A Heavy Dose of Modern Japan | Tokyo 2020 Olympics Preview!

The baton has been passed to Tokyo at the Rio 2016 Olympics with a fantastic glimpse of modern Japan. Prepare for goosebumps to follow after watching.

Japan brought all of it’s major strengths together with ease in this preview, which was beautifully designed. Many props to the creative team who pulled it together. From the start, we are hit with a dose of modern Japan.

Opening the scene, Jazzy music accompanies a school uniform-donning gymnast doing flips in the middle of Shibuya’s “The Scramble” Crossing. Prominent Japanese athletes warm up with notes of Tokyo in the background. Kosuke Kitajima swims with a Shinkansen, Japan’s fastest train (Bullet Train), in the background. A pole vaulter takes a leap across the 2,080 ft (634m) tall representation of Tokyo Pride and the tallest structure in Japan, Tokyo Skytree. Rainbow Bridge, Kaminarimon, Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Skyscraper District and many more impactful scenes appear intertwined seamlessly with Japan’s finest marching forward, keeping the suspense rising.

This preview pulls in a lot from Japan’s modern international image, with relatable pop culture items famous around the world. Prominent video game characters which many 80s — 00s kids began associating with Japan over the past generation come in full effect, from Super Mario and even Pac Man. Internationally respected characters from Anime (Japanese Animation) blend in the most interesting ways. World famous kawaii (pretty) mascot Hello Kitty joins the popular Asia-spread series Doraemon and worldwide soccer fanatic’s classic Captain Tsubasa.

The climax hits when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces an issue of not being able to make it to Rio in time. Abe then morphs into Super Mario, rushing to the middle of Shibuya. Doraemon flies into to assist, delivering the famous Super Mario World green pipe from his famous magical pocket. Abe Mario is transported to the middle of the Rio Olympics stage, giving the Japanese Prime Minster one of the best world leader entrances of all time.

The most important takeaway from this presentation is that Japan is talking to the international scene like Japan talks to itself. In my opinion, some foreign-aimed advertisements make Japan seem like it’s trying to match the style of foreign countries in order to appeal to them. Or, they note on strictly the traditional aspects of Japan. This piece feels like an “in-house” Japanese TV commercial, which fully understands it’s appeal to the world and further sets the tone of a modern and exciting Japan. It pulls Japan’s major strengths from athletic to cultural aesthetic together with ease, delivering an amazing easter egg of what’s all to come in 2020. I’m curious on how they will blend in the traditional notes of Japan after this, while expressing everything that makes Japan great.

Definitely looking forward to all communications to come! What did you think about the presentation? Leave a comment below!

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