As in the late Showa period, the stereotypical image of Bon Odori continued ,as a boring game for children and elderly people, especially in the Kanto region. On the other hand, there have been cases where local dances which became national dances such as Awaodori, Eisa, and Kawachi Ondo have captured the hearts of young people. Local traditional Bon Odori dances continue to be unable to survive due to the shrinking size of the community. Under these circumstances, a new Bon dance movement has emerged, starting from the connections made through the Internet media and SNS. After the review of communities and connections after the Great East Japan Earthquake, further new initiatives have emerged one after another. And now, we are at a turning point under the spread of the new coronavirus.

This period

The bubble economy collapses, and we enter a period of economic stagnation. The Internet and the development of smart phones and other devices gave birth to a new generation of media, such as SNS and Youtube, which expanded rapidly. On the other hand, the period is also marked by disasters such as the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the Great East Japan Earthquake, torrential rains, and a new type of infectious disease.

1991: Bubble economy burst
1995: Great Hanshin Earthquake, Sarin gas attack on the subway
Around 1997: Diffusion of the Internet
Around 2006 Popularization of blogs
2011 Great East Japan Earthquake
Smartphone shipments overtake Flip phone
2012 SNS penetration rate exceeds 50%.
2020 COVID19 infection spread

Basic Information

Population: 120 million or so, declining birthrate and aging population
Attribute type: Equal employment opportunities for men and women
Longevity: about 80 years old
Famine and disaster conditions: Great Hanshin Earthquake. Great East Japan Earthquake, typhoon damage every few years
Media of transmission: Growth of the Internet, the advent of smartphones, and digital media for sound and video recording
Territorial system: Individual land ownership
Clothes of the common people: Mainly western clothes, yukata for women became popular summer clothing
Food of the common people: Mainly Western food, brown rice and cereal rice as healthy food
Dwelling of the common people: Western-style houses with siding exterior walls. Private rooms due to the declining birthrate.
Entertainment opportunities for the common people: Increased diversification, Japanese-style foods were reevaluated, and various trials of Bon Odori (dancing) were made.

Cultural background

Wa(Japanese) boom

Sales of yukata (light cotton kimono) increased.
Japanese food, Japanese patterns, etc. are reevaluated.

The age of the mind

Mystical things and some of the functions that bring stability to the mind are refined in the modern age and reevaluated as a source of
Power spots

Net Society

The Internet and smartphones have radically changed the media.


Bon Odori: This Era

Early Heisei Era 1989-2000

Following the trend of the late Showa period
CDs change from vinyl records in the late Showa period
Cell phones and the Internet spread in the mid-to-late 1990s

Bon Odori is basically for children and the elderly, and the stereotypical image of Bon Odori (Tankobushi and Tokyo Ondo) continues.

Bon dances in some areas flourished

Kawachi Ondo and Awa Odori became popular in other regions as well.
Owara Kaze no Bon Festival attracts a flood of tourists.
The Kitaouu Nyadoyara Dance Festival began in 1990.
Dancing Hero Bon Odori begins in Minokamo 1992
Eisa groups were born in various regions.

On the other hand, the number of local traditional Bon dances gradually declined due to the lack of successors to the traditional ondo (dance song) chorus and the decline in the population of the villages.

Mid-Heisei Period 2000-2010

Nishi-monai Bon Dance gains popularity as a tourist attraction

Internet communication increases


Bon dance introduction sites by individuals in the early 2000s

Kansai Bon dance schedule information (introduction of literature on Kawachi Ondo and Koshu Ondo, and also schedule information service)
kame’s page (Saitama and Kanto Bon Dancing information)
Niino Sengoku Bon Dancing(Introduction of Niino Bon Dancing)
Valley of the Performing Arts (Introduction to the performing arts of the San’en Nanshin region)
Sen Shoan (Introduction of folk songs and other folk dances in various regions)
This site “The World of Bon Dancing” was also established in 2003.

The increase in the spread of the information of local Bon dances has allowed people outside the region to become aware of the charm of local Bon dances, and has provided opportunities for people who love local Bon dances to communicate in various ways.

On the other hand, the downward trend of local Bon dances continues.

New movements through SNS

Since the mid-2000s, the activities of Bon Odori activists regarding each Bon Odori (Bon Dance) have become more active. Information is shared through blogs, SNS, and Youtube.


Late Heisei Era 2010~


Recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake

Review of the community on the occasion of reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake

It triggers a review of the Bon Odori dance

Kahoku Shimpo Let’s dance Bon Odori

2012 – Support the holding of Bon Dance Festivals as a way to assist the reconstruction of communities after the earthquake.
An opportunity for local people to regroup and revitalize the community

The release of Bon dance-related books

Bon Odoru hon (The Bon dances book)
Kyoh mo Bon Odori (Also today we dance Bon Odori)
Nippon Dai Ondo Jidai (The Great Ondo Era)

Films related to Tohoku reconstruction and Bon dance

Shida Myojin” directed by Michiro Endo
Bon Uta” directed by Yuji Nakae

Musicians present the charm of Bon dance

Yoshihide Otomo Project Fukushima

Numerous new attempts

Bon Dancing, long reserved for children and the elderly, is being reevaluated, and many new attempts are being made.
Kanda Myojin Anison Bon Dance
Bon dance to Western music in front of Nakano Station
In both cases, DJs play the role of “ondotori” (chorus leader).

Noge JAZZ de Bon Odori (Dance to Bon Dance Noge)

There is a phenomenon that the younger generation visits and reviews the traditional Bon dances of the region.
Bon Dance Expo
The 1st Bon Dance Expo in 2018

Development of Bon Dancing Overseas
2022: Spread of the new coronavirusEffects of long-term infectionOnline Bon Dancing

(The new Bon Dancing from the late Heisei period)
In light of the new trend of Bon Dancing from the latter half of the Heisei era, and the rapid spread of ZOOM, etc., Online Bon Dancing is held.


Column “The World of Bon Dancing (Shonan Bon Dance Study Group)” Activities in these days

It was 1997, when we visited Gujo Odori and were shocked by its charm. After that, we started visiting traditional Bon Dances in the Bon period. In 2002, we conceived the idea of introducing traditional Bon dances through a personal website, which was beginning to expand at that time, and we opened the website in 2003.

In the early 2000s, online information on Bon Odori was sporadic, and we had to go through book information, magazine information, Internet searches, and specialized books, and then confirm the information by making local inquiries. I remember being at a loss as to the date and location of the now-famous Bon Odori dance in Tsukuda-jima.

In 2004 and 2005, in order to collect our own information, we sent postcards back and forth to the local boards of education to confirm information on the Bon Odori dances we had picked up, and organized our own data.

Since around 2004, there had been some media coverage, albeit small, and I felt that it was a subject of some interest, but I was still aware that it was still a minor event. In 2005, the local Fujisawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry saw our website and asked us to help them plan a new Bon Odori dance at Yugyo-ji Temple in connection with the origin of Odori Nembutsu. At the time, there were few materials around that we could refer to, so we had to respond gropingly.

From 2005 to 2010, there were not many changes related to Bon Dancing, but there were some students who wanted to research Bon Dancing, and I also had the impression that Bon Dancing was gradually increasing in blogs, Youtube, etc., and I saw Bon Odori people’s activities and unique Bon Dancing introductions here and there.

This situation changed drastically after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The revitalization of communities and a renewed awareness of the importance of human connections were the catalysts for new initiatives to emerge. It was also around this time that young people who were attracted to the traditional Bon Odori dance of the region and travel around, like we ourselves, began to show up.

Families, young people started to dance happily without mobilizing them forcibly in the Bon Odori dance “Yugyo no Bon”, the event that we are producing. I went to Hawaii in 2008 to see Japanese Bon Odori dance and was amazed at how everyone danced so lively and skillfully without embarrassment. I feel that the current Bon dance scene is getting closer to that atmosphere. I think it is an asset for us to be able to feel such positive changes while covering the Bon Odori tour and planning the Bon Odori festival at the same time.