The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has revealed an outline of its four planned contributions to the Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival, a programme aimed at promoting Japanese culture within Japan and globally and encouraging a greater awareness of diversity in the build-up to the Games.
The programme is scheduled to run from April to September 2020 and will feature events supported by a number of companies and organisations, including Tokyo 2020. Forming part of the Tokyo 2020 Cultural Olympiad programme, the Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival is expected to be a source of new cultural experiences and inspiration that will provide a legacy for the future.
The Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival aims to encourage people from various backgrounds to participate in common projects and communicate with each other to promote the concept of an inclusive society. It also aims to give people an opportunity to become involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, creating a sense of anticipation in advance of the Games by means of its various cultural and artistic events.
Tokyo 2020 also unveiled on Thursday a concept movie and the Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival catchphrase “Blooming of Culture” that will be used to embody the objectives and values of the festival. Designed to reflect the experience of meeting new people and the importance of the four seasons in Japanese culture, the catchphrase and its Japanese equivalent are easy to remember and pronounce, as well as help generate interest in the Festival across Japan and all over the world.
The concept movie was produced by various distinguished contributors including Asao Tokolo, designer of the Tokyo 2020 emblems and Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival logo.
There are four themes to the NIPPON programme:
1. Kabuki x Opera
The first theme is “Celebrating the Start of the Games”, which in April 2020 will kick off with the world's first stage performance fusing the intangible Eastern and Western cultural assets of kabuki and opera. The stage on which the performances will take place will feature different aspects of “integration and coexistence between western and eastern cultures and a comparison between the traditional and the modern” – a new cultural initiative that will remain as a legacy after the Games.
2. TOMODACHI; Making Friends with People Around the World - Meeting, Talking and Creating Together
In July 2020, just before the Olympic Games, various events will be hosted under the second theme of “Participation, Interaction and Dialogue”. This programme will create opportunities for people of all ages, particularly children, both in Japan and in other countries – to communicate through the medium of Japanese culture with the participation of various artists.
Discussions are underway with the aim of staging a finale event in Tokyo that will unify hearts around the world.
3. Paralympic Movement – Different Personality, Same Beat
In August 2020, just before the commencement of the Paralympic Games, various artistic displays and performances will be staged by a diverse range of people from different backgrounds, including members of the LGBT community and those with impairments.
Their participation in the programme will project their personalities and help create new cultural activities based on the theme of “Diversity and Inclusion”.
“It is easy to talk about a diverse and inclusive society but it is hard to take action. The reason is that we all grow up in different circumstances and are all different in our way of thinking, our way of life and our appearance,” said the creative director of the programme Kenji Kohashi.
“On the other hand, when you look at it from the molecular and cellular level, we are created by the same nature and more than anything we have the same beat. In this festival, I would like to create an experience that goes beyond our various boundaries to a place where different beats resonate.”
4. From Tohoku to Tokyo
During May and July 2020, a programme will be staged in Tokyo and in the Tohoku area under the final theme of “Reconstruction of the Tohoku Region”. A large doll called MOCCO will travel around Tohoku and then to Tokyo, collecting local citizens’ messages on the way.
New cultural activities are being planned to highlight the many stories the doll is expected to bring back from its experiences of meeting people in the Tohoku region and learning about their local culture.