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Wednesday, 10th June 2015
In Japan Entertainment News,

Bon dance Guinness world record attempt to be held in August

A world record attempt at having the most number of Bon dancers performing at the same place is to be held in Japan in August.

Some 3,000 people are expected to take part in the bid to enter the record books at the Dotonbori shopping district in Japan.

The event is being staged as part of celebrations to mark 400 years since the Dotonbori Canal was excavated, reports the Japan Times.

Organisers hope that by putting on an extensive dance festival, they will be able to beat the current record, which stands at 1,932 dancers, which was set in Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture back in 2001.

While the aim to make history is new, the festival is not, as Dotonbori Bon-odori has been held on three consecutive years, with the 2015 edition being the fourth incarnation of the event.

Some 1,000 people took part in 2014, but numbers will need to be significantly higher this year if the record is to be broken.

It promises to be an impressive spectacle, with participants lining up along the 500-metre long promenades that run parallel to the Dotonbori Canal.

The stretch to head for will be those between Dotonbori Bridge and Nihon Bridge, where the largest dance will take place for five minutes.

In order for the record attempt to be successfully registered, should numbers prevail, a Guinness World Record judge, officially accredited by the organisation will be in attendance.

It is not just a matter of dancing, however, the performers must be wearing yukata summer kimonos and geta clogs or zori sandals to be included in the attempt.

No more than five per cent of the dancers can make mistakes in the choreography, otherwise the record will be deemed invalid.

Those unable to attend this incredible spectacle on August 16th, or those who wish to relive it, will be able to view a video of the event online.

Yasuo Fukuda, the event organiser, told the Japan Times: "We want to make Dotonbori a mecca of Bon dance, and the event something recognised by the world, like Carnival in Rio de Janeiro."

Spectators will be able to enjoy the event free of charge, but it is vital that all participants register their interest.

This will ensure that the correct numbers are attained, they are able to learn the steps and are made aware of exactly the right costume to wear.

Bon dance has evolved in Japan as part of the Bon Festival, which is held among Buddhists for three days each year to honour the spirits of the ancestors.

The dance has origins as a Nenbutsu folk dance and was said to welcome the spirits of the dead back at this important time of the year.

Over time, it has changed in its elements across different regions, so Bon dancing is now typical in its styles to the specific area in which it is viewed.

While traditional dress must be donned for a performance to be considered Bon dance, the use of props, such as fans, small towels known as tenugi or small wooden kachi-kachi clappers depends on the region.

These days, Bon dancing has lost some of its religious significance for many people and is more likely to herald the coming of summer.

As well as the traditional Bon music, popular modern hits are sometimes rewritten to an appropriate tune and used as the background beat for the dancing.

Related news stories:
Obon: What's it all about? (13th August 2014)