Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments

Left: Design chose by Fukushima Prefecture, Right: Design chose by Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures
Left: Design chose by Fukushima Prefecture, Right: Design chose by Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures

Concept: The role of the recovery monuments

The Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments project is based on the concept of bridging a connection between the three Tohoku prefectures and the world.

Through these monuments, Japanese people and those from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima ­ prefectures affected by the earthquake and tsunami ­ will express their gratitude for the support they received from everyone. At the same time, the monuments will also symbolise equally how the world appreciates the Tohoku people's support for the world's athletes who will come to Japan to participate in Tokyo 2020.

This will show the healing power of sport and inspire Tohoku people to thrive and feel empowered.

Messages of hope and support

Messages from these three Tohoku prefectures will be sent out to the world during the Tokyo 2020 Games. During a series of workshops this August, middle and high school students from these areas expressed their gratitude and support towards athletes who will compete in the Games. Their messages were combined with the monuments and will be displayed at an Olympic and Paralympic Games-related venue for the athletes to see.

After the Games, messages from all over the world will be delivered to these Tohoku areas. Signatures from athletes and others will be added to these monuments and will be moved to these areas where the athletes' messages will be displayed as part of Tokyo 2020 Games legacy.

The “Tokyo 2020 Recovery Monuments” is a project carried out by Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai), Iwate Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture, Fukushima Prefecture and LIXIL Corporation to support the reconstruction in the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake by linking them with the world. The Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai), alma mater of many young talented artists, was also part of this project.

Monument installation

Process of producing and installing the monuments

1. Recycling the aluminium used for window frames of temporary housing units

The monuments will be made from recycled aluminium collected from the window frames of the temporary housing units in the Tohoku areas. LIXIL delivered the recycled aluminium to Tokyo 2020 in a hand-over ceremony was held on 17 July 2019.

2. Geidai students and middle and high school students collaborate to design the monument

The monuments will be a joint collaboration between students from Geidai and local middle and high school students in the three prefectures. The Geidai students presented a number of design ideas for the monument at workshops held in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. The students in each prefecture selected one design to represent their prefecture. The local students also made the messages that would accompany the monument.
The workshop was held at Asaka Reimei High School (Fukushima) on 19 August, at Kesennuma Koyo High School (Miyagi) on 20 August, and at Otsuchi High School (Iwate) on 22 August. The monument design was decided by vote, and the students worked on the making and design of the messages.

3. Students from the Tokyo University of the Arts create a monument using recycled aluminium

Students studying at the Tokyo University of the Arts will create a monument based on a design selected at a workshop. The monument will be made of recycled aluminium and will feature messages from middle and senior high school students in the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The production will be divided into two processes: moulding the monument cast, and moulding the message plate.

On 29 January 2020, students from the Asaka Reimei High School in Fukushima Prefecture who participated in the workshop went on a field trip to observe the moulding process of the message plates. Before moulding the plates, the colour, shape, size and layout have to be decided. Then each message is moulded on a wooden cast, and a sand mould is made using casting sand. Each sand mould is handmade, taking a long time to complete the process. The next step is to melt the aluminium in a high temperature furnace until the aluminium reaches about 700 degrees Celsius. The heated aluminium is poured into the sand moulds to create the message plates. Once the aluminium cools down and hardens, it is taken out of the sand mould and any excess is cut off to finish the process.

The moulding of the monument itself is well underway. In the end, the message plates will be attached to the monument, and the work will be completed.

4. The monuments are installed at a Games-related venue in Tokyo

During the Tokyo 2020 Games, the monuments will be installed at a Games-related venue in Tokyo where athletes from all over the world will be able to see and read the messages. The athletes will also be able to write their own signatures on the monuments, completing the monument.

5. The monument will return to Tohoku as a legacy of the Games

After the Games, the completed monuments will be sent back to the disaster affected areas and will remain there as a Tokyo 2020 Games legacy for the local community.