This December, the Biennial Bon Odori Festival marked 130 years of Thai-Japanese diplomatic relations. The celebrations, held at Bangkok’s Thep Hatsadin Stadium, featured two impressive Japanese traditional dance circles. Each round lasted about an hour and started with a 25-minute Japanese traditional Awa Dance, followed by a 20-minute Thai folk dance, finally concluding with a 20-minute ‘Odori’ dance circle.
The ‘Odori’ dance is one of Japan’s age-old folk arts, involving dancers wearing varied kimonos or yukatas and dancing to the rhythm of the traditional Taiko drumming performances. Reflecting this, TAT arranged two folk dance shows from the Kalasin College of Dramatic Arts, with dancers wearing brightly coloured costumes, and dancing in swift, harmonious movements to the beat of folk songs associated with the Northeast region, or Isan.
The Bon Odori Festival in Bangkok was first organised by the Japanese Association in Thailand in 1987. It has since been held in December every other year, with the objective of helping Japanese people living and holidaying in Thailand to enjoy a traditional Japanese celebration alongside their Thai hosts.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said, “TAT is proud to have been a part in helping to build on over a century strong and long-standing relationship between Thailand and Japan, and showcase a portion of Thai culture that shares the similar sense of spiritual fun and upbeat while helping to preserve the traditions and cultures of both nations.”
Spectators at the event were also treated to a traditional Japanese-style fireworks display, in addition to a lucky draw and shopping opportunities.