18 July, 2021


The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to take place between 23 July and 8 August, and the Paralympic Games between 24 August and 5 September.

Ministers and organizers have now decided to ban all spectators from the Olympics.

A decision will be made about spectators at the Paralympics by 16 July.

Originally, up to 10,000 Japanese fans were to be permitted to attend.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said she was “sorry to those who purchased tickets and everyone in local areas”.

It was announced back in March that international fans would not be able to attend the games.

Where are the Olympic venues?

The 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were postponed from last year because of Covid.

The Olympics will feature 33 sports at 339 events across 42 venues. The Paralympics will feature 22 sports at 539 events across 21 venues.

Most events will be in the Greater Tokyo area, although some football games and the marathon will take place in the northern city of Sapporo.

What’s happening with Covid in Japan?

Overall the country has had relatively low case numbers, but a new wave of infections began in April.

As of 8 July, there were 812,089 confirmed cases and 14,848 deaths (compared with five million cases and 128,500 deaths in the UK)

Japan only began vaccinating people in February, later than most other developed nations.

Just over 15% of Japan’s population of nearly 126 million people is fully vaccinated.

In Tokyo and Osaka, the two cities hit hardest by the recent surge, authorities hope over-65s will be fully vaccinated by the end of July.

Entry to Japan by foreigners from 159 countries – including the UK – is currently banned.

What Covid measures will be in place for visiting athletes?

International athletes and support staff will be tested before departure and on arrival in Japan.

UK athletes will be required to stay within their Team GB bubble for at least the first three days in the country. They will be tested every day.

Athletes don’t have to be vaccinated, though International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials expect around 80% will be.

Two members of the Ugandan delegation have tested positive in Japan, including boxing coach Patrick Lihanda.

Do people in Japan want the Olympics?

Several towns set to host athletes have reportedly pulled out because of fears about Covid and extra pressure on the healthcare system.

In May, a Japanese doctors’ union said it was “impossible” to hold the Games given the pandemic.

A recent poll in the leading Asahi Shimbun newspaper suggested more than 80% of the population want them cancelled or postponed.

The paper also called for the event to be cancelled.

What have athletes’ representatives said?

A number of bodies and experts have expressed concern.

The World Players Association, representing 85,000 athletes in over 60 countries, said the IOC must do more to ensure athletes’ safety – with stricter physical distancing and more rigorous testing.

Japanese athletes have largely kept a low profile, but the country’s biggest sports star, tennis champion Naomi Osaka, previously said there should be a debate about whether the Games should go ahead.

Could the games have been cancelled?

The contract between the IOC and the host city Tokyo made it clear only the IOC could cancel the event.

The IOC is thought to make around 70% of its money from broadcast rights, and 18% from sponsorship.

It has repeatedly insisted the Games can go ahead safely, even under a state of emergency.

If Tokyo had broken the contract and cancelled, the risks and losses would fall on the Japanese side.

The budget for Tokyo 2020 was set at $12.6bn (£8.9bn), although it’s been reported that the actual cost could be double that.


Professionals from various creative fields working on final preparations

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) is pleased to announce details of the concepts that will underpin the content and delivery of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Preparations for the opening and closing ceremonies have been led by HIOKI Takayuki, who was appointed Executive Producer in March this year, with the support of a number of professionals from various fields. They have been assisted by NOMURA Mansai, who was involved in the planning of the ceremonies for many years prior to the Games’ postponement and who still serves as an advisor to Tokyo 2020. His contribution included support during the formulation of the ceremony concepts.

Common concept of all four opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games:
Moving Forward

Concept of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony:
United by Emotion

Concept of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony:
Worlds We Share

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing in many parts of the world, and it has had a great impact on our daily lives. People everywhere have been denied interaction with others, and we now find ourselves in a situation that few people could have imagined. Given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have designed the ceremonies around the concept that the Tokyo 2020 Games can bring fresh hope and encouragement to people around the world through the active appearance of athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Games and via the power of sport.

We are also pleased to announce details of the members of the Creative Team who have worked so hard in the production of these opening and closing ceremonies – see below.

Tokyo 2020 and the Creative Team will continue to prepare for the ceremonies ensuring they will be memorable for all those around the world who will be watching.

The concepts behind the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be announced at a later date.

Common concepts of the four ceremonies, opening and closing ceremonies of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games:

“Moving Forward”

The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be unlike any other because they will take place in the face of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—an obstacle far beyond anything we have ever faced. Everything that happens in this world is connected, and we are all affected no matter how far apart we are. That is what we realised over the past year, which was spent sharing knowledge and wisdom across borders as we searched for a way to help each other navigate these trying times.

This is the kind of world in which Tokyo 2020 will take place, which is why we want to create ceremonies that bring the world together as one through the power of sport and a sense of hope for the future. We want these ceremonies to be a series of moments that give each and every one of us the strength to look towards the future, and that also serve as opportunities to create a better normal together.

And so, through these Games, we will acknowledge the way the world came together to face a global threat, while recognising, lauding and demonstrating our sincere gratitude for the immeasurable support and efforts of all those who made Tokyo 2020 possible.

Concept of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

“United by Emotion”

People all over the world spent the past year living under the threat of COVID-19, and the Tokyo 2020 Games will be held in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic. We are all different ages and nationalities and come from all walks of life, and now on top of that we are physically separated. That is why we want everyone to experience the same excitement, joy, and at times disappointment, through the athletes’ competitive performances.

Sport is universal. It is an invaluable treasure that we believe has the power to unite the world through emotion—even if we are apart, speak different languages, or come from different cultures.

In the Opening Ceremony, we will aspire to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, to express our gratitude and admiration for the efforts we all made together over the past year, and also to bring a sense of hope for the future. We hope it will be an experience that conveys how we all have the ability to celebrate differences, to empathise, and to live side by side with compassion for one another.

Concept of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony

“Worlds we share”*

The Olympic Games have come to a close.

During these past 17 days, we have witnessed individuals from a variety of cultures and backgrounds reach new heights together and connect through sport.

The Games have and will provide us with food for thought about diversity and inclusion as we continue on to the Paralympic Games.

Even if we cannot be together, we can share the same moment, and that is something that we will never forget. It is this salient message which we believe will create a Closing Ceremony that will open the door to a brighter future.

We hope that this ceremony may be a moment for each and every one of us to think about what the future holds.

*The concept “Worlds We Share” expresses the idea that each of us inhabits their own world.

Creative Team Details

Key members of the team planning and delivering the opening and closing ceremonies of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are as follows.

These are just some of the key members of the teams. Many other people are participating and helping to ensure the success of the events.

Executive Producer
HIOKI Takayuki, Tokyo 2020
Senior Adviser to the Executive Producer: Marco Balich
Senior Adviser to the Executive Producer: Piera Shepperd

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Creative Team
KOBAYASHI Kentaro, HIRAHARA Shintaro, TANAKA Tomoyuki, TANEDA Yohei, TOMIZAWA Nami, HAMABE Akihiro, HIGUCHI Takuji, TOMIZAWA Noboru, TSUJIKAWA Koichiro, KODAMA Yuichi, KOJIMA Junji, TANAKA Tugihisa,Iguchi, FUKUBE Akihiro, OYAMADA Keigo, TOKUZAWA Seigen, HARA Marihiko, KAGEI Masayuki, NAKAMURA Hiroshi, Gamarjobat , WAKABAYASHI Keiji, SUZUKI Takayuki, SHIBATA Kei, SAKURA Toshihiko and others.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony Creative Team
KOBAYASHI Kentaro, HIRAHARA Shintaro, TANAKA Tomoyuki, TANEDA Yohei, TOMIZAWA Nami, HAMABE Akihiro, HIGUCHI Takuji, TOMIZAWA Noboru, HIRAMAKI Kazuhiko, Melissa Weigel, KONDO Tatsuki, FUJISHIRO Yuichiro, MIZUTANI Aki, NAKAMURA Akiko, YAMADA Un,TOKUZAWA Seigen, WAKABAYASHI Keiji, MOITA Akiyoshi, IIJIMA Kumiko and others.


Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot is styled with the Ai (indigo blue) Ichimatsu pattern from the Tokyo 2020 Games emblem, a tribute to both the respected tradition and modern innovation of Japanese culture. MIRAITOWA has a personality inspired by the Japanese proverb, “learn from the past and develop new ideas”. MIRAITOWA is cheerful and remarkably athletic, with a very strong sense of integrity. It has a special power to instantly teleport anywhere it wants.

Origin of the name

The name MIRAITOWA is based on the Japanese words “mirai”, meaning “future”, and “towa”, meaning “eternity”, representing the wish that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will lead to a future of everlasting hope in the hearts of everyone around the world.


Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games mascot

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games mascot is quite a cool character, with mighty powers and cherry blossom tactile sensors. SOMEITY can use the sensors on the sides of its head for telepathic powers, fly using its Ichimatsu-pattern cape and even move objects without touching them. SOMEITY has a calm and quiet presence, guided by great inner strength, but can display superpowers that embody the toughness and determination of the Paralympic athletes. Someity loves being in nature, and can communicate with natural elements, such as stones and the wind.

Origin of the name

The name SOMEITY comes from “Someiyoshino” — a popular type of cherry blossom — and the phrase “so mighty”. SOMEITY can show enormous mental and physical strength, representing Paralympic athletes who overcome obstacles and redefine the boundaries of possibility.


What to expect as Tokyo prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2021?

With just seven days to go until the Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2021, here are the things to know about Tokyo 2020 as Japan prepares to welcome the world’s best athletes for 17 days of competition

There is just one week to go until the curtain is lifted on the highly anticipated Games of the XXXII Olympiad.

Running from 23 July to 8 August 2021, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will see medals awarded in 339 events across 33 sports encompassing 46 disciplines.

Postponed for a year to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tokyo 2020 will be the second time the city has hosted the Olympic Games after it staged the event in 1964.

Here’s a guide to what to expect from the Olympic Games in 2021, including the new medal events.

What happens this week in Japan?

Athlete selections have been made and teams are busy arriving across the country, preparing to take part in the 33 sports of the Olympic Games including artistic gymnastics, athletics, swimming and basketball.

Although the Opening Ceremony signifies the start of the Games on 23 July 2021, the action actually gets underway two days earlier on 21 July, with Australia facing hosts Japan in the softball (from 09:00 JST in Fukushima), and Great Britain against Chile in the women’s football at the Sapporo Dome from 16:30 JST.

Where can I find a schedule of Tokyo 2020?

Throughout the Games, you can find information on the entire Olympic schedule, results, explore the list of all athletes set to compete at the Games and learn more about the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that are taking part in Tokyo 2020.

Which Olympic stars are on the verge of making history?

Sprinter Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps may have retired but there are several athletes who are heading to the Olympics with the potential to make history. Here are a few of them and what they hope to achieve…

Simone Biles (USA), Gymnastics
The world’s greatest gymnast won four gold medals and one bronze in Rio in 2016 and is aiming to become the first women to win back-to-back all-around titles since Vera Caslavska in 1968.

Teddy Riner (France), Judo
The 10-time world champion heads into the men’s +100kg judo competition as the double defending champion (2012 and 2016). Unbeaten for the best part of a decade with 154 consecutive victories until February 2020, the French judoka has his eyes are set on claiming his third Olympic heavyweight judo gold medal, something no one has done before.

Katie Ledecky (USA), Swimming
It would be a major upset if Katie Ledecky did not add to her six Olympic medals in her third Games. The 24-year-old is expected to compete in up to six events, including the women’s 1500m, which is appearing in an Olympics for the first time. Ledecky is virtually unbeatable in this event and holds the world record holder, among others.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica), Athletics
The second-fastest woman in history behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the one to beat in the 100m. In a field without rising star Sha’Carri Richardson (USA), the 2008 and 2012 100m champion could become the first woman to win three Olympic titles over the distance.

Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya), Athletics
Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours in 2019. In Tokyo, he is defending the title. If he succeeds, he will be the third person in history to win the Olympic marathon twice after Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980).

Caeleb Dressel (USA), Swimming
Caeleb Dressel, the first man to swim under 40 seconds in 100m freestyle, is not a record breaker in terms of the Olympics (his two gold medals at Rio 2016 came in the 4×100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays), but he is a record breaker in every other sense. He currently holds the world records in the 100m butterfly, 50m freestyle and 100m individual medley. If the run-up to Tokyo is anything to go by, he will set new records here too. Another potential record breaker in the pool is Great Britain’s Adam Peaty. Regarded as the greatest breaststroke swimmer of all-time, Peaty has recorded the five fastest 100m breaststroke times in history and is odds-on favourite to not only defend his title in Tokyo but to also break the world record.

Allyson Felix (USA), Athletics
Allyson Felix returns for her fifth (and final) Olympic Games. The American sprinter already has six Olympic gold medals and three silvers, which makes her the most successful female athlete in history. By winning one more, she will equal Carl Lewis’s record for an athlete from the United States.

UCHIMURA Kohei (Japan), Gymnastics
Three-time Olympic champion UCHIMURA Kohei is competing in his fourth Olympics. Known as “King” Kohei after becoming the first male gymnast in 44 years to retain his all-around title, the Japanese gymnast is not defending the titles on home soil. Instead, he aims for a first Olympic gold in his only event, the horizontal bar.

Laura and Jason Kenny (Great Britain), Track cycling
Track cycling’s power couple, Laura and Jason Kenny are both record breakers in their own right. Jason equalled Chris Hoy’s British record of six Olympic titles at the Rio Games, while his wife Laura won her fourth gold medal. In Tokyo, the husband and wife are capable of multiple wins.

Watch Funky Fred and Pavarotti in action

In each sport, the athletes would be nothing if it was not have their tools of the trade.

The beloved items that athletes could not do without in competition include everything from lucky underwear to surfboards (other equipment is essential in other sports too). If that’s not enough, they are given some great names too. The prime example are the best and most specialised companions in the Olympic sports – the horses in the equestrian disciplines.

Among those set to be in action at the Equestrian Park are Blue Movie (who is ridden by Australia’s Rowan Willis), Funky Fred (Germany’s Marcus Ehning), Hot Chocolat (France’s Isabelle Pinton) and Pavarotti (Canada’s Jessica Phoenix).

You can see a full list of horses, their riders and grooms at Tokyo 2020 on this website and app.

New sports and new Olympic stars to come at Tokyo 2020


The biggest names in surfing will hit Tsurigasaki Beach with Olympic medals at stake for the first time.

Surfing’s debut at the Olympics includes a line-up of world champions, World Surf League (WSL) tour veterans and rookies ready to make their mark on the sport.

As is the case in modern surfing history, the top pro surfers to watch will be coming mainly from Australia and the USA, but keep an eye on those from Brazil.

The competition will take place over four days, waves permitting, with the top two surfers in each heat going through to the next round.

Those who fail to finish in the first two will compete in a repechage phase to decide who goes through to the latter rounds and, eventually, the one-on-one medal deciders.


There are two categories for each gender in this sport: street and park.

Street skateboarding is held on a straight street-style course complete with stairs, handrails, benches and walls.

The athletes are judged on the originality, execution and number of tricks they perform.

Nyjah Huston and Leticia Bufoni are among the names expected to light up Tokyo 2020.

Team USA’s Huston is one of the best contest street skaters ever. He has been nominated for the illustrious Thrasher Magazine ‘Skater of the Year’ award several times, but has yet to win.

One of Huston’s closest friends, Bufoni of Brazil, is one of the favourites for victory in the women’s section of street skateboarding. A keen fitness fanatic, Bufoni has been a consistent performer at the World Skate/SLS World Championships since winning the title in 2015.

Park skateboarding takes place on a hollowed-out course featuring a series of curves and deep bowls.

Having just turned 13 when she competes at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, Great Britain’s Sky Brown will be one of the youngest competitors in the women’s event and is one of main draws to park skateboarding.

Heimana Reynolds (USA) finished 2020 as the top-ranked man in park skating, while Tom Schaar is also highly rated.

Sport Climbing

The first sport climbing Olympic medals will be awarded in Tokyo in combined men’s and women’s competitions.

For each gender, 20 athletes will take part in all three climbing disciplines – speed, bouldering and lead.

Their placings are then multiplied – for example, a climber who finishes first, fifth, and second will have a score of 10 (1x5x2). The top six climbers with the lowest total scores go through to the final.

Those six then compete again, with the lowest total scores deciding the medals.

Janja Garnbret from Slovenia will be one of the stars to watch out for in the women’s tournament. The six-time world champion is one of the best climbers in the world. “When I’m on the wall, nothing else matters,” the Slovenian said in 2019.

Czech Republic’s Adam Ondra is one of the men’s favourites. He was the first one to ever climb a 9C+ bouldering route, considered to be the hardest route in the world, doing so on the ‘Silence’ formation in Norway.


Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese traditional martial arts, will host the first Olympic karate competition in 2021.

There are six kumite events at Tokyo 2020 – three for each gender in different weight divisions – which see two opponents engage in combative sparring. The men’s 67kg, 75kg, +75kg, and women’s 55kg, 61kg, +61kg.

In addition to these, there are two kata competitions – one per gender – where the two opponents take it in turns to perform a routine consisting of a series of punches and kicks.

It is in kata where the host nation will be fancied to fare particularly well. Kiyuna Ryo is a firm favourite while Damián Quintero of Spain presents the biggest challenge, while Shimizu Kiyou will be tested by Spain’s Sandra Sánchez in the women’s event.


Baseball and softball return to the Olympic Games having been dropped after Beijing 2008.

The host nation Japan will be among the favourites in both sports, and can take inspiration from the last final in softball.

The United States of America had won all three previous gold medals, starting with the first at Atlanta 1996, and they took a 22-game winning streak into the 2008 final.

But Yukiko Ueno gave up just one run as Japan upset the favourites 3-1 to claim a first gold.

Meanwhile, the United States will look for their first baseball gold since Sydney 2000, their only triumph to date. In Beijing, South Korea defeated Cuba in the final.

Familiar sports, new disciplines

A number of sports will have new disciplines or events for Tokyo 2020. This is either to appeal to younger fans or as part of the move towards full gender equality at Olympic Games.

In basketball, countries will compete for the first time in 3X3 matches.

BMX freestyle is a new cycling discipline at the Games, while the madison has been reintroduced to the track cycling programme.

There are three new events in swimming – the women’s 1500m freestyle for women, the men’s 800m freestyle, and the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

Another mixed relay joins the athletics programme, where there will also be a mixed 4x400m relay on the track.

In shooting, three new mixed team events will take place: mixed trap, mixed 10m air pistol and mixed 10m air rifle.

And in archery, there will also be a new mixed team competition.

Where will the athletes compete at the Olympic Games in 2021?

Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium will be the focal point of the Games in 2021 and will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletics, and various football matches. The stadium was constructed with a hybrid wood and steel frame, with the wood in the roof structure coming from all 47 prefectures in Japan.

The Urban Park concept, which proved so successful at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, will also be in operation. BMX and skateboarding will take place at Ariake Urban Sports Park with Aomi Urban Sports Park staging sport climbing and 3X3 basketball.

There are also four existing venues which were used at the 1964 Olympic Games: the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (table tennis), Yoyogi National Stadium (handball), Nippon Budokan (judo and karate), and Equestrian Park.

Tokyo may be the hub, but there are a number of events held in outlying venues.

Baseball and softball will be held in the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in the east of Japan, in the prefecture most affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Just north of Fukushima is Miyagi, another city hit by the tsunami, which will host football preliminary games and quarter-finals.

The furthest outpost for the Games is Sapporo, some 850km north of the capital, which will stage football group matches, as well as the athletics race walks and marathons.

Kashima, on the east coast of Japan’s main Honshu island 100km east of Tokyo, will host much of the two football tournaments, including semi-finals and the women’s bronze medal match.


Following the state of emergency declared by the Government of Japan, which is in effect from 12 July until 22 August, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has decided to review plans for activities that were due to take place at TOKYO WATERFRONT CITY and to restrict access to the area during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Specifically, Tokyo 2020 will close off public access to the “2020 FAN PARK” and “2020 FAN ARENA”, which were scheduled to host various commercial outlets and sports initiation activities. Accordingly, athlete training sessions will no longer be open to the public, and the sports initiation sessions that were due to be held at the 2020 FAN PARK ‘PLAYGROUND’ will be cancelled. In the light of the government’s request to citizens to refrain from going out unnecessarily during the state of emergency, we will restrict access around the Olympic Cauldron area near the Yume no Ohashi and will ask members of the public to refrain from visiting it. Live performances and provision of food and beverages at the Olympic Promenade have been cancelled.

Meanwhile, the URBAN FESTIVAL programme in the Ariake area will be cancelled in accordance with the decision for the spectators.

A decision regarding public access to the TOKYO WATERFRONT CITY area during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be taken after the Olympic Games have ended, allowing this to be based on the infection status prevailing at the time.


After a year’s delay, the Opening Ceremony for Tokyo 2020 will finally get underway on 23 July 2021. But how much do you know about the showstopping event? With just a week to go, here’s your comprehensive guide…

The wait is almost over.

The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is as anticipated as the Games themselves, and final preparations are well-underway for the grand opening of the biggest sporting event on the planet.

Billions of people around the world are expected to tune in to watch the proceedings at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, but how much do you know about the ceremony?

Here’s everything you need to know…

When is the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020?

The Opening Ceremony gets underway at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium at 20:00 JST on 23 July 2021.

The event is exactly a year later than originally planned due to the postponement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, however the expectation and anticipation is greater than ever.

What should we expect to see?

The Opening Ceremony of any Olympic Games is always a closely-guarded secret, and Tokyo 2020 is no different.

Although there will be no spectators in Tokyo, you can expect fireworks, flagbearers and fanfare as each of the competing nations are led out by Greece, home of the Ancient Olympic Games, with host nation Japan entering the stadium last.

After the Olympic oath is taken by athletes, officials and coaches, and the Games are officially declared open, viewers can look forward to a spectacular artistic display as the flame enters the city’s Olympic Stadium and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron takes place.

Unlike previous Games, the cauldron will in fact be located away from the stadium and situated in Tokyo’s waterfront city.

What is different about the Olympic oath this year?

One of the most symbolic and important parts of the Opening Ceremony is the Olympic oath. At the Tokyo 2020 Games the oath has been significantly adapted in order to highlight the importance of solidarity, inclusion, non-discrimination and equality.

The number of oath-takers has also been extended from three to six – two athletes, two coaches and two judges. This is in line with the International Olympic Committee (IOC’s) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee’s drive towards gender equality.

Who is behind the Opening Ceremony?

The creative team is led by executive producer HIOKI Takayuki. He is assisted by NOMURA Mansai, who was involved in the planning of the ceremony prior to the Games’ postponement last year.

As for the rest? Stay tuned!

What is the concept behind the Opening Ceremony?

Tokyo 2020 has designed the opening ceremony around several themes, but they are all underpinned by the idea the Games can bring fresh hope and encouragement to people around the world – both through the active appearance of athletes and through the power of sport.

The common concept across all ceremonies – both opening and closing, for Olympic and Paralympic Games, is “Moving Forward” – however the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games has the theme of “United by Emotion”.

What does ‘United by Emotion’ mean?

Tokyo 2020 will be unlike any other Olympic Games in history because it will take place in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is an obstacle far beyond anything we have ever faced.

The world is made up of people who are different ages and nationalities and come from all walks of life, and now, due to the pandemic, we are physically separated. This is why, Tokyo 2020 wants everyone to experience the same excitement, joy, and at times disappointment, through the athletes’ competitive performances.

Sport is universal. It is an invaluable treasure that Tokyo 2020 believes has the power to unite the world through emotion, even if we are apart, speak different languages, or come from different cultures.

In the Opening Ceremony, Tokyo 2020 hopes to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, to express gratitude and admiration for the efforts we all made together over the past year, and also to bring a sense of hope for the future.

It’s hoped the ceremony will be an experience that conveys how we all have the ability to celebrate our differences, to empathise, and to live side-by-side with compassion for one another.

Watch this space…

The Opening Ceremony of an Olympic Games is always a closely-guarded secret, and Tokyo 2020 is no different.

Watch this space for more information over the coming days about what you can expect to see, as the countdown continues…


A ceremony for these unprecedented times.

An Opening Ceremony to show us that we are all connected, living together side-by-side.

This Tokyo 2020 Games motto will be re-envisioned as the concept for the Opening Ceremony.

In just 5 days, the Games begin.

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Opening Ceremony Creative Team will continue to prepare until the last minute to deliver an inspiring ceremony for viewers watching from around the world.

Show Director KOBAYASHI Kentaro

“Though working within the confines of various conditions, all of the participating artists have generously poured their skills and talents into this production. To the best of our ability, we strive to express our encouragement for the main stars of the event—the athletes.

“I urge viewers to pay attention to the expressions on the participants’ faces. Everybody is in good spirits.”

“This is the film set of the opening video. A wide range of technology is used throughout the ceremony, but there are also many manual, analog elements that play a key role. It is my hope to add an essence of craftsmanship to the sportsmanship that is on show.”

Director of Choreography HIRAHARA Shintaro

“Under these circumstances, there are undoubtedly many thoughts and opinions surrounding the event. My aim was to create a work that imparts a sense of strength and hope to all viewers despite their standpoint, and share that vision with the performers.

“Our goal is to deliver a performance of human affirmation and hope for the future.”

“We use many implements during this performance. Through the creative use of these tools, we were able to communicate with the performers to produce the final piece.

“Note the energetic facial and body expressions of each individual performer.”

Scenographer TANEDA Yohei

“In this digital and virtual age, I wanted to present the beauty of the “forms” of Japan through three-dimensional features, such as the stage design and equipment for the Olympic cauldron. I encourage viewers to seek out various forms with hidden elements of Japanese taste. With many years of experience as an art director for movies, I am excited for people to enjoy a sense of anticipation—like watching a scene in a movie—through the stage modeling and set movement.”

“To incorporate the beauty of Japanese materials, I personally observe, feel, and check the materials such as the “ropes” and the tones of colour in the “wood”. I hope viewers will be able to appreciate the interesting and beautiful nature of these Japanese materials.

“Through the screen, I’d like for people to take notice of the shape of the stage from above. By observing from all different angles, viewers can explore the many facets of the three-dimensional elements.”

Published under Promotion on 18 July, 2021.

Latest update on 08 August, 2021.