Bon Odori Festival 2009 in Penang
This annual Festival is the best chance for Penangites to experience
Japanese culture in front of their eyes. Nippon Minyo Kenkyukai
of Hamamatsu Branch, Japan, came to live up this year’s Bon Odori
with their various traditional performances.
Not least were a series of dances by local based groups like Sakura-kai
of the Penang Japanese Association (PJA), Malaysian Japanese Society
(MJS) Penang Japanese School (PJS), Pink Hibiscus Club of Penang
and Malaysian students from Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Kubang
Pasu (Kedah) and Sekolah Menengah Sains Tuanku Syed Putra (Perlis).
The Right Honourable Chief Minister Mr. Lim Guan Eng, Consul-General
of Japan in Penang, Mr. Hideaki Hoshi, and State Executive Councilor
of Tourism Development and Culture, the Honourable Mr. Danny Law
Heng Kiang, were at the cozy venue for the opening.
This 13th-anniversary event, held amidst of influenza H1N1 outbreak,
was greatly supported and joined by local Japanese culture enthusiasts.
It was reported that approximately 60,000 crowd of audience turned
up at the Esplanade Penang on the evening of July 18, 2009. The
visitors were not only being presented Japanese cultural performances,
but also had the opportunity to indulge Japanese and local food,
games, 5-minute firework display (sponsored by PJA) and many more.
Bon Festival is the Buddhist observance honouring the spirits of
ancestors, who return once a year to visit their families, traditionally
observed from 13 to 15 August (July in some areas). Bon dance is
performed to entertain the spirits of the ancestors. Bon Odori Festivals
are celebrated everywhere in Japan in their variety of forms of
The Bon Odori Festival in Penang is co-organized by Penang State
Government, Consulate-General of Japan in Penang, the Penang Japanese
Association, Malaysian Japanese Society, Penang Japanese Language
Society, Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia-Northern Branch,
and Alumni of Overseas Technical Scholarships. The Bon Festival
celebration in Esplanade, Penang, is one of the biggest such Bon
Festivals held outside Japan.
|The Right Honourable Chief Minister,
Mr. Lim Guan Eng, the Consul-General of Japan in Penang, H.E.
Mr. Hideaki Hoshi, and other VIPs are there for the Festival
||Penang Japanese School kids’ unique wadaiko
performance kicked off the annual Bon Festival that had been
anticipated by many. Among the pieces they played were Ran,
the Song of Taking the Battle Front, etc.
|This exciting and cute performance is by the
Nippon Minyokenkyukai from Hamamatsu branch, Japan. The locals
had a good opportunity to see Japanese cultural dances such
as Hokkai Bon-Uta, Chakkiri-Bushi, etc.
|Silent mode dance? No at all. The branded,
energetic Soran Bushi from two Malaysian schools is among the
most-waited. As you were at Esplande that evening, you could
feel the dance vibration by the 60 students. The students are
currently learning Japanese Language in their respective schools.
||The Pink Hibiscus Club of Penang members are
presenting contemporary Japanese dances like Pompoko and Yosakoi.
Their outstanding face make-up and speedy gestures makes the
audience’s mood swing from traditional world of delicacy to
modern world of rapidity.
||Nippon Minyokenkyukai members (yellow coat)
were dancing Rasa Sayang in the ground first before they join
the dancers on stage. They are enthralled to learn the local
Malay folk song dance, which the song has been passed down from
generation to generation.