The Olympic torch incorporates several elements of Japanese culture, and reinforces Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Torch Relay concept: “Hope lights our way”.
The concept is designed to bring the Japanese people together around messages of support, acceptance and encouragement of one another, while also reflecting the Olympic flame’s ability to promote peace and hope to the world.
Not only do Japan’s famed cherry blossoms happen to bloom in March, coinciding with the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, but the shape of the torch also resembles a Japanese traditional “Sakuramon” cherry blossom emblem.
The body of the torch features five cylinders that represent petals of the beloved flower. Flames are generated from each “petal”, which are united in the centre of the torch, lighting the way with greater brilliance. A number of technological innovations are deployed in the combustion section that lights the torch, including catalytic reaction.
Further building on this spirit of innovation, the torch’s unique shape is made possible by utilising the same modern aluminium extrusion technology used in the manufacturing of Japan’s renowned bullet trains.
The construction of the torch also incorporates sustainability by using aluminium waste from temporary housing that was built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. While the materials were once used to help rebuild lives, they will now be used to spread a message of hope and recovery.
In keeping with its vision to celebrate unity in diversity, the torch was designed to ensure ease of use for everyone. It consists of a weight and shape that is simple to grip and features a position mark to help visually impaired torchbearers identify the front of the torch.
Just like the torch itself, the Olympic Torch Relay emblem embodies Japanese culture. It is made up of three rectangular shapes arranged to depict the dynamic flames of a torch. In addition, a “ukiyo-e” woodblock printing technique known as “fukibokashi” has been used to produce graduated tones across two colours.
One of these, “vermilion”, produces an energetic, loving and passionate image and is combined with “ochraceous”, reminiscent of the earth, to create a festive feeling. Their combination creates the effect of a flame.
Tokyo 2020 also announced the Olympic Torch Relay Ambassadors, who will promote the Relay to people all over the world. The list of Ambassadors includes three-time judo Olympic gold medallist Tadahiro Nomura, three-time Paralympian Aki Taguchi, actress Satomi Ishihara and comedy duo Sandwich Man.
Tokyo 2020 also recently announced that, in addition to Worldwide Olympic Partners Coca-Cola and Toyota, Nippon Life Insurance Company (Nippon Life) and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) have joined the Olympic Torch Relay as Presenting Partners.