The Yamanaka Traditional Band performing at the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 at Times Square Shopping Centre. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

This year’s Japanese Language and Cultural Festival kicked off with a bang, as visitors were entertained with performances from the East through Japanese traditional music performed by four award-winning artists.

YAMANAKA Traditional Band lit up the stage with their traditional and contemporary acts in a showcase titled ‘MUSASHI: Music From The East’, drawing a sea of people to Times Square Shopping Centre.

MCYS Minister YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin (C), Japan Ambassador to Brunei Yamamoto Eiji (2nd L) and their spouses along with General Manager of Times Square Shopping Centre Amal Majidah (L) cutting the ribbon to launch the opening of Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The band is made up of four Japanese artists; Yamanaka Nobuto on the Tsugaru-Shamisen, a three-stringed guitar, Katano Satoshi on the Shinobue, a bamboo flute with a high-pitched sound and Taka and Tsukamoto Junya on the Japanese drums.

Speaking at the festival’s opening ceremony, Japanese Ambassador Eiji Yamamoto said that with the festival having been organised in the sultanate for more than a decade, this year’s iteration is meant to be special, featuring the rich musical traditions of the land of the rising sun.

A member of the Yamanaka Traditional Band performing on the Tsugaru-Shamisen during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 held recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
Japan Ambassador to Brunei Yamamoto Eiji speaking with the media during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 held recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“I think that a large part of our culture can be found in our music, and in our food,” the ambassador said, adding that cultural exchanges are essential to strengthening the friendship between Japan and Brunei.

The foreign envoy expressed his gratitude to Bruneians who chose to bring back aspects of Japanese culture home after their travels or completing their studies, as he noted the importance of enabling different cultures to interact in order to be preserved and expanded.

A member of the Yamanaka Traditional Band seen hitting the Wadaiko drum during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 held recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
A member of the Yamanaka Traditional Band seen playing the Shinobue during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 held recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Present to open the festival was Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Insan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin and spouse.

After the performance, the guest of honour and other guests then toured around the booths which consisted of local businesses offering Japanese-related products and services; Otaku Corner, Komugi Japanese Bakery, MC Biotech and Standard Chartered Bank.

Visitors trying on yukatas during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 held recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
A child trying a drumming game during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 held recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The two-day festival was organised by the Embassy of Japan in Brunei Darussalam and the Japan Foundation, and co-organised by the Times Square Shopping Centre.

Moreover, the embassy also conducted demonstrations on Japanese tea ceremony and cooking activity by the ambassador’s chef.

The tea ceremony which is also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, powdered green tea.

The event was supported by the Japanese Association Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Association of Japan Alumni (BAJA), BERSATU (SSEAYP Alumni), BJFA-UBD Chapters, BJFA-UTB Chapters, JENESYS Alumni and IBTE-CET.

MCYS Minister YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin (2nd L) in a group photo with SSEAYP Alumni during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020 held recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
Japanese figures on display during the Japanese Language and Culture Festival 2020. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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