bon dance

Silent Bon odori dance?! Japan’s traditional summer festival gets a modern twist

The lively dance becomes a silent dance to appeal to younger audiences.

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Here’s how one Tokyo neighborhood mixes modern technology and traditional culture to beat the heat

Nihonbashi’s beautiful “minamo fireworks” and tempting goldfish sweets are part of its plan for fun even in record-breaking heat.

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Cat photographer captures fascinating shots of our feline friends dancing and practicing kung fu

Now we know what our cat overlords get up to when we’re not looking.

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Bon dances have been a Japanese tradition for centuries, but one neighborhood’s stopped the music

At this time of year, if I’m walking around town in the evening, I’ll often hear rousing taiko drums and joyful traditional music. Believe it or not, this isn’t an impromptu concert put on by the revelers that always greet my arrival wherever I go, but the sound of a bon dance, (“bon odori” in Japanese).

Part of the summer Obon festivities, bon dances have been held for centuries, and have a spiritual significance in some localities. Even where they’re held for purely festive reasons, they’re a way of fostering a sense of community and preserving cultural heritage.

But while to most Japanese people the sound of bon odori music brings a welcome and warm rush of nostalgic summer memories, one neighborhood in Japan performs its dance with no music at all, and it’s not because all of the dancers have innately perfect rhythm.

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