For the first time after several years, Dhaka celebrated the ‘Japan Fest’ that showcased both traditional and contemporary Japanese culture as well as music. The Fest was organised by the Embassy of Japan at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Saturday, 15 September. More than 1,000 Bangladeshi people interested in Japan enjoyed the fest and immersed themselves into Japanese culture.
Japan and Bangladesh have established a long and friendly relation since 1972. In terms of recent cultural and educational exchanges, Japan has provided its government scholarship for about 170 Bangladeshi students, while cultural events including Japanese film festival, Judo competition, Japanese speech contests, manga and anime workshop etc. were organised in Dhaka last year.
‘Japan Fest 2018’ was organised to bring Japanese culture for Bangladeshi people at hand to further enhance amicable relations between the two countries. ‘This was the first time for me to experience so many Japanese cultures at once,’ said Ms. Anika Begum who is majoring Japanese language at University of Dhaka. ‘I attended Japanese tea ceremony and thrilled to taste the tea which is a rare chance here in Dhaka.’
Apart from various Japanese cultural displays and workshops, three renowned Japanese musicians performed in the Japanese pop song and traditional music concert in the evening, bringing additional excitement to the audience.
The event was supported by Japanese and Bangladeshi organisations; Regent Airways, Ajinomoto, Grameen UNIQLO, Honda Bangladesh, Studio Padma, Japanese Commerce & Industry Association in Dhaka, Bangladeshi Ikebana Association, Bangladesh Bonsai Society
, ICARUS and students of Department of Japanese Language & Culture as well as Department of Japanese Studies, University of Dhaka.
In 2022, the two friendly countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Japan will further strengthen the bilateral relations towards the anniversary.
Featured Performers Participated in Japanese Pop Song and Traditional Concert
Ms. Sumie Kaneko
Japanese Koto & Shamisen Player, Singer Songwriter Sumie Kaneko has been recognised as a pioneer with her unique and chromatic use of the instruments.
She started playing Koto when she was five. In 1995, Sumie won in Takasaki International Competition in Koto performance. She studied Japanese traditional music at Tokyo University of The Arts then studied Jazz vocal at Berklee College of Music in 2006. She had performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, TED talk, Getty Center, Boston Ballet, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, etc.
Bajna Beat is an active Dhaka-based Japanese music group formed by Mr. Shunsuke Mizutani and Ms. Mae Watanabe in 2017. The perfect harmony of Shunsuke’s piano performance and Mae’s amazing song has been well-received by Bangladeshi audience. Their original song ‘Sonaly’ that sang love for Bangladesh was selected as the official theme song for Bangladeshi booth at ‘Tourism Expo Japan’ in 2017. Bajna Beat hopes to become a bridge between Japan and Bangladesh, and has been actively performing both in Bengali and Japanese at various music scenes, including school concerts, cultural events and music programmes on TV.
Sandhi is a young and talented Bangladeshi singer and music composer. He began his music journey on the lap of his father who was a music teacher of Bangladesh Shishu Academy. Sandhi has visited Fukuoka, Japan three times as a member of Bangladeshi delegate.