SHAH ALAM: It was a colourful affair at the Bon Odori celebrations here Saturday (July 16), which took place after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Many participants could be seen decked out in traditional Japanese Yukata summer attire during the event.
With an estimated 35,000 participants, the Shah Alam Sports Complex was packed, with many setting up picnics surrounding the main stage – known as the Yagura – from as early as 4pm.
Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Katsuhiko Takahashi said the annual cultural event began as an effort to promote and strengthen friendships between Japan and Malaysia.
"The celebrations this year are particularly significant as it exemplifies both Malaysia and Japan's togetherness in overcoming various challenges including Covid-19. This is also fine testimony of the cordial bilateral relations enjoyed by our countries," he said at a press conference here on Saturday (July 16)
He added that Japan was Malaysia's fourth largest trading partner and its third-largest investor.
"There are some 1,500 companies operating here in Malaysia with a significant number in Selangor itself.
"This creates job opportunities and contributes towards the economy of the state and nation as well," he said.
This year also marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between both countries and the 40th anniversary of Malaysia's "look east" policy, he said.
The annual festival had a large variety of Japanese food and drinks sold at booths alongside traditional dance and drum performances.
This festival was also jointly organised by The Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur, The Japanese School of Kuala Lumpur and the Japan Embassy, with support from the Selangor state government and cooperation by Tourism Selangor.