SHAH ALAM: Traditional Japanese culture has a large following in Malaysia – and this was on full display at the 41st Bon Odori 2017 festival held at the National Sports Complex, Shah Alam, last night.
As with previous years, thousands of Malaysians and Japanese expatriates thronged the event venue to revel in the ancient traditions of the Empire of the Sun.
They came mostly donning colourful Yukatas – a traditional Japanese robe – to celebrate the event, which ran from 4.40pm to 11pm.
What began as a small affair for Japanese expatriates in Malaysia to immerse their children in their native culture in 1976, has now grown into a much-awaited, large-scale event which is attended by an average of 36,000 participants annually.
The celebration in Malaysia is said to possibly be the largest Bon Odori festival in the world, outside of Japan.
The festival is also an effort to promote and strengthen cultural ties between Malaysia and Japan, as well as to showcase Japanese culture to Malaysians.
Among the highlights last night were the drum performance by Japanese school students, a dance performance by the Japanese Hogaku Association, a fireworks display, a Bon Odori dance, a “WaDaiko” performance, and a Selangor Cultural Dance show.
The event was organised by The Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur, The Japanese School of Kuala Lumpur, and the Embassy of Japan, in cooperation with the Alumni Look East Policy Society (ALEPS), the Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia (JAGAM), The Japanese Chamber of Trade and Industry Malaysia, Tourism Selangor Sdn Bhd, with the support of the state government of Selangor and Invest Selangor Berhad.