Welcome to Ottawa ONDO 2008


In commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of Japan-Canada Diplomatic Relations, the mission of the OJCC “Ottawa ONDO” Subcommittee is to provide the Ottawa Japanese community and larger national capital region with an original song and dance that celebrates the unique heritage and specificities of our capital city through the use of traditional Japanese festival music, dance, singing and costumes. 

ONDO is a Japanese traditional folk song that is accompanied by dance. It figures at the heart of festivals comprising the “Bon Odori” season in Japan, typically in the summer months.  However, it is common to see this kind of dancing, singing, and community gatherings at various festivals throughout the year.  Bon Odori takes place outdoors by gathering community members in an open-space to form a large circle of dancing, accompanied often by musical instruments such as taiko (drums), fue (flute), and other relevant additions. The dance is simple enough for participants of all ages (children, teens, adults, seniors) to learn within just a few minutes of watching and observing.  The dance is often taught by locals to the various groups that form and wish to participate and represent their companies, sports clubs, unions, families, schools, international associations, student groups or other ties.  The song and dance is taught in advance of the festival celebration, but given the simplicity of the moves and rhythms, it is also possible for on-lookers to simply observe and then join in the festivities, on-site.  The main objective of these traditional Japanese festival gatherings is to maximize the number of participants, supporters, on-lookers, and collaborators that may join in the festival celebrations. Active participation in this community activity is the key to fostering social solidarity, team-building, mutual trust, local pride, cultural and musical experience, not to mention some basic physical exercise and tremendous fun for all involved.

True to Japanese cultural ties to nature and the local flavour of a region, the music, dance and lyrics of an ONDO is created in such a way as to celebrate the beauty of the region and promote community revitalization.  In this 80th anniversary of Japan-Canada Diplomatic Relations, it is the objective of the Ottawa ONDO Sub-committee to contribute to the musical and cultural heritage of the City of Ottawa, by promoting an activity around which intercultural exchange, local pride, and citizen enjoyment will flourish as a result of learning from this important Japanese traditional custom.

About the Project