Bon Odori Festival in Bangkok Marks 130 Years of Thai-Japanese Relations

Thailand, Japan, celebration

The Biennial Bon Odori Festival this year marked 130 years of Thai-Japanese diplomatic relations, and joined in the celebrations under the action-packed Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 with two impressive rounds of famous Japanese traditional dance circle, held yesterday (16 December) at Bangkok’s Thep Hatsadin Stadium.

The Bon Odori Festival in Bangkok was first organised by the Japanese Association in Thailand in 1987, and has since been held in December every other year with the objective of offering the opportunity for the Japanese people residing and holidaying in Thailand, as well as the Thai people, to enjoy a traditional Japanese celebration.

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.”

The ‘Odori’ dance is one of Japan’s age-old folk arts, with 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 Isaan.

During the 2017 Bon Odori Festival in Bangkok, there were two rounds of impressive Japanese and Thai folk performances. Each round lasted about an hour and started with a 25-minute Japanese traditional Awa Dance, followed by a 20-minute Thai folk dance, and concluded with the highlight 20-minute ‘Odori’ dance circle.

Visitors also had the chance to enjoy a beautiful Japanese-style fireworks display, a lucky draw and shopping opportunities. At the TAT’s booth, the spirit of Isaan was prominently represented, showcasing that the Khorat Plateau was once home of dinosaurs hence offering plenty of interesting ‘Land Before Time’ travel routes with a combination of visits to organic farms and other cultural and natural attractions.