2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL Blooming of Culture

TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL is here to build energy towards Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The festival will be a welcoming place where various people and cultures from Japan and across the world interact in celebration of the Games.
Regional towns and big cities, Japan and the world—just imagine what can happen when we reach beyond boundaries and unite together.
Extraordinary cultures will bloom and flourish.
The power and wonder of diversity will shine brightly.
New cultures and inspiration will lead us toward an amazing future.
And each one of us is the main player in this prelude.
We are the stars, gracing the stages in each and every town across Japan.
The excitement starts by uniting the passion and diversity of all corners of the country.
Opening new gateways, introducing new possibilities for Japan.


Celebrating the start of the Games

The world's first stage performance fusing the intangible eastern and western cultural assets of kabuki and opera.

KABUKI × OPERA “Luminous, The Lord”
presented by ENEOS
Date and time:18 April 2020 from 17:00
Venue:Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium

The first theme is “Celebrating the Start of the Games”, which will kick off in April 2020. 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 which will be the legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Ichikawa Ebizo Ⅺ

It is an honor and a privilege to be given an opportunity to celebrate the opening of the Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival by performing in KABUKI x OPERA “Luminous, The Lord”.
This year, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, Japan will be attracting a lot of attention worldwide. As for myself, also this year, I will succeed to the name of Ichikawa Danjuro XIII, Hakuen. I am joyous as well as motivated to deliver an unforgettable performance on a prominent stage during this major milestone in my life.
I will be performing with world-renowned opera singers, Anna Pirozzi and Erwin Schrott, as well as Jordi Bernàcer, the conductor, who are of the same generation as myself. Both Kabuki and Opera are performing arts with their own histories that span more than 400 years. As the inheritors of these Western and Eastern performance cultures, I look forward to this new journey of our creative collaboration.
Please join us for this very special performance of KABUKI x OPERA “Luminous, The Lord”.
Ebizo was born in Tokyo, the eldest son of Ichikawa Danjūrō XII. His debut performance was in 1983 where he played the role of “Togu” (emperor) in “The Tales of Genji.” In 1985 he received the Kabuki stage name of Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII for his performance as “Kikanbo” in “Uiro-uri” at the Kabukiza Theatre in Tokyo. In 2004 he received his current stage name, Ichikawa Ebizo XI. He is the eleventh holder of the Ebizo name which has been passed down through the Ichikawa family since the early Edo period.
Hoping to reintroduce the value of traditional Japanese arts to future generations, he produces his own shows including “ABKAI” and “An Invitation to the Classics”. He also performed at the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris in 2004. His other overseas performances have included London and Amsterdam (2006), Paris (2007), Monaco (2009), London and Rome (2010), Singapore (2014, 2015), the United Arab Emirates (2016), and New York (2016). In 2006, he was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award, and in 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French nation.
Ebizo was also nominated for the Best Actor Award at the 37th Japanese Academy Awards in 2014 for his performance in “Ask This of Rikyu”. He is also a member of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for Culture and Education. In May 2020, he will succeed the stage name Ichikawa Danjuro Hakuen as the thirteenth holder, which has similarly been inherited through generations since the early Edo period.

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Anna Pirozzi

Since her debut in 2012 at the Teatro Regio in Turin as Amelia in Ballo in Maschera, Anna Pirozzi has confirmed herself as the most electrifying dramatic soprano of her generation, inspiring the leading Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera to call her “an extraordinary dramatic coloratura soprano that in time will be able to place herself in the footsteps of Anita Cerquetti, the greatest dramatic soprano of coloratura from 1945 to today.“

Anna Pirozzi made her international debut at the Salzburg Festival in the summer of 2013 under the musical direction of Riccardo Muti in the part of Abigaille in Nabucco, one of her flagship roles. Since then, she has performed on the world’s most important stages : at the Arena di Verona, at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía of Valencia, at the NCPA Beijing, at the New Israeli Opera Tel Aviv, at the Opera Theatres in Leipzig and Stuttgart, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Teatro Communale di Firenze, at the Sanxay Festival, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Opéra National de Paris, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro San Carlo of Naples, the Teatro alla Scala of Milan, and many others

Erwin Schrott
Bass baritone

Erwin Schrott has performed to international acclaim in the world´s most prestigious opera theatres such as Milan´s Teatro alla Scala, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Washington National Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Hamburg State Opera, the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie in Brussels, the Teatro Communale di Firenze, the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova and many others.

Born in Montevideo, Schrott started his operatic career at the age of 22 as Roucher in Andrea Chénier. He won international competitions such as “Carlos Gomez” and, “Juventudes Musicales” before winning the “Operalia” competition. From there, a dazzling career followed, with him making debuts in one major opera house after another in quick succession.

Programme title
KABUKI x OPERA “Luminous, The Lord” presented by ENEOS
Date and time
18 April 2020 from 17:00 (one-night only performance)
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (Sendagaya 1-17-1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
Kabuki performance combined with Opera
Ichikawa Ebizo XI, Kabuki actor (Japan)
Anna Pirozzi, Soprano (Italy)
Erwin Schrott, Bass-baritone (Uruguay)
Fujima Kanjuro VIII (The Soke Fujima-ryu)
Jordi Bernàcer
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra


Participation, Interaction, and Dialogue

Concept WA

A festival where we can communicate, dance in a circle, unite together and create peace.

The Japanese word ”wa” can be spelled with several different kanji characters, each with a different meaning,
including 話 (“talk”), 輪 (”circle”), 環 (“unity”) and 和 (“peace”.)

Creating a place where friendships are born by interacting through Japanese cultural experiences.

Just as athletes from all around the world participate and interact with each other at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with children from Japan and across the globe, we will create a place for interaction with the concept of “Matsuri-Festival” incorporating Japanese classics through contemporary dancing and singing.
We hope the festival will be a place where friendships are fostered, making WA with many people joining the event uniting everyone’s heart here in TOKYO.

Komei Sugano

I was only seven years old when that festival  was held. I remember I was very excited by the sound of fanfares every day. I was commended by our local mayor for my drawing of the Japanese weightlifter, Miyake, and that made me feel proud. That was the legacy that the festival handed down to me, and made me want to become an adult who could put that pride into someone else’s heart. Accordingly, I have become a festival director. I would like to create a completely new festival with children which has the power to touch people’s hearts. I’m sure we are going to enjoy these special days. I want everyone who takes part to be proud of themselves, and hope this festival will remain in their hearts as a new legacy. Let’s envision this festival as if we are shouting out “WA!” with all our heart.
Komei Sugano,started his career as a director of Japan’s “Kosakai kun no Osumashi de” show in 1986. He directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 12th Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994 and the Night Festival prior to the FIFA World Cup final in 2002. He has translated and directed Broadway musicals such as Footloose, The Producers and Guys and Dolls, and has recently become an enthusiastic director of original musicals. With his own good taste in musicals and sophisticated pacing, his artistic activities are wide-ranging, including musicals, shows and concerts, as well as exhibitions, large-scale sports events and total productions for amusement parks. His recent works include the musical Finding Mr. Destiny (all 2016-2018 versions), the JET STREAM 50th Anniversary Special Concert, the Tokyo 2020 Official Programme Nihongo de Asobo, the Special Concert in Izumo-Nippon Zukushi, the musical SMOKE (since 2018), and Masayuki Sakamoto’s ONE MAN STANDING 2019 – The Greatest Symphony.

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18 & 19 July 2020
Shinjuku Gyoen Landscape Garden, Tokyo


Towards the realisation of inclusive society

ONE - Our New Episode -

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”.

Kenji Kohashi

I believe that the spirit of wa that Japan inherently possesses envisages harmonious unity.
Nevertheless, since we are pressured to conform while growing up, at present we find ourselves living in a society in which it is quite difficult for us to accept others or even accept our true selves.
Be that as it may, if we look at things at the cellular level, we find that we all have the same basic human nature, and our bodies are composed of the same physical materials.
Although it may be true that a single event cannot accomplish all that much, learning to achieve harmony by blending various individualities through things like an orchestra represents a process whereby we can learn about others while also learning about ourselves. And hopefully that will contribute to producing a society in which we can mutually appreciate each other.
A representative, LeaR inc. / Creative Director. Born in Tokyo 19 August 1979. He is a creative director of ""ULTRA JAPAN"" and a general producer of ""STAR ISLAND""; the latter won a special jury panel award at the ""Cool Japan Matching Forum 2017"" supported by Japan’s Cabinet Office.
He is also responsible for planning and managing global events and urban development projects, including a successful countdown event supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.

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Shortly before the opening of the Paralympic Games on August, 2020
Shibuya-ku Tokyo


Reconstruction of
the Tohoku region

Rediscover Thohoku to TOKYO

One-tenth scale models of the MOCCO Giant Puppet (with and without his cape) were unveiled on May 29, 2019

The final programme of the TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL will be staged under the theme “Reconstruction of the Tohoku Region” in various locations in the Tohoku region and Tokyo during May, June and July 2019.

Created especially for this programme, the MOCCO Giant Puppet will travel around the Tohoku region receiving messages from the people of Tohoku as he journeys towards Tokyo.

This programme presents a new form of cultural event against the backdrop of the culture of Tohoku in which the character of MOCCO is rooted as well as a road story in which MOCCO meets many different people.

Michihiko Yanai

The Tokyo 2020 Games will be the ‘Recovery Games Connecting with Tokyo and Tohoku’. We believe that one of the major missions of the Tokyo 2020 Games is to make more people aware of the current situation in Tohoku and to encourage them to visit there. I hope that the local citizens will think it was a good idea to host some of the Tokyo 2020 events in the region. It is great to share people’s smiles widely and boost their spirits with the “MOCCO” doll, cheering them up. The journey of the “MOCCO” doll will continue after the Games.
Yanai is a Professor and Special Advisor to the President for Educational Partnerships at the Department of Design, Tokyo University of the Arts / Creative Director. He was born in Koriyama City, Fukushima, in 1964, and has worked on a number of innovative advertising campaigns. As well as serving as the master of ceremonies on NHK's 'Top Runner' programme, he is a popular personality on various TV and radio programmes, and a guitarist for the rock band Inawashirokos. He is constantly exploring new avenues to expand the possibilities of advertising through a wide range of activities. In 2015, he was appointed as creative director for Fukushima Prefecture. He is active in the Tohoku region, holding the rock festival ‘Live Fukushima – Wind and Rock SUPER Nouma Oisaki’, which toured the prefecture for six days, and his ‘Wind and Rock Caravan Fukushima’ tour which played at 59 locations across Fukushima Prefecture.

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Dates / Venue
9 May, 2020 / Venue: Takata-Matsubara Tsunami Reconstruction Memorial Park
23 May, 2020 / Venue: Sennen kibounooka Ainokama Park
13 June, 2020 / Venue: Soma Nomaoisaibachi
*A caravan is planned for the site of Tohoku Kizuna Festival in 2020 (Held on 30 - 31 May, 2020) in Yamagata City

Concept video production staff

Asao Tokolo Artist / Creator of Festival Mark
Algorithmic Design
Shohei Matsukawa Architect / Associate Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University SFC
Japanese Drum Performing
Eitetsu Hayashi Japan’s Premier Solo Taiko Drummer / EITETSU FU-UN no KAI(Japanese Taiko Drummers Unit)
Keiko Yamaguchi

Official Partners

  • JAL

Supporting Partners

  • Canon
  • Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
  • Mizuho Financial Group
  • ANA
  • Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical co.,inc.
  • Shimizu Corporation

Associating Partners

  • NEC
  • Earth Corporation.
  • Nomura
  • PARK24 CO.,LTD.
  • Pasona Group