Send the International Yosakoi Team to Kochi 2019

Update posted by Daniel Rolandi On Nov 18, 2018

We're beginning a series to introduce the people behind this crowdfunding campaign! Some of us have been doing yosakoi for a long time, while some others just got started. Hopefully hearing their stories will make you more excited about our project!


Ito Yosakoi @ Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

Hi all! I'm Daniel Rolandi. I set up the campaign page and work with some others from Australia, Poland, and Japan to provide quality content in our campaign updates!

I'm currently part of Ito Yosakoi, a yosakoi group in San Francisco, USA. The picture above is from 2017. It's surprisingly hard to find pictures of me during a dance that aren't partially covered by arm or sleeves!


Teaser for a future post! Black-yellow-black should remind you of naruko.

One of the things I've always wanted to do in life is to sew clothes and crafts! Thanks to yosakoi, I have the opportunity (or rather, the motivation) to learn and practice sewing seriously. I haven't gotten to make a happi properly, but I'll get there someday!


Performing with 'Kokusai Kouryuutai' team at the government offices

In summer 2018, Ito Yosakoi was invited to Kochi to be certified as Yosakoi Ambassadors. I'll write a post to talk more about Yosakoi Ambassadors in more details, but in short, we were tasked to continue doing yosakoi and to spread it around the world. That, and getting to know other yosakoi teams around the world got me really pumped up about yosakoi!

We also had the opportunity to join the yosakoi team named ‘Kokusai Kouryuutai’ (see picture above). It was my first time dancing with that many people (more than 60 people, I think). While Japanese teams can have up to 150 people, the most I've ever danced with in the US was maybe 12 to 14 people at the time. I got a lot of excitement from fellow dancers and also the Kochi people in the audience who'd stand on the sidelines fanning us with the uchiwa. It's an experience I would love to have again!

Hopefully that got you excited! Feel free to head over to the campaign page and read more :)

// Daniel


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Update posted by Daniel Rolandi On Nov 15, 2018

(Język polski poniżej)

Heads up! This is the first installment in our series to introduce the yosakoi teams that will be sending their members to form the International Yosakoi Team 2019!

Sakuramai Poland was created in December 2012 in the beautiful Polish city of Kraków by two Japanese women - Emiko Tanaka and Eriko Yamaki. The two yosakoi enthusiasts held a workshop in Krakow in order to show a different side of Japanese culture to the Poles around them - and then another, and another… their enthusiasm for the dance and the special energy of yosakoi captivated Polish hearts and spread further, to the capital city of Warsaw and to Poznań.

Even though the team is now split between Krakow and Warsaw, the distance does not stop us from visiting each other and polishing our dance skills together. We have been performing together for six years now, in many Polish cities and even abroad. You can see our dance at our YouTube channel!

Some of our members moved to Japan in the meantime, and continue to dance in Tokyo. We also have sister teams in Canada and Hungary. Through yosakoi, we created not only a dance team, but a vibrant Japanese-Polish community, where everyone is welcome.

We performed at the biggest Japanese culture festivals and events in Poland, including the Matsuri Festival organized by the Embassy of Japan in Warsaw. We also had the honor of collaborating with the Obiyamachisuji Team from Kochi, and performed their song in Poland! This year, some of our dancers went to Kochi under the Sakuramai Poland International Team flag, and that experience can only be described as transformative. We are still hungry for more!

There is joy and energy in honing your skill with trusted friends, as well as an unparalleled sense of achievement when we stand on the stage shoulder to shoulder and put that joy and energy forward - to make our audience happy. We strive to show the beauty of yosakoi across Poland and - as members of the 2019 International Yosakoi Team - to the whole world!

http://pl.sakuramai.org/pl/
https://www.facebook.com/sakuramai.poland2012/


(Polski)

Latem tego roku udało nam się wystąpić w Kochi jako Sakuramai Poland International Team. Nasz projekt międzynarodowej drużyny odniósł tak wielki sukces, że bez wahania aktywnie włączyliśmy się w kolejny projekt, który pozwoli jak największej grupie tancerzy spoza Japonii stać się częścią tego wspaniałego festiwalu. Oczywiście, zbieramy fundusze we własnym zakresie, rezygnując z mniejszych i większych przyjemności, byleby móc znów zakosztować tej atmosfery i stanąć na scenie w Kochi, kolebce tańca Yosakoi. Członkowie naszego zespołu ze wszystkich sił przykładają się do pracy nad tym projektem.

Będziemy wdzięczni za każde wsparcie w imieniu swoim oraz tancerzy z innych zespołów, z którymi mamy nadzieję zatańczyć w Kochi w 2019 roku!

Poniżej znajduje się objaśnienie w języku polskim dot. realizacji wpłat na kampanię crowdfundingową.


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Update posted by Daniel Rolandi On Nov 13, 2018

Some of you might have heard about the Yosakoi Festival in Kochi but are not familiar with it, so we'll give you an overview!

The Yosakoi Festival is held 9th-12th of August annually in the city of Kochi on the southern edge of Shikoku island.

In 2018, the opening ceremony was on the 9th; main parades on the 10th and 11th; and the national tournament ("zenkoku taikai") and closing ceremony on the 12th. See schedule on the official website.

Hundreds of yosakoi teams, each led by a jikatasha, parade through several stages set up around the city. Some of the most prestigious ones are in Ootesuji, Obiyamachi, and Central Park -- not any team can just sign up and dance there!

There were 200+ teams on the first day alone!

In their performance, yosakoi teams have to follow the following rules:

  • Dancers must hold naruko and move forward
  • Teams may arrange the song however they like but they must include the melody of Yosakoi naruko odori
  • Max 150 dancers per team
  • Each team must have a jikatasha

Source: yosakoimatsuri.com

But aside from that, teams have complete freedom in terms of costumes, music, or even use more props (such as lanterns, fans, or parasols). This light structure allows for teams to innovate in many ways. I've seen teams with special costumes that unfold to reveal a different color underneath; now that's a revolution!

Some teams also have support staff that help with carrying necessities such as water, medicines, etc. and manage the logistics and keeping the teams on schedule!

The last but most important element of the performance is the audience -- that can be you! Audience typically border the parade path, cheering on the dancers and lending their power. This exchange between the dancers and the audience gives us dancers the energy to do more! Power on!

To note: some stages have a panel of judges that reward extraordinary dances with medals -- but that's a topic for another day!

Other interesting references

Cheers!

- Daniel


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Update posted by Kochi 2019 On Nov 08, 2018

It’s time to introduce you an essential ingredient of yosakoi performances in the Kochi Matsuri – the jikatasha music truck! The jikatasha (地方車) is so many things in one, and so much more than the sum of its parts.

Before the dancers even grace the stage, the jikatasha has taken pride of place at the front of the parade. The MC clears his throat, takes the microphone, and raises his eyes to a sea of dancers and audience members, their faces expectant. On the back of the jikatasha, the whole world can see him, and he can see the whole world.

The guitar thrums, the bass throbs, the MC sings out to the crowd. The jikatasha lurches forward and the performance begins!


(I’m really sorry for that corny poetic description, but I couldn’t really convey it in any other way!)

The jikatasha is a rolling musical stage on the back of a truck, and the pumping heart of the yosakoi team’s performance. It carries gigantic portable generators that supply electricity to a huge array of lights and powerful speakers.


Every jikatasha is lovingly decorated in each team’s design for that performance, often using the same elements and colours as the dancers’ costumes. It introduces the team's concept before the team even starts dancing, and also has space to convey the team’s name and major supporters.

And finally, perched at the top of the jikatasha, on a ready-made platform, is the yosakoi team’s band and cheer squad! They work their magic to inspire the team and audience alike to enjoy each performance with their full energy. The music has to be loud, to be heard over other teams' jikatasha and ensure that every member in the team can hear clearly, right down to the back row of the parade. For the people dancing in the front row it's like a rock concert right in your face!


To view a yosakoi parade from the back of a jikatasha is an experience like no other.

Actually, the reason we’re introducing the jikatasha is because it is the major goal of this crowdfunding campaign. It’s the largest single expense for any yosakoi team, easily exceeding ten thousand US dollars.

We really appreciate your support and donations, they’ll go directly towards constructing this fabulous vehicle. When our jikatasha is built, you’ll be the first to know, we can’t wait to show you more about the jikatasha in future posts!


- Will

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Update posted by Daniel Rolandi On Nov 06, 2018

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.

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.


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 easily!

Ito Yosakoi (San Francisco)

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!

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

- Daniel

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Update posted by Will Breedon On Nov 04, 2018
#1 - And we're live!


Hello and welcome!

We're so excited to have kicked off the campaign to bring the dream of the 2019 International Yosakoi Team to life! Thank you for being here with us.

If this campaign succeeds, almost 100 dancers from over 13 countries the world want to converge as part of the team in Kochi, in Japan, to dance in the famed Kochi Yosakoi Matsuri. And you're going to play a vital part in achieving this.

This campaign's goal is to raise $5,000 USD, which will go towards constructing the 'Jikatasha' music truck. The jikatasha is the centrepiece of the Yosakoi team and the largest single expense. It leads the team with colour, lights and music. Keep following our campaign and we'll shortly give you a full explanation of what exactly the jikatasha is, and how important it is to the team!

It's great to have you here, to be with us at the very start of the campaign, and we want you to stay with us to the very end. Every donation counts, so we want to inspire you to learn about us, and our mission.

Over the next 90 days, we're going to keep you updated on the progress of the campaign, including major milestones, team introductions, and fascinating explanations into the components that make up this unique dance called Yosakoi.

Finally, we'd like to introduce ourselves, as the volunteers behind the campaign. There are over six of us managing the project. This includes tweaking the website, designing the graphics, researching for content and crafting the posts!

We'll share more about ourselves over the coming weeks, so you can see the people behind the project. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to email us at [email protected]. We're only too happy to assist with more information and guidance.

We can't wait to share our story with you, and give you a glimpse into how your donation and support will bring it all together.

- Will


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Donate $10.00 Or More

Digital thank-you card: We'll send you a thank-you card via email!

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Donate $20.00 Or More

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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Donate $50.00 Or More

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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Donate $100.00 Or More

DVD: We'll send you a DVD recording our experience 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.

2 Backers

Donate $1000.00 Or More

Your company name on the T-shirt that our support staff will wear Kochi. Our support staff follows us everywhere! IMPORTANT: Please contact us to ensure the availability of this option before committing.

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Donate $1000.00 Or More

Your company name on the jikatasha, the music truck that carries our music equipment and lead our parade (example: https://imgur.com/WzetulS). IMPORTANT: Please contact us to ensure the availability of this option before committing.

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Donate $20000.00 Or More

Your company name in our team name. For example: International Yosakoi Team by McEnterprise. Our team name will be featured in our social media, YouTube, communications as well as in public brochures in Kochi from January through end of September 2019. IMPORTANT: Please contact us to ensure the availability of this option before committing.

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Let's work together. We can do it! Always thank you for working very hard for our team! What I can do is nothing, but I can donate. Let's make our dream come true!!!

Shota Kinoshita

Backed with $100.00 On Nov 19, 2018

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Anonymous

Backed with $100.00 On Nov 18, 2018

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Anonymous

Backed with $75.00 On Nov 18, 2018

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Barbara Johnson

Backed with $100.00 On Nov 05, 2018

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Anonymous

Backed with $200.00 On Nov 04, 2018

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I hope all of us can go to Kochi and perform together! We love Yosakoi!

Emiko Tanaka

Backed with $100.00 On Nov 01, 2018

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Kochi 2019

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Daniel

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Sharing yosakoi to the world

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Will (Teru)

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Yosakoi fan, hoping to share Yosakoi with the world!

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Kasia

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Kana Hayashi

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Barbara Johnson

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Daniel Rolandi

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