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Bon Odori Festival: A photo essay from the Japanese dance festival

On Aug. 1, the Japanese Association and Japanese Language School in Charlotte hosted the 31st Bon Odori Festival — a dance festival dedicated to Japanese culture.

Visitors experienced a vast array of colorful sights and sounds at the Wells Fargo atrium uptown – a bit different than the button-down-and-slacks business attire that typically populates that area.

From a Bon Odori Japanese dance performance and a Japanese drum performance by Matsuriza to a Kendo Japanese martial art exhibition and a Kids Taiko by E.E. Waddell Language Academy, local Charlotteans had a chance to either celebrate their culture or experience something completely new.

A look:

bon odori photo 1

A drummer of the group Matsuriza strikes a dramatic pose before a taiko drum performance.

bon odori photo 2

Members of the Charlotte Kendo Club lock their shinai during a live sparing demonstration.

bon odori photo 3

Japanese cranes hand folded from decorative origami paper.

bon odori photo 4

Traditional Japanese lanterns hang from the “yagura,” a decorated scaffold  in which participants dance around.

bon odori photo 5

Little girls in matching kimono hop to the beat of the taiko drum.

bon odori photo 6

Young ladies preforming a tradition Japanese dance around the yagura.

bon odori photo 7

Fully clad members of the Charlotte Kendo club stand patiently in front of the main stage.

Photos by Johnny Wright. Madysan Foltz contributed writing to this story.

johnny wright
 Johnny Wright  sofaqueen