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First Yosakoi Festival in Vietnam Celebrated in Hanoi

Vietnam Yosakoi Festival 2023, the very first of its kind, brought Japanese traditional dance “Yosakoi” to Hanoi. There were 650 performers from 16 teams and a crowd of hundreds, proving the blooming love for Japanese culture among Vietnamese people .

Vietnam Times Wed, April 26, 2023

(Photo: Tao Dat)

Taking place at AEON MALL Ha Dong (Ha Noi), Vietnam Yosakoi Festival 2023 was organized by the Vietnam – Japan Cultural Exchange Association in collaboration with Nui Truc-Sugi Ryotaro Japanese Language Center. This is one of the highlight events to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam – Japan diplomatic relations (1973-2023).

Representing the host, Le Ngoc Dinh – President of the Vietnam – Japan Cultural Exchange Association delivered the opening speech, stressing that the growing number of Yosakoi clubs in Vietnam is an example of the cultural exchange and friendship cooperation between Vietnamese and Japanese people.

“It is a pleasant sign to see that Yosakoi dances in Vietnam carry not only the spirit of the land of the rising sun but also the Vietnamese identity. There are Vietnamese Yosakoi clubs have been invited to Yosakoi Festival in Japan and received the title of “Yosakoi Ambassador in Vietnam” awarded by the Governor of Kochi Prefecture, Japan,” said Dinh.

There are 16 Yosakoi clubs from Hanoi, Hai Phong performed at the first Festival. The event was held in 3 sessions throughout the day on April 23. It was a success, attracting a crowd of hundreds, and is expected to become an annual event.

One of the performers, the Hanuyo Yosakoi Club revealed that its Yosakoi dance combined Japanese-style dancing with the aesthetic of Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn Festival. To make it possible, Hanuyo Yosakoi members performed in vibrant-colored clothes with props that represent traditional Vietnamese toys like Lion paper heads, and paper lanterns.

“The members practiced for a long time for the festival. Introducing traditional Vietnamese culture into Yosakoi dance is quite difficult. We chose traditional elements for the music, like the music used in water puppetry, Chau Van singing, or children’s song like “Chiec Den Ong Sao”, said Dang Ngoc Thuy, representative of Hanuyo Yosakoi Club.

General Manager of AEON MALL Ha Dong Tomaru Keisuke attended the morning event and also expressed a great impression.

“I used to work in Kochi in Japan, the birthplace of Yosakoi, one of the famous performances areas for Yosakoi so I have high expectations. Today, the performers understand Yosakoi well, performed well, not only Japanese culture but also mix with Vietnamese culture so it is very interesting,” said Tomaru Keisuke.

He also added that Yosakoi Festival is a good opportunity to cooperate and unify the two cultures to gain mutual understanding. As the representative of AEON Mall, the biggest Japanese department store franchise in Vietnam, he stated that there will be many more cultural exchange festivals, cosplay, and anime events, introducing Japanese products to Vietnamese customers held in AEON Mall in the near future.

“I know that in Vietnam’s schools, students practice [yosako] but don’t have the opportunity to perform for families and friends so AEON Mall wants to provide that opportunity,” said Tomaru Keisuke.

One of the audience, Vu Minh Cuong (21 years old, University of Social Sciences and Humanities) stated that he was blown away after watching Yosakoi dance for the first time.

“I find this Japanese dance are fun with strong movements, beautiful colorful costumes. I am most impresses with the moment when all big flags of the 16 teams waving at the same time. All of that creates a really attractive scene,” said Cuong.

VN-Korea dance

Another common prop is colorful fan (Photo: Nhung Nguyen).

“Yosakoi” is the name of a unique style of dance that originated in Japan and is performed at festivals and events all over the country. The first Yosakoi festival was held in 1954 in Kochi, Japan, on the island of Shikoku. Yosakoi-style dancing has spread throughout much of Japan.

Before Yosakoi festival existed, Japanese traditional festivals called “Matsuri” have been held with a focus on tradition and according to time-honored customs and rules, while incorporating the history and practices of each region, according to Trends in Japan.

In contrast with Matsuri, Yosakoi festival let all kinds of people of all ages go wild with excitement as they celebrate in a freer and merrier manner. The new festivals that developed in relation to Yosakoi Matsuri are collectively known as “Yosakoi”.

SOURCE: Vietnam Times, Vietnam Wed, April 26, 2023

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