According to Japanese folklore, the Yasha is a female guardian spirit who became reincarnated with great fierceness and power. It is with that same fierceness our dragon boat team, the Yasha Dragons debuts this season.


For those unfamiliar with dragon boat, it has a long and rich history here in Okinawa. Dragon boat festivals or "Harii" are held in ports all over the island to honor the sea and to pray for fishermen to have a good catch. Boats carrying anywhere from 4 to 10 (sometimes up to 32 paddlers in the case of the Naha Harii!) race to the finish with a drummer at the front and a steersman or "kajitori" in the back. The sport is believed to have originated in China and is now popular all over the world with massive races held as far away as Hungary and New Zealand.


While the history of Yasha Dragons is just beginning, our team possesses a great deal of experience. Under the direction of coach Kristen Tull, we are lucky enough to combine the expertise of veteran paddlers from all over the island. Perhaps the greatest asset of this team though, is the team itself. We have a strong group of women who are truly focused and passionate about the sport and wants each other to be the best we can be both on and off the water.

Another exciting dynamic of this team is our international focus. With dragon boat having such a large global footprint, we are excited to not only compete in the Okinawa festivals but also travel to races abroad.

Our first race of the season will be March 16th in Taiwan at the Pacific International Dragon Boat Festival.

If you're interested in supporting us and seeing what this wonderful sport is all about, please check out our Facebook Page and Instagram account. We will be posting videos and updates often as well as our race schedule. Go Yasha!

2019 will be the Year of the Yasha!

The Year of the Yasha: by Katie Frost
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
  • Like
Reactions: David and Okinawa