Over 30,000 participants poured into the Kompleks Sukan Negara Shah Alam (Panasonic) stadium on July 22, 2017 to celebrate the 2017 (41st) Bon Odori Dance Festival.
This year’s celebration went out with a bang as a spectacular fireworks display lit up the skies of Shah Alam to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Malaysia.
The festival featured Bon Odori dance, taiko and waikado performance and cultural dance, as well as food booths.
Students of The Japanese School of Kuala Lumpur dressed in colourful traditional Japanese clothing yukata performed on a yagura (stage) in the centre of the stadium, with the jubilant crowds danced together encircling the stage.
Numerous food stalls had hungry crowds waited patiently in long lines to taste various Japanese foods.
First time attendees Muhamad Safwan of UITM Shah Alam and lab technologist Abdul Rahim from Subang Jaya, both 25, were clearly in the celebratory mood as they arrived to the event wearing the hachimaki Japanese headband.
“This is our first time at the Bon Odori event and we are out here to have fun and a good time. We are very excited seeing so many people enjoying themselves dancing to the Japanese music and exploring various Japanese food items. These are really cool,” said Safwan who looked forward to next year’s festival.
The Japanese cultural event celebrated in Malaysia dates back as far as 1977. What started as a small affair by Japanese expatriates as a means to immerse their children in Japanese culture and to allow the locals to experience a variety of Japanese foods, drinks, art and dance, the event has since grown into possibly the largest Bon Odori Festival in the world outside of Japan.