The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) today unveiled the design of the torch that will be used during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay and the emblem that will be used to denote the Relay. The Torch and its emblem will feature strongly in the build-up to the Games across the whole of Japan, and their unveiling comes exactly one year before the flame is due to arrive from Greece at Matsushima Airbase in Miyagi prefecture.
Characteristics of the Olympic Torch
The torch bears the motif of a cherry blossom, Japan's most familiar and best-loved flower. With the arrival of the cherry blossom season in March 2020, the Olympic Torch will be integrated with the “Hope Lights Our Way“ concept of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay and will commence its journey across Japan.
Uniting tradition and modern technology, the shape of the torch resembles that of a Japanese traditional “Sakura-mon“ cherry blossom emblem. It was shaped into this form using the same aluminium extrusion technology used in the manufacture of Japan's famous bullet trains. It forms a seamless, single piece symbolising the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay, created by fusing Japanese tradition and modern technology.
The manufacture of the torch embodies a passion for recovery and consideration for sustainability. Aluminium construction waste from temporary housing built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake was used to create it, transforming materials that witnessed the rebuilding of shattered lives into a symbol of peace. This will convey to the world the extent to which the affected areas are recovering, one step at a time.
The torch is also designed to depict the shape of a flame. The five flames generated from the petal unite at the centre of the torch, lighting the way with greater brilliance. A number of technological innovations have been deployed in the combustion section that lights the torch, including catalytic reaction.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Emblem
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Emblem is designed to act as a symbol for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay. As such, it also reflects the Tokyo 2020 emblem, presenting a consistent image across all Games activities and events.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay emblem incorporates three rectangular shapes arranged to depict the dynamic flames of a torch. In addition, a “ukiyo-e“ woodblock printing technique known as “fukibokashi“ has been used to produce graduated tones across two colours. One of these – vermilion – produces an energetic, loving and passionate image, and is combined with ochraceous, reminiscent of the earth, to create a festive feeling evoking Japan as well as the effect of a flame.
Tokyo 2020 invited participants to form a corporate community overseeing all activities from design to manufacturing. A selection panel met twice to evaluate designs against criteria that included design, performance of the lighting mechanism and consideration for sustainability.
The torch will be carried through Japan's rich scenery by many different torchbearers, and it is hoped it will “light our way to the future“.
Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay Ambassadors
The role of the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay Ambassadors will be to promote the attractions of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay to people all over the world.
Three-time Olympic gold medallist from Nara prefecture
Won a gold medal in the men's judo 60kg category at three consecutive Olympic Games: Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. He is the first person in the judo history--and the first Asian athlete in any Olympic sport--to have won gold in three consecutive Games. Since his retirement, he has been actively promoting judo both at home and abroad.
“When I heard the news of my appointment, I was really surprised and very happy. As an Olympian, I have participated in the Olympic Games many times, and I think that the torch is something special for all of us who love the Olympic Games and love sport. I hope that all of you will enjoy the Tokyo 2020 Games and that your smiles will live on. Let's enjoy the Games together!“
Three-time Paralympian from Osaka prefecture
Competed at three consecutive Paralympic Games: Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Currently a member of the Tokyo 2020 Athletes' Committee and the Emblem Selection Committee. She actively promotes Paralympic sport in Japan and is helping to encourage an inclusive society.
When I received this offer, I was really surprised. At first I wasn't certain if I could serve in such a major role, but I felt I wanted to do it, so I accepted. The torch relays are for everybody. Regardless of gender or physical ability, anybody can participate in the relays and send cheers along the streets or through the TV. I would like to help make the torch relays memorable for all those who participate. We the ambassadors will do our best, so please join us!
Actress from Tokyo
Made her acting debut in the movie “My Grandpa“ in 2003. Has played numerous leading roles in TV dramas, movies and theatre pieces and won several awards, including Best Actress at both the 27th Japan Academy Awards and the 46th Blue Ribbon Awards. She visited Kenya, Uganda and other regions in Africa for a TV programme over three consecutive years. In 2017, she was MC for the telethon charity programme "24-Hour Television", and the sincerity she showed towards those she interviewed enhanced her popularity among the Japanese public.
When I was offered the role of ambassador I was really surprised, but I also felt joy and gratitude; I now feel a keen sense of responsibility too. The torch will connect the feelings of each one of the torchbearers. I hope to meet many of the torchbearers, supporters, those cheering from the roadsides and everyone else involved in the Torch Relay, and help convey their dramas and stories. I would like to share everyone's excitement and fun.
Comedy duo from Miyagi prefecture
The two formed a comedy duo in 1998 after graduating from high school in Miyagi, where they met. They won the M-1 Grand Prix in 2007, Japan's most prestigious comedy award, and finished second in the “King of Conte 2009“ competition. They are popular and active on TV, radio and other media. Since the 2011 East Japan earthquake, they have contributed to reconstruction efforts in Tohoku, where they are from.
Left: Mikio Date, Right: Takeshi Tomizawa
Date's & Tomizawa's comment:
It is such a surprise. Is it really okay for us to take this on? We still cannot believe we have been offered this role, but we will do our best as official ambassadors for the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relays. We are very glad that the Olympic flame will be exhibited in Miyagi prefecture, which is where we are from, and in Fukushima and Iwate prefectures. A lot of people are bound to come and see them, and it will help stimulate further recovery in those regions. And please run in the relay as well with the torch in your hands. This kind of opportunity may come only once in a lifetime. We hope many of you will join in and make them a memorable Olympic and Paralympic Games. Is it really okay that we are going to take on such responsible roles? I'm sure you all are surprised, but we are 50 times more surprised. We will by any means liven up the event, so we would appreciate your support. We'll do our best! Please join us.