Japan’s Ambassador to Australia to visit Cairns Bon Dance Festival

The Japanese Ambassador to Australia will be a special guest this year’s Cairns Japan Bon Dance Festival.

Culture, tradition, music and dance are the focus of the annual festival, which will be held on the Cairns Esplanade on Saturday 13 August.

The free event is co-organised by the Japanese Society of Cairns and The Consular Office of Japan in Cairns and supported by the Cairns Regional Council.

This year marks 30 years since the formation of the Japanese Society of Cairns and 25 years since the establishment of The Consular Office of Japan in Cairns.

In celebration of these milestones, Ambassador of Japan to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, will attend the Cairns Japan Bon Dance Festival and participate in a traditional rice cake pounding activity with Cairns Mayor Bob Manning.

The festival gets underway from midday on the Western Event Lawn (opposite the Night Markets), with members of the local Japanese community to present a vivid and inspiring picture of their culture, including Japanese drumming (Taiko), karate demonstrations, J-pop music performances and group dance shows.

Throughout the festival, the community and visitors are encouraged to participate in the “bon dances” – a selection of modern and traditional Japanese folk dances, some with history dating back 500 years.

This year’s event will also feature a number of street vendor stalls serving Japanese food and a fireworks display.

President of the Japanese Society of Cairns, Takuya Sakaguchi, said the festival was an opportunity for the Japanese community to share their culture.

“The people of Japan and Cairns share close, longstanding ties with one another, and the Cairns Japan Bon Dance Festival allows the local community to further these close ties through learning and experiencing many of the cultural traditions that exist in Japan,” Mr Sakaguchi said.

“The Japanese Society of Cairns, together with The Consular Office of Japan in Cairns are proud to be able to present such a diverse cultural exhibition to the Cairns community and to visitors to the region.

“We welcome everyone to attend this free festival showcasing Japanese culture and tradition.”

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said it was a great honour to have the Ambassador of Japan attend the event.

“The attendance of the Japanese Ambassador to Australia reinforces the strong ties between Cairns and Japan,” Cr Manning said.

“Cairns has built very solid ties with Japan over many decades, particularly through tourism links and direct flights, as well as the Sister City program.

“Bon Dance Festival helps to reinforce those links and fosters a greater appreciation in Cairns of the historical and cultural aspects of Japanese life.

“Cairns has been a popular destination for holiday makers from Japan since the mid-1980s, and prior to the pandemic, more than 110,000 Japanese people visited Tropical North Queensland each year.

“In turn, many Cairns residents travelled to Japan.

“It was very heartening to see that last month we finally started welcoming back direct flights from Tokyo and Osaka, something that is certainly worth celebrating.

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