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How I discovered Soran Bushi

2024-01-06 00:00:00 / episode: 355


When I was a boy growing up in Canada

we had to do Folk Dance in Elementary School as part of gymnastics class.

personally I hated it.

it was boring, and I never did it anywhere else.

so it was never connected to me.

I guess as an elementary school student I didn't like dancing.

it was just uncool.

Maybe I was too insecure.

anyway I discovered folk dancing in Japan is far from boring.

Hi and welcome to the Les Perras podcast for extensive English listening. This is episode 355 about soran bushi.

Soran Bushi

Soran Bushi is a Japanese folk dance that originated in Hokkaido.

it is based off of the traditional song of the Japanese fishermen in Hokkaido.

they sang the song to the work they were doing.

so a lot of the song is accompanied by movement.

In the 1950s, it was finally formalized into the Soran Bushi song

finally the song was turned into a dance.

they are highly energetic and.. well, I don't know, but it's just really cool for me.

Work In International School

when I was working in an International School in Osaka,

one of my classes practised this song for weeks

in preparation for a festival.

I had the chance to watch a few of their practices and

I was impressed.

They were very tired after practice.

they often had sore muscles the next day.

but the intensity carried passion and was contagious.


Many years later as a parent my son took part in a festival with the same dance.

I was quite happy to hear he was doing the dance.

They practice a lot and my son was tired after school.

They also had very nice costumes.

it made me feel proud to watch him do the dance with all his classmates.

University Festival

just last summer when my son's first year of University

he took me to the University Festival.

there were lots of things to do with money University

students holding many events.

One of the events was a dance event. there was a dance group.

the University students got in a group of 20 or 30 and

danced a highly choreographed dance.

I checked with my son, and he said it falls into the category of Yosakoi.


Yosakoi is a combination of traditional Japanese folk dances with modern beats.

These dances are very very high energy and quite fun just to watch

In fact there are whole festival devoted to this kind of dance.

It's really cool for me because there seems to be no

barrier to age and many different ages

can be found on the same team.

on top of that it's a nice melding of traditional model.

I often imagine young people don't like traditional things but

this proves me wrong

The high energy folk dances with a modern beats and lots of passion and a bit of sweat all

combined make for a great show.