A Record-Breaking Japanese Dance in Johor Bahru

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The Bon Odori leading dancers proud of their record-breaking achievement

Bon Odori, a Japanese folk-dance harvest festival celebrated its 20th year of being held in Johor. Eco World Development Group Berhad (EcoWorld Malaysia) was the main sponsor to the annual event for the fourth time this year ending yesterday, at Eco Botanic City.

The record-breaking Bon Odori dance – 2725 participants made it possible
Participants sat around picnic-style while watching the performances

Organised by the Southern Branch of Japan Graduates of Malaysia (JAGAM), the theme for the event was SEDAI, Japanese word for “generation”. The theme symbolises the harvest festival to be celebrated and passed on from one generation to the next, the way EcoWorld foresees its eco-friendly vision and philosophy to be benefitted by generations to come.
The event was officiated by Liow Cai Tung, Chairman of the Johor Women Development and Tourism Committee, HE Makio Miyagawa Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Datuk Siow Kuang Ling, Chairman of JAGAM Johor, and Datuk Hoe Mee Ling, Divisional General Manager of EcoWorld Malaysia.

Bon Odori Dance women on the stage warming up, teaching the crowd the dance before the record-breaking event that night
Exco Liow Cai Tung trying it out also

“Next year, we are promoting Johor 2020 in conjunction to Visit Malaysia 2020. In line with that, the state government plans to include this annual Bon Odori festival as one of the events in our tourism calendar for next year,” said Liow at the opening ceremony.

Datuk Siow, Exco Liow Cai Tung, HE Makio Miyagawa, and Datuk Hoe officially opening the festival

Bon Odori is a dance that celebrates the Japanese ancestors and its harvest season. The dance event made into the Malaysia Book of Records for having the most number of people dancing the Bon Odori together, a record of 2725 participants. Edward Sin, General Manager of Event for Malaysia Book of Records Sdn Bhd was present to verify the record and presented the certificate to Datuk Siow and HE Miyagawa.

Malaysia Book of Records Certificate presented to Datuk Siow and HE Miyagawa
HE Makio Miyagawa, Datuk Siow, Exco Liow Cai Tung, and Datuk Hoe watching the welcoming dance

“Usually the Japanese people are shy and very quiet, but the Bon Odori days are different. They have to show that they are very lively, and healthy, and active to the ancestors,” said Makio Miyagawa. “Everywhere, all around Japan, we have the Bon Odori dance. In small villages, cities, and towns, people get together to show that they are together and this is the best occasion for us to feel the solidarity of living together happily and working together for the future.”

Soran Bushi Dance, a sea shanty sung by fishermen in northern Hokkaido. The energetic dance imitates waves, net pulling, and balancing. This dance is taught in many primary schools in Japan as a part of their curriculum