Halfway through the first month of this Olympic year, news stories keep on surfacing in terms of next summer’s Games, creating a clearer picture as to what legacy the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games could leave behind.
From a hydrogen-fueled Olympic Flame to an Opening Ceremony calling for peace, the Games will be ones to remember. However, we will have to wait until the opening act of the Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival in April, which will mark the beginning of celebrations for the 2020 Games.
HYDROGEN TO FUEL THE 2020 OLYMPIC FLAME
Per The Japan Times, organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics unveiled a plan to use hydrogen as the fuel for its Olympic flame cauldron at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee general session on Friday.
It would be the first time the next-generation fuel has been used for this purpose, and organizers are considering using fuel produced at a factory in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, which was evacuated after the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered multiple meltdowns in March 2011.
The plan is in sync with Tokyo 2020 being branded as “the Reconstruction Olympics” in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of Tohoku.
In a similar nod to the use of clean energy, roughly 90 percent of the 3,700 vehicles provided for official use during the games by Olympic partner Toyota will be electric, with about 500 using hydrogen fuel cells.
2020 OPENING CEREMONY, AN APPEAL TO PEACE
According to Japanese news source Kyodo, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony will employ characters from Japan’s world-famous animation industry as part of its international appeal for peace, games sources told Kyodo News on Tuesday.
The ceremony’s theme will be coexistence among diverse races across the globe with animated characters delivering the powerful message of peace through sport in a way that is easily accessible.
One idea being considered is for rival characters to shake hands while calling for an Olympic cease-fire during the Games.
In keeping with recent custom, Japan proposed a resolution at the United Nations in December for an Olympic truce that was adopted unanimously.
U.N. CHIEF TO VISIT HIROSHIMA DURING 2020 GAMES
Tying back to the aforementioned headline, Japan’s news agency Kyodo is reporting that U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has told Japan he intends to visit Hiroshima in August a few days before attending the Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony.
The plan reflects Guterres’ desire to push the U.N. call for a “nuclear-free world” by using the opportunity of the event aimed at building a peaceful and better world through sport.
U.N. chiefs have attended the opening ceremonies of every Summer Olympic Games since the 1990s.
TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL IN APRIL TO KICK OFF OLYMPIC CELEBRATIONS
Japanese news outlet Japan Today reported that the art form of kabuki and Western-style opera will be the opening act of Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival in April, to kick off celebrations for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Titled “KABUKI x OPERA Luminous, The Lord,” this reimagining and fusion of two Eastern and Western theatrical traditions, will be staged on April 18 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Shibuya, setting the tone for upcoming festival events to welcome the Olympics and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Kabuki was named by UNESCO as an intangible heritage of humanity in 2005.
CHERRY BLOSSOM PINK SIGNS TO INDICATE DESIGNATED LANES FOR TOKYO 2020
Japan’s Kyodo news service reported that organizers have chosen cherry blossom pink as the color of road signs to designate Games lanes that will be used to transport key participants, like athletes and officials, to help ensure that they get to their destinations on time.
The cherry blossom is Japan’s unofficial national flower.
Transport disruptions are expected to be widespread in Tokyo, not only affecting spectators but commuters and residents as well.
Organizers are hoping the graphic signs will help reduce congestion during the Olympics between July 24 and Aug. 9, and during the Paralympics between Aug. 25 and Sept.6.
In order to keep traffic moving on the priority routes, Tokyo will implement temporary changes to the way some roads operate for the 2020 Games.
TOKYO ORGANIZING COMMITTEE TO CREATE KIMONOS INSPIRED BY OVER 200 COUNTRIES AND REGIONS
Per Japanese broadcaster NHK, a project is underway to create kimonos inspired by over 200 countries and regions around the world in light of next summer’s Games.
The Kimono Project, which aims to spread the wonders of the Japanese kimono tradition to the rest of the world, involves kimono makers and craftsmen arriving from different Japanese regions.
The kimonos are constructed using the technique of “squeezing,” which can be achieved by squeezing the dough with a small pinch thread and then coloring it.
ATHLETES’ VILLAGE TO BOAST ACCESSIBILITY IN LIGHT OF THE PARALYMPICS
Japanese news service Kyodo is reporting that details of the waterfront athletes’ village for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were revealed earlier this month, with organizers emphasizing its accessibility and ease of use for para-athletes.
Some 21 buildings of between 14 and 18 stories will accommodate 18,000 beds for athletes and staff during the Olympics, and 8,000 during the Paralympics. Each of 3,800 condominiums can hold up to eight people, with up to two beds per room.
Air conditioners used in the village will be donated after the games to areas hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. The village’s residential buildings are planned to be renovated and converted to apartments after the Games.