SINGAPORE: The largest Japanese festival in Singapore - held to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties between Japan and the city-state - kicked off at Orchard Road on Saturday evening (Oct 29).
A mass street dance was the highlight of the festival, called the SJ50 Matsuri. About 2,000 Singaporean and Japanese participants dressed up for the occasion in traditional kimonos, or as Domo-kun, the mascot for Japanese broadcaster NHK. Japanese tradition, food and pop culture were also on display.
Five athletes who represented Singapore at the Rio Olympics joined in the festivities as well.
Speaking at the event, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Josephine Teo called Japan a close and long-standing friend of Singapore.
"Our economic partnership goes back many decades. Many Japanese companies have grown their presence in Singapore, whether through manufacturing, investments, setting up their regional headquarters or taking part in our infrastructure developments," she said.
"Over the years, our relationship has deepened and it has broadened. And besides our economic ties, we enjoy close cooperation in diverse fields such as biomedical research, cybersecurity and environmental sustainability," Mrs Teo added.
The Japanese Embassy said the scale of the festival showed Singaporeans' appreciation of Japan and its culture.
The festival, which ends on Sunday, will feature a total of 40 performances by 24 groups from Asia.