Tokyo 2020's Countdown Events Recap

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©ShotaroHondaMoore

Last Tuesday, Tokyo 2020 held another one of its countdown events by hosting the 500 Days To Go Event at The Pana Sonic Center in Ariake. It is one of a series of buildup events that slowly release little tidbits of information to the public. This one was limited to media and not open to the general public, as it was more about making announcements than stirring fan interaction. Tokyo 2020 already held much more public events in June and August of 2018 to celebrate the 2 Year mark. Here is a look at some of the countdown events to already take place and a little bit about those that will be coming up in the future. This article isn’t a focus on so much the information relayed at the events, but rather a collection of photos to get a feel for the games.

Tokyo 2020, Olympic 2 Years To Go Event

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A Wall Of Laterns Along A Walkway At The 2 Years To Go Event. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

The 2 Years To Go event hosted by the Tokyo Organizing Committee on July 24th at the base of the Tokyo Sky Tree was one of the largest events to date aimed at building hype for the 2020 Summer Games. It was very accessible to the public with many activities available for both adults and children to partake in. There featured such sports as table tennis and basketball, where small giveaways were awarded to kids.

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The Many Booths & Handouts Available To Spectators. ©ShotaroHondaMoore
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Some Of The Sponsors Mascots Interacting With Kids. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

Aside from these games, there was important information handed out to visitors at various booths. This included a volunteer booth for those looking to have their questions answered and have anything else clarified. There were also various sponsors of the upcoming games who wanted to feature their involvement with the Summer Games. These sponsors also brought with them an army of mascots who were quite engaged with the public. They eventually had a dance competition with eight different mascots from multiple companies participating. It seemed like a consensus that the monkey with the Tokyo 2020 top hat was the winner. There was also a dance off with kids.

Tokyo 2020 is not the only large scale sporting event that Japan will host in the foreseeable future. A stand featuring the 2019 Rugby World Cup was also present to promote their events schedule. There seems to be an ongoing effort for the two events to help each other in anyway possible. Some have stated that the Rugby World Cup will act as the ultimate test for the city of Tokyo to see if they are ready for Tokyo 2020.

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The 2019 Rugby World Cup’s Booth. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

The event began around noon and for much of the day the action took place directly at the base of the Tokyo Sky Tree. However it was not the only area around the sky tree where events were taking place. On the opposite side of mall, there were interviews with athletes and a panels giving their opinions.

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Interview Stage Featuring A Variety Of Japanese Athletes. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

As the night went on, several performances took place on the main stage, directly in front of the Sky Tree. These included the dance offs and a water tossing event with children. After these finished a more traditional dance was performed by a group of women wearing kimonos.

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Water Tossing Event & A Dance To Inspired By Traditional Japanese Culture. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

After these performances and some short hype videos, there was the main presentation given by the lead organizers of Tokyo 2020 and a guest appearance by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on behalf of the 2028 L.A Summer Games. This was mainly to talk about some of their goals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, like reaching 80 000 volunteers, or to showcase venues and state promises. They also made sure to highlight the fact, Tokyo 2020 will host the most sporting events at a single Olympics with thirty three different sports.

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Tokyo 2020 Organizers & L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

This presentation went on for roughly an hour an was capped off with a lights event that was coordinated with the Tokyo Sky Tree and other buildings around Japan. It finished with many children gathering in front of the stage to perform a dance for the many cameras.

Tokyo 2020, Paralympic 2 Years To Go Event

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©ShotaroHondaMoore

On August 26th 2018, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee held another large scale event. This one marking the official two year mark until the opening of the 2020 Paralympics Games.

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The Mega Web Toyota City Showcase Venue. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

The Paralympic version of the 2 Years To Go event didn’t take place at the Sky Tree but rather at Mega Web Toyota City Showcase in Koto. It was held with somewhat the same intentions as the Olympic countdown event. It featured many different sponsor booths as well as a variety of activities for spectators to partake in.

Many of the events that took place, especially for children, were done so with the goal of introducing Paralympic sports to them. Some of the events tend to get far less publicity than those in the Olympics. It was a rather joyful atmosphere with children trying out specialized equipment, such as running blades for sprinters. The Paralympics' 2 Years To Go Event also had a full blown play area for children to try things like wheelchair basketball and weightlifting.

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Some of The Many Activities Available to The Public, ©ShotaroHondaMoore

There was a similar press event for the public and media that was shown on the main stage at the Center of the venue. However recordings of this event for the public were off limits. This presentation mainly showcased some of the new events to expect at the Paralympics and their various Japanese Paralympic athletes hopes of what the games will mean for their sports and community.

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Torches From Rio 2016 & Pyeongchang 2018. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

Quite a bit of interesting memorabilia from past games were also shown off throughout booths in the convention center. There were some pictures and videos of the past 1964 Tokyo Games, but elements from other games were present as well. One of the most appealing were the torches from the past two Olympic games: The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics and The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee has made a commitment to both the future and past Olympic and Paralympic Games. They want to take the best aspects of the past games while assuring the future of the games is in good hands, with various information being shared between Beijin (2022 Olympics) and Paris (2024 Olympics).

One thing the Paralympic countdown event did really well was enable fans to bridge the gap between themselves and the athletes. This was done with multiple stations for people to write inspiring messages on either post it notes or more personalized messages. It was told to those sending their best wishes that Paralympic athletes would receive them.

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The Many Notes Left By Fans & Supporters For The Paralympic Athletes. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

Tokyo 2020, 500 Days To Go

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Some Of The Set Up For The 500 Days To Go Event ©Shotaro Honda Moore

On March 12th 2019, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee held another one of its countdown events, this one marking the 500 day point until the Tokyo 2020 Games. It was a scaled down version of the 2 Years To Go Event, with differing goals. It was really a press event, not available to the general public, but to media outlets.

Concept Video Of The 2020 Olympic Games Pictograms. ©Tokyo2020

Two main announcements were made at this event. The first of which was the preview of the official pictograms that would be used as the graphics to represent the sports. A promo video (above) was released describing the concepts for each image. These images will be used everywhere, from websites to posters.

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School Children Cheering The Lauchg Of The Tokyo2020 Caravan. ©AP Photo/Koji Sasahara

The second reveal was the official launch of the Tokyo 2020 Caravan, which will be traveling throughout Tokyo and other parts of Japan to build up hype. It will be used as a base to do these “pop up” style events that will create intrigue and provide knowledge to locals.

The event was held at the Panasonic Center. Panasonic is one of the largest and most influential partners of the Olympic games. It served as a showcase of various technology that will be in use for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Panasonic began to closely foster ties with the IOC in 1985 and five years ago announced a extension of partnership until at least the 2024 Olympics

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The Panasonic Center, The Facility Usde To Host The 500 Days To Go Event. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

Tokyo 2020 will continue to host events leading to the eventual opening ceremonies. These will range from displays like “Ready For 2020” (March 21–24 2019), to full scale sporting events that Tokyo 2020 will use as test events. If you are in the Tokyo are, make sure to keep your eye out for such events.

If you wish to contact me, you can reach me at Shotarohmoore@hotmail.com

Written by

A writer living in Japan. Creating articles about the 2020 Tokyo Games. A regular contributor to Junkture Magazine. https://www.junkturemagazine.com

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