Thousands gather to celebrate Bon Odori in Shah Alam

Festive mood: Dancers showing off their moves on the stage. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

SHAH ALAM: Drum beats reverberated throughout the Shah Alam National Sports Complex (Panasonic Stadium) as thousands of people gathered to celebrate Bon Odori, an annual event originating from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Dressed in traditional Japanese attire such as kimono and yukata, the people could be seen performing the Buyuo-Duo, Bon Odori and Wadaiko dances accompanied by songs and drum beats.

Now in its 47th year in Malaysia, the Japanese Bon Odori festival has been captivating participants who drove to the venue while others opted for the KTM Komuter rail service due to limited parking space.

Dress code: Some fans came in Japanese attire.Dress code: Some fans came in Japanese attire.

Organised by the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur, the Japanese School of Kuala Lumpur, and the Embassy of Japan with the support of Tourism Selangor, the event brought much cheer to the attendees.

Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Takahashi Katsuhiko was present, too.

The crowds began to form as early as 4.30pm when the stadium gates were opened, despite the festival starting only at 7pm.

Tourism Selangor chief executive officer Azrul Shah Mohamad said the Bon Odori summer festival is a showcase of various cultural performances from Japan and Selangor.

They include Selangor’s Soblang Sari dance, besides other drum performances, display of lantern ornaments, traditional Japanese attire, and food and local products being sold.

“It is an occasion that attracted over 30,000 visitors to Selangor, with a focus on the cultural exchange between Japan and Selangor and exhibited the uniqueness of Selangor to domestic and international tourists,” he said.“We are assured that this festival will kickstart our mission to further penetrate the Japanese market through our international tourism campaign, ‘Splendid Selangor, Take Me Anywhere!’,” he said.

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