The Olympic Torch Relay of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this year is already on its way (since 25 March), a year after the arrival of the flame.
For another two more months, Japan will be watching the Olympic Flame tour more of its spectacular coastlines and prominent cities. Beginning its epic journey at the J-Village in Fukushima, the journey will end at the Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo on 23 July, passing through 859 municipalities (47 prefectures).
The first torchbearer went to Nadeshiko Japan, a football team who won the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Their victory played a significant role in helping uplift the nation still reeling from the aftermath of the disaster that year.
Another torch bearer more closely related to his creativity in the music scene is Shinji Hidaka. Born and raised in Shimane Prefecture, he now leads the music unit, X+. Not only is he the goodwill ambassador for Shimane, but represents Izumo City and Onan City as tourism ambassador. Today, he has written over 20 songs, including Shimane’s PR song ‘Shimano no Uta. Hidaka performs live every month, and supports junior musicians studying at educational institutions in Shimane. [Click here for the full interview].
Representing Kagoshima is singer Rika Takamori, who performs under the nickname Riu. As a transgender performer, Riu brings her act Kanto region and also her hometown Kagoshima, which is located at the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu.
The torch relay is 121 days long, with recent arrival at the town of Okinawa on 1 May. The Kumamoto leg of the Torch Relay begins tomorrow (5 May) in the city of Hitoyoshi before journeying through Amakusa, areas surrounding the Kumamoto Earthquake (2016) before crossing the northern part of the prefecture towards the city of Kumamoto.
Kumamoto is known for the beautiful sea of Minamata and Amakusa; the natural landscapes of Aso; Nagomi city where Shiso Kanakuri ‘father of Japan’s marathon’ was born; and Kumamoto Castle.
The design of the torch, coloured pink gold, was inspired by the cherry blossom, a flower synonymous with the Japanese spring. Made from approximately 30 percent from recycled aluminum, it is fueled by hydrogen at some parts of the relay to portray its environmentally friendly element.