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Japan Carnival #YOSAKOI 2024

Join us in Japan’s biggest street parade festival, YOSAKOI !!
Watch out for our brand new YOSAKOl team, 「CANAVALAVA」
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Application to join CANAVALAVA 2024 SOON COMING !!

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About Kochi

Kochi prefecture spreads east to west embracing the Pacific Ocean on the southern side of Shikoku, smallest of the four main islands of Japan.

Kochi is blessed and is famous for its rich nature…green mountains, crystal rivers and wide ocean are found everywhere, some only 30 mins drive from the city area.
You can also enjoy delicious food in Kochi. Fresh local vegetables are always available, and great sea food includes popular ‘Katsuo(bonito)’ that satisfies almost everyone who visits Kochi.
People of Kochi are friendly and cheerful, and as you can guess from the power of Yosakoi Festival, they are very energetic. They love to drink, and `Okyaku’ is one of their important traditions where people all gather to drink for any occasion from wedding to funeral, nowadays literally anything as long as everyone can have fun and feel like one big Kochi family in the end.
Kochi’s summer is a big festival season with the Yosakoi Festival, held every year on Aug. 10th and 11th. Come and witness the whole Kochi city turn into carnival parade!


Yosakoi Festival is a summer festival held on August 10th and 11th in Kochi City, first started in 1954 and is now the biggest parade style festival in Japan where people dance passionately to the music at 15 different dancing spots. During this festival, 20000 masqueraders with Naruko clappers in their hands (which is an essential tradition style) parade around the city, performing in full of energy, cheer and colors. Participants are free to choose a team(band) to join, usually making choices by each team’s costumes, music and original choreographs. Each team comes up with their own original styles and this is what makes Yosakoi Festival so unique and appealing when compared to other festivals in Japan.

Additionally, the ornately decorated music trucks called Jikatasha is another fun element of Yosakoi Festival. The whole town turns into a powerful stage with thousands of happy audiences cheering along the streets…a fascinating experience guaranteed!


About Team CANAVAL (CANAVALAVA in summer 2023)

CANAVAL is a Yosakoi Team founded in 2008 by Selector Hemo, who is known as a pioneer for introducing Soca music to Japan. She was born in Kochi city, where she grew up dancing in Yosakoi Festival. Through her multiple visits to Caribbean islands, she realized that Yosakoi Festival was somehow similar to carnival in Trinidad & Tobago and other Caribbean countries. Soon she came up with an idea to combine Caribbean style carnival with Yosakoi Festival, and after continuous process of trial and error, this one and only team CANAVAL started getting into action.

CANAVAL played Soca music in full volume with masqueraders wearing mas-like costumes jumping and wining, the mixture of Japanese traditional style and Caribbean style parade was so unique that it drew huge attention from the audience. One of the major highlights of CANAVAL is when Machel Montano, the soca king from Trinidad was invited to the team in 2017. This was the last performance for CANAVAL in Yosakoi Festival as Selector Hemo decided to take a break after keeping the team for 10 years.

This year CANAVAL returns, and we’re taking things to a new level, new stage! Now is your chance to be the first to experience her new Yosakoi team in summer 2023.


Selector HEMO: Japan’s Soca Maestro and Cultural Connector. Founder of LIME Records. Renowned DJ, Producer, and Cultural Ambassador. With an impressive 50+ trips to the Caribbean, she has pioneered the fusion of Caribbean vibes and Tokyo beats. Notably, she orchestrated a mesmerizing collaboration, blending the infectious Yosakoi dance with the world-renowned Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, giving birth to the electrifying Yosakoi team CANAVAL. Pushing boundaries, shaping music, and fostering cross-cultural connections, Selector HEMO’s vibrant melodies and rhythmic journeys transcend borders, leaving audiences enchanted and yearning for more. Experience the magic where Soca meets Yosakoi, guided by the visionary selector herself.

▼Interview with Selector Hemo. ↓Click!!

selectorHEMO interview


FATIMATA, a dancer who brings infectious smiles and dynamic dance moves, constantly delivering laughter and vibrancy. With over 20 years of experience in teaching African dance, she has choreographed for members of EXILE and has also had the experience of working on choreography, supervision, and appearances for NHK’s children’s dance program. As a pioneer in spreading the African street dance style “Azonto Afrobeats” to Japan, she conveys joy and exhilaration through her dance performances.

Choreography:Reiko Hirai

Born in Kochi City, Japan.
Engaged in Yosakoi dance since the age of 2.
A passionate advocate of Kochi’s Yosakoi and local culture.
Has choreographed for Yosakoi teams in Kochi Prefecture, Hokkaido, and Ghana.
Sharpening her insights to never miss out on anything interesting or captivating in her daily life.
• Vogue038


Interview : Rishma Hansil New

1) How was your YOSAKOI Festival experience? And joining team CANAVAL?
It was an amazing experience to feel the vibes and a fusion of cultures from the Caribbean and Japan.

2) What was impressive during the festival?
People from all over the world joined the festival, the teamwork and support of all team members made it a memorable experience.

3) Yosakoi parade has a rule to dance holding Naruko in your hands, what did you think about it? And how was the choreography?
The Naruko is a perfect instrument to keep the rhythm with the choreography!

4) Would you like to participate in YOSAKOI festival again in the future?
Definitely! I had so much fun the first time, I would love to do it again.

5) Please let us know your memories in Kochi.
Kochi is a hidden gem in Japan. The true joy is being surrounded by nature and the warmth of the locals.

6) Please let us know if there is anything to be improved on our side.
Perhaps the Yosakoi team can have “lines” similar to the “front line” and “back line” in Carnival mas bands. Those at the front know the more complex choreography well and those at the back know a simpler version so that they can participate even though they aren’t great at memorizing the steps.

7) How would YOSAKOI appeal to those who have not yet seen/experienced it?
For people who travel to Japan or to Kochi for the first time, Yosakoi is an opportunity to be part of a festival. For those who value community, teamwork and novelty experiences it could be a very memorable event for them.

Rishma Hansil

Interview : Larissa Hosein
Hello! My name is Larissa Hosein. I’m 26 years old and I’m from Trinidad and Tobago. I currently live in Komatsushima, Tokushima as an assistant language teacher on the JET programme for two junior high schools. I love my country’s culture, especially carnival and I’d like to help showcase it to people in Japan!

1) How was visiting YOSAKOI FESTIVAL?
It was a lot of fun! The dancers were beautiful and I liked seeing the different themes. I really wanted to join and dance at times but it’s more like a parade than something onlookers can join

2) Did you find it similar to carnivals in Caribbean? If so, which part?
The processions style is a bit similar but the most similar thing was the music trucks. I loved that they all had huge music trucks, reminded me of carnival back home in Trinidad.

3) How did you like the music?
The music was great! The yosakoi melody is fun.

4) What did you think of the costumes?
The costumes were very beautiful especially the intricate Japanese style ones.

5)If you were to join, do you think you can memorize and dance to the choreography?
Yes, I can!

6) Would you like to join the parade next time?
Yes, I’d like to join!

7) Please let me know what you like about Kochi.
Kochi is very chill and relaxed and I love that. Every time I go, I visit hirome market (I like to drink and eat there). I think people in Kochi are friendly and kind.

Looking forward to hearing back from you.
Warm Regards,
Larissa Hosein

Interview : AC Christie from Ilovecarnivall
1) How was your YOSAKOI Festival experience? And joining team CANAVAL?
I enjoyed it. Seeing how caribbean carnival is translated in various countries is always interesting to experience.

2) What was impressive during the festival?
The commitment to the choreography and the visuals.

3) Yosakoi parade has a rule to dance holding Naruko in your hands, what did you think about it? And how was the choreography?
No problem with holding Naruko. The choreography was good but a bit detailed for those of us who do not have to follow choreography during carnival.

4) Would you like to participate in YOSAKOI festival again in the future?
Would not mind.

5) Please let us know your memories in Kochi.
The parade, seeing all the various costumes and the people were kind.

6) Please let us know if there are anything to be improved on our side.
I think if there is choreography, please make it simpler (maybe similar to Tik Tok dance chalkenges) and give more time for foreigners to practice and we would be used to choreographed dances for carnival.

7) How would you appeal YOSAKOI to those who has not yet seen/experienced it?
I would say it is for those who would like to experience something different and be ready to participate in something which might be different from what you are used to.

 Kegon’s   Report!!
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago Soca and Carnival remains an important part of my culture and livelihood. I’ve been to many Carnivals around the world, and always seeking to experience the uniqueness of them all. Last year, after going Trinidad, Berlin, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C carnival, I made my way to Japan “CANAVAL.” Japan CANAVAL is one of the most unique Carnivals I experienced outside of Trinidad.

It’s somewhat of a hybrid between Berlin, Brazil and Trinidad Carnival. Berlin, because Japan CANAVAL is a mas truck that joins a preexisting parade. Brazil, because there is choreography involved. Lastly, Trinidad, because of the stage judging points, Soca, and various other elements as they stated, “inspired by Carnival of Trinidad and Tobago.”

I’m not a dancer by any means. Being a Trinidadian, all I know is jamming on a bumper and whining. But surprisingly, learning the dance moves and later performing it in front of thousands of Japanese fans was incredibly fun. CANAVAL uses a combination of Traditional Japanese music and Soca music. This added a level richness to the choreography, trying to blend dancing routines to both sounds.

Much like Trinidad, there are various judging points or “stages” along the road. Revelers, or “dancing people” as they call themselves, are encouraged to perform their best on these stages. Individual revelers are quickly rewarded upon clearing the stages with various levels of medals according to how well they performed. I happened to get two bronze medals — not bad for a rookie dancer!

The two-day festival includes food and drinks, including alcohol. But, I would strongly advise to drink slowly, because you don’t want to be wasted and trying to do the choreography. Prior to each stage, there are a few minutes of free dancing, do what you want and free up to unchoreographed Soca music. However, it’s near the end of day 2 of the parade the choreography ends, and people do whatever they want. Water, powder and all the other elements to just party hard.

I truly had a good time for the two days on the road partying to Soca and Japanese music. I never imagined I would be going to a Carnival in Japan. This year I plan to attend again, and I’m bringing others with me to enjoy this wonderful experience.



1) What are the differences between Japan Carnival `YOSAKOI’and Caribbean Carnivals?
It is quite similar in a way, but you will definitely experience an interesting cultural difference. Our band CANAVALAVA (JAPAN CARNIVAL) will be performing in YOSAKOI Festival, which is one of the three major festivals in Japan. The main theme of our band is the collaboration of Caribbean carnival and YOSAKOI. Like Caribbean carnivals, we dance and parade the streets for 2 days with music trucks in full volume, which is probably the biggest part of what we have in common. However, unlike Caribbean carnivals which are completely free and up to you to dance or parade in your own way, YOSAKOI has simple choreography that each band dances to. Also, you’ll have NARUKO (clapper kind of instrument used in YOSAKOI) in both hands when dancing. In CANAVALAVA, we’ll be using both SOCA and traditional Yosakoi folk music, and we’ll be mixing choreography part and free style part when parading. You’ll be practicing the choreography online and when it’s time for you to actually dance in the festival, you’ll feel great with audience cheering and giving applause, we guarantee you an amazing experience!! There’ll be over 200 music trucks and 20000 masqueraders from all over the world…so why not join our band and experience this unique festival? Once you experience it, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about… just like when you experienced Caribbean carnival for the first time.

2)What types of packages are you offering?
We have two types of packages;
①Flight / Accommodation / Guide / YOSAKOI Participation Fee(in team CANAVALAVA)
Recommended for patrons who want effortless trip with everything taken care of, including all the grand transportation / pick ups, sightseeing and English speaking staff to assist you

②Accommodation / YOSAKOI Participation Fee(in team CANAVALAVA)
Recommended for those who are living in Japan or knows how to move around and wants to do their own sightseeing.

*Please note that all hotels in Kochi city are already fully booked at YOSAKOI season, and it is extremely difficult to find vacancies now.

3)What are the details of packages and the cost?
Please register from here to receive all the updated information