommate's cat!

There are various ways to hold a naruko. However you hold them, you'll need to hold tight so you don't drop them in the middle of the dance! When that happens, dancers usually pretend nothing happened, keep smiling and carry on with the dance!


I have seen both ways of holding the naruko. I think the first one is more common. (Source: Daniel Rolandi)

In Kochi, there are many shops that sell naruko in various design! Where I live (California, USA), we used to be able to find naruko in DAISO, a Japanese chain store. You should check out your nearest Japanese store -- you might find some!

- Daniel Rolandi


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Update posted by Kochi 2019 On Nov 28, 2019

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日本語でのご支援・ご協力はこちらのページをご覧下さい

Hi everyone! I'm sure some of you are curious how the 2019 project went so let me share some highlights. Hopefully this inspires you to support or even join the project! We're still recruiting dancers and staff members :D


Our team picture taken at Kochi Castle's entrance

I have been doing yosakoi since 2015. I love performing yosakoi and feeling the excitement from the music and from the audience, so I was glad to get an opportunity to perform in the Kochi Yosakoi Festival.


Yes, I sweat a lot all over my body (Photo Credits: Kizuna Staff)

It addition to the festival on August 10th-12th, we had a training camp on August 6th-9th. We practiced in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening for several hours each! I have never had so much yosakoi training in such a short period of time. It was a great time to bond with other members, especially during meal time.

We had a cultural exchange event with elementary kids from Ino Town where we stayed. They were still young, but so brave to converse with us foreigners in English!! We made traditional Japanese paper together, called washi.


Hand making traditional Japanese paper together (Photo Credits: Daniel Rolandi)

My highlight from the festival is the performance at Central Park. It was a stage performance and I was placed first row! I was freaking out the entire morning because I was afraid of making mistakes. In the end, it turned out okay and I was grateful for this opportunity to grow as a dancer.

I'm excited for next year's festival. I hope to see you there!



- Daniel Rolandi

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Video thank-you message: We'll send you a thank-you message in a video! This includes the digital card from the previous tier.

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Physical thank-you card: We'll send you a card to your mailing address! [This requires you to tell us your postal address at checkout.] This includes the video message, digital card from the previous tiers.

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2020 Mini DVD: We'll send you a DVD recording containing one of our 2020 performances in Kochi, by mail, email, or both depending on what you provide us! [This requires you to tell us your postal address at checkout.] This includes the video message, physical and digital card from the previous tiers.

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2019 Full DVD: We'll send you a DVD recording of all our 2019 performances in Kochi, by mail, email, or both depending on what you provide us! [This requires you to tell us your postal address at checkout.] This includes the 2020 Mini DVD, video message, physical and digital card from the previous tiers.

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2020 Full DVD: We'll send you a DVD recording of all our 2020 performances in Kochi, by mail, email, or both depending on what you provide us! [This requires you to tell us your postal address at checkout.] This includes the 2019 Full DVD, video message, physical and digital card from the previous tiers.

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Donate $300.00 Or More

You get to ride on our jikatasha during the festival! You need to be present at the festival on Aug 10 and 11 and we have the right to decide the schedule. This includes the 2019 Full DVD, video message, physical and digital card from the previous tiers.

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Your company name on the fan (uchiwa) that we will use in Kochi. IMPORTANT: Please contact us to ensure the availability of this option before committing.

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Good luck guys!!! I know you can make it! <3

Matt Johnson

Backed with $20.00 On Nov 25, 2019

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Please donate any amount! This is a wonderful opportunity for international friendships!

BARBARA JOHNSON

Backed with $200.00 On Nov 20, 2019

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Kochi 2019

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Daniel Rolandi

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Anna-marie Pico

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