The motive of studying Bon Dancing dates back to year 1997 when we were traveling Tokai region of Japan. We miraculously succeeded in securing a room in Gujou Hachiman Hot Spring Hotel when the reservations were almost full. If we couldn’t succeed in securing a room, and didn’t stay in Gujou Hachiman, We might not have met the wonderful world of Bon Dancing.

Gujo Odori-one of the most famous bon dance in Japan

I was so impressed with the Bon Dancing in Gujou Hachiman that I lost my words. I came back to myself and thought, what’s this “Bon Dancing” all about? Only to find out that I know nothing about it.
Information So, what is Bon Dancing? The most simple definition of Bon Dancing is;Oral entertainment and events that are danced in groups with BGM in the Bon Season. Bon Season is generally from August 13th to 20nd, and in this period, people in Japan console the souls of their ancestors. The concept of “Bon” was imported, and there is a tradition of “Bon” in Asia. Though, “Bon Dancing” is an entertainment “Typical to Japan” which was completed by the combination of Japanese climate and basic belief beginning from the time when the concept of “Bon” was imported to this country. If we plot the existing “Bon Dancing” on the world atlas, it distributes on the Japanese archipelago from Hokkaido to Ishigakijima. In this meaning, we can consider this frankly as a culture typical and distinctive to Japan. Bon Dancing was born in Japan, but it is no longer the monopoly of Japan. There are already many countries in the world that enjoy the tradition of Bon Dancing by the “export” of Japan.
Then, how about the history of “Bon Dancing”? There are many cases in which several legends are left in each region concerning when and how the “Bon Dancing” started. Legends are rich oral culture that has local originality, and they are important clue when studying the origin of Bon Dancing. Although, it is better not to consider the origin legend as the real story. It is important to investigate the history by using several ways, such as reading the documentary on history and compare with other folk phenomena.