Incredible dance sequence at Olympic Opening Ceremony gets people asking... what is a pictogram?

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 23: Performers are seen with the Olympic Cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 23: Performers are seen with the Olympic Cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Unique Opening Ceremony to Tokyo Games on Friday featured a rather different and memorable performance known as the 'pictogram sequence'. What was it all about? Find out more. 

The Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Friday (23rd July 2021) got social media talking.

One of the highlights was a group of performers acting out shapes, and became quickly known as the 'pictogram sequence'.

So what are pictograms? Why did it go viral? and who were the people in the blue and white outfits?

Pictograms were first introduced at the 1964 Tokyo Games as a means of transcending language barriers to communicate information to visitors and participants effectively by using stylised figures. 

Not only were they used to represent individual sports, but Tokyo also used them to represent services that would help visitors get to where they need to be.

Designers for the '64 Games helped revolutionise the idea of pictograms by creating symbols that could be used non-verbally without confusion.

They even helped to create what are now universally used logos to distinguish between gendered toilets.

Sports pictograms at Tokyo 2020 in 2021

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony, the logos of the various sports disciplines being held at the Games over the coming days were being acted out in a fast-paced sequence by the performer, with two able assistants, which the internet reacted to instantly.

In all, they got through the 50 pictograms across the 33 sports at Tokyo 2020.

Who were the human pictograms at Tokyo 2020 in 2021?

And it was Japanese silent comedy act HIRO-PON, part of the Garmarjobat Company, alongside pantomime duo MASA and hitoshi (Gabez), MINAMI Daisuke, and MATSUMOTO Ryo who treated us to their unmissable performance.

HIRO-PON also appeared at the press conference after the Opening Ceremony.

Find out more in our live blog of the ceremony, and let us know which you liked best via social media.