Bon Odori 2017 celebrates Malaysia-Japan continuous relations



KOTA KINABALU: This year’s Japanese Cultural Night Bon Odori 2017 held at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) had a deeper meaning as it commemorated the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Malaysia and Japan.

The event’s director, Chai Chuan Wooi, said this year’s event was extra special as it celebrates the continuous relationship between the two countries.

“Tonight’s event does not only promote Japanese culture but also to celebrate the strong bilateral ties between Malaysia and Japan.

“This year is also special because we invited the Ambassador of Japan in Malaysia, Dr. Makio Miyagawa to officiate the celebration, which was never seen before,” he said to New Sabah Times.

Bon Odori, a summer festival in Japan is an occasion where one honours their ancestors through offerings and celebration.

A dance called Bon Odori is performed during the festival along with Taiko performance accompanied by singing and dancing.

The annual event organised by UMS Japanese Cultural Club (JCC) entered its ninth installment with over 1,000 visitors despite the rain at Padang Kawad UMS last Saturday night.

A total of 15 booths selling Japanese foods and snacks apart from traditional games and exhibitions were put up at the compound throughout the night.

“It is wonderful that Malaysians and Japanese enjoy hand in hand in this very heartwarming event particularly this year when Malaysia and Japan celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

“May you enjoy dancing and other live entertainments and take home fond memories and big smiles on your faces,” said Miyagawa during the opening ceremony.

He further noted it was impressive to see the passion amongst the organising committee in making the cultural night a success. “My embassy and our office in Kota Kinabalu are always ready to offer assistance,” he added.

Also present was UMS Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Shahril Yusof who expressed his reverence over the beauty of Japanese culture which has become fundamental in the Malaysia-Japan diplomatic ties.

“The elegance and simplicity of the Bon Odori dance movement allow the uniqueness of Japanese culture to relate beyond the boundaries of Malaysian community.

“This celebration serves as a showcase of Japanese culture as it features festival foods, traditional games as well as cultural performance.

“All of this shows to be a platform in continuing the relationship between Malaysia and Japan,” he asserted.

Visitors of Bon Odori 2017 had the opportunity to join in the Bon dance followed by various entertainment items including the Soran Bushi performance by Kinabalu Japanese School, Shorinji Kempo Federation, and Aikido Renshin Budo Kai among others.

New Sabah Times