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—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.

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. In this programme, one of Japan’s most famous Kabuki actors, Ichikawa Ebizo XI, and the Maestro Plácido Domingo will collaborate on stage together in Tokyo.

Ichikawa Ebizo Ⅺ

It is an honour and a privilege to be given an opportunity to take part in this exciting performance celebrating the opening of the TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL. I’ve always believed that in addition to 2020 being a sports festival, it is also a great occasion to present the beauty and grandeur of Japanese culture to the world. Above all, we will attempt a new performance which combines kabuki and opera together with the world-renowned opera singer Plácido Domingo. Kabuki and opera may seem very different at first glance, but these performing arts have a lot of similarities, including their origins and historical backgrounds. I look forward to seeing what we will be able to create for the event. It is indeed my wish for many of you to join us in this special celebration in April 2020.
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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Plácido Domingo

I have never imagined that my stage performances over the years would bear fruit in the form of a new kabuki performance. This performance will be a special cultural event commemorating the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and I am proud and honoured to have the opportunity to perform on that stage. I look forward to performing with the young kabuki star Ebizo, and I hope to learn from him the basics of kabuki acting. I’ve always loved Japan and its cultural background. I couldn’t help admiring the unique ties that Japanese people have built between art and beauty. I am therefore honoured to be a part of Japanese culture, even though it may be for just one night.
A worldwide performer of many talents, Domingo is considered to be one of the greatest opera singers of all time. He is also an orchestra conductor and the general director of the Los Angeles Opera, and is one of the most important figures in the history of opera. He was also the distinguished director of the 100 year anniversary performance at the Arena di Verona.
He has performed over 148 roles in over 3,900 performances, a record other opera singers struggle to match. In his decades-long recording career, he has won 12 Grammy Awards and performed in over 50 films. He also starred in three of the biggest operatic films: “Carmen” directed by Francesco Rosi, and “La Traviata” and “Otello” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. For over 10 years from 1990, he performed as one of The Three Tenors alongside José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, contributing to the inspiration of a new generation of opera fans. Since 1993 he has hosted Operalia, The World Opera Competition. He is also active in developing the careers of young artists through programmes such as the Los Angeles Young Artist Programme and the Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo.

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Around April 2020 (to be held as the kick-off event for the programme)
Scheduled to be in Tokyo
* Details to be announced at a later date


Participation, Interaction, and Dialogue

TOMODACHI; Making Friends with People Around the World - Meeting, Talking and Creating Together

A record number of countries and regions will be taking part in the Tokyo 2020 Games. Just as the world’s athletes will be interacting with other at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we will be providing visitors from around the world, and particularly children, with the opportunity to interact with their Japanese hosts and each other through experiencing a wide range of ancient and modern dances and Noh performances. As the grand finale of the programme, we are planning to present a performance whereby the hearts of all those who participated in the event will become one with Tokyo. In line with the Olympic principle that advocates participation and interaction as a means of promoting world peace, we are aiming to present the ideal event with which to open the curtain on the Tokyo 2020 Games, with ancient and modern artistic performances that will live long in the memories of all who witness them.

To be announced at a later date
July 2020 (immediately prior to the opening of the Olympic Games)
Scheduled to be in Tokyo
* Details to be announced at a later date


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