The Ceremony Cauldron
The Cauldron during the Games
The world’s first cauldron using hydrogen energy
The flame fuelled with hydrogen energy is the first of its kind in Games history
Hydrogen energy is considered ‘clean’ because it does not emit carbon dioxide, one of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The use of hydrogen energy was adopted to deliver a message that we will use the Games as an opportunity to further our efforts towards a decarbonised society.
The cauldron at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies uses hydrogen produced at a facility in Namie City, Fukushima, one of the areas seriously affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. It is the world’s largest facility that uses renewable energy in the hydrogen production process. The electricity required for electrolysis of water in the hydrogen production process is provided by solar power generation, making the hydrogen energy truly ‘clean’.
The Tokyo 2020 cauldron expresses the efforts made during the Tokyo 2020 Games to contribute to a sustainable society, and it is also a symbol of the steps we have made in the past decade to recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
A cauldron design representing the Sun
The design of the cauldron is based on the concept, “All gather under the Sun, all are equal, and all receive energy”, by NOMURA Mansai.
Through trial and error, a spherical form was designed, with upper and lower hemispheres, each consisting of five panels representing the Olympic five rings.
At the end of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, the cauldron opens up like a flower blooming to welcome the final torchbearer. This expresses not only the Sun, but also the energy and vitality it bestows on us, as seen in plants sprouting, flowers blooming, and people opening their hands wide towards the sky.
At the Olympic Closing Ceremony, the cauldron’s five panels will close and return to the sphere, and they will open again like a flower blooming at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. Thus, the same story flows through the four ceremonies, expressing the continuity to the Paris 2024 Games.
Japanese people see the beauty of cherry blossoms not only when they have fully bloomed. The beauty lies in the continuous sequence of events when the first flowers begin to blossom till the falling petals flutter to the ground, and finally people look to next year when the cherry trees will start to bud again.
The design also expresses the unique Japanese approach and interpretation to beauty which is based on the concept that all things go around like a circle and eventually returns to where it started, such as the changes of the four seasons or reincarnation.
Founder and head of a design office, Sato became the youngest recipient of Italy’s Designer of the Year. He enjoys worldwide recognition and has won many awards in Europe and around the world. His works are included in the collections of MoMA (USA), Centre Pompidou (France), the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK), and many other leading art museums. He is currently working on the design of France’s TGV for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.
Specs of the Ceremony Cauldron
- When closed: 2.85m height with a diameter of 2.5m
- When opened: 3.14m height with a diameter of 3.63m
- Weight: 2,700kg
- Size of the flame: 1,200mm width and 3,000mm height
Specs of the Cauldron during the Games
- Size: 0.922m height with a diameter of 1.244m
- Weight: 197kg
- Material: Cast iron (with stainless steel parts)
- Colour: White
Overall size including the base that supports the cauldron
- Diameter: 5m (including the double fence)
- Height: 3.771m (to the top of the cauldron)