The Olympic Torch Relay is underway in Kochi! You can watch every moment of the flame's historic journey to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on 23 July 2021 via the dedicated Tokyo 2020 live stream, as well as following the highlights as they happen via our blog, below.
20 April, 16:20 (JST): Surfers meet torchbearers
Kochi Prefecture, which is known for its long coastline and sandy beaches, has one of the greatest surfing spots in Japan. But this afternoon, this beach in Toyo City became a spot for the torch relay.
As the torchbearers ran on the sand, they greeted local surfers who looked on before hitting the waves.
20 April, 16:20 (JST): Friendly ties
LIN Chenguang is a Chinese-born national who has been living and working in Japan for many years. In his free time, he's been volunteering and participating in various cultural exchanges to promote friendly ties between People's Republic of China and Japan.
Years ago, he became an interpreter between these two countries for an International Culture Forum exchange programme that saw school principals from Japan and China collaborate together successfully. Today, he was able to carry the torch for his country and for his adopted nation Japan.
As a foreigner who is indebted to the country of Japan and the Japanese people, I believe that it is my duty to repay Japan by communicating the appeal of Japan to the world
20 April, 14:50 (JST): Sunny day at Aki coastline
Our lucky torchbearers ran along the Aki coastline, giving that almost-summer is almost here feeling with views of the Pacific Ocean.
20 April, 13:00 (JST): Photo morning ops
There were smiles all around this the morning from our torchbearers from Kochi. Check out the highlights as the torch relay made its way around the Prefecture on this beautiful sunny day!
20 April, 11:10 (JST): Top photographer takes the spotlight in Kochi
This isn't the first time NOMACHI Kazuyoshi has held the Olympic torch in his hands. In fact, he was a torchbearer when he was in high-school during Japan's first Summer Olympic Games in 1964! Now, 57-years on, he is back carrying the flame for his hometown as a celebrated photojournalist.
Nomachi, who is now 74-years-of-age, is well-known for his extensive documentary coverage of Africa, Middle East, People's Republic of China and even the Andes, and his works have been published in magazines and featured in exhibitions both home and abroad.
But it was here in Kochi where he first discovered his passion for photography.
20 April, 09:30 (JST): Japanese Paralympian carries Olympic torch for para sports
Before para archer UEYAMA Tomohiro sets foot at that Paralympic stage in August, he's in Kami City, Kochi Prefecture running with the flame to put a spotlight on Japanese para sports.
Ueyama placed seventh in the recurve event during his Paralympic debut in Rio 2016 but with a home Paralympics inching closer, Ueyama hopes today's run will not only help elevate the sport of para archery in Japan but also encourage people with impairments to continue living their dreams.
By running as a torchbearer this time, I hope to increase the visibility of para-archery, which is a minor sport, and to further expand the fan base.
Did you know that archery first featured in Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 and has been part of the Paralympic programme since 1960? Find out more about para archery here.
20 April, 09:30 (JST): Former highschool baseball player pays homage to his hometown
Nishiyama Hiromu was a high school student when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. As a member of the local baseball club in Kochi at the time, he and his teammates collected old baseball equipment, repaired them and donated them to schools in Tohoku.
Today he is giving back again to this time to his own community by carrying the torch with pride for Kigayama City where he grew up. He pays homage to the beauty of Kochi and to the beautiful people of his beloved hometown. As he carries the Olympic flame, he also sends a message of hope to people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I believe that by overcoming the virus and overcoming these difficulties, we will be able to create an Olympics and a world full of health and smiles.
20 April, 08:30 (JST): Discover the sporting legends who hail from this week's prefectures
This week, the Olympic Torch Relay is scheduled to visit the prefectures of Kochi (today's destination), Ehime and Oita. One of the most famous sportspeople from Kochi is FUJIKAWA Kyuji, the recently-retired Japanese baseball star who plied his trade with the Tigers in the NPL, as well as with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers in the MLB.
To find out more about the athletes who were born and raised in the destinations the flame will travel to over the next five days - including a certain golf star and US Masters winner - read more here.
20 April, 08:20 (JST): Welcome to Nankoku City!
Welcome to the second day of the Olympic Torch Relay in Kochi! Nankoku is famous for its fishing industry that supplies seafood to most of the prefecture. It is also the home of Okō Castle, an ancient structure where the long-celebrated - and feared - warlord MOTOCHIKA Chōsokabe was born in 1539.
From there, the flame will make its way to Kitagawa Village, Kami City, Tano Town, Konan City, Yasuda Town, Aki City, Nahari Town, Muroto City and Toyo Town, before ending the day in Kochi City - the same location in which the Kochi leg of the torch relay began.
You can watch all of the day's action unfold live right here on Tokyo 2020.
19 April, 15:20 (JST): “My next goal is to swim until I’m 100 years old”
Just like the Olympic Games, the Olympic Torch Relay journey is full of inspiring stories and the story of 88-year-old HAYASHI Takashi is one of them.
Five years ago, Hayashi was diagnosed with stomach cancer and he thought it was the end of his swimming career, which had started high school. However, he did not give up — dreaming of breaking the world record at Japan Masters Swimming events.
And he finally made it.
In 2018, while still in the process of his cancer treatment, he won 100m butterfly event of the 85-89 age group at the Japan Masters Swimming competition with a record time of 1:53.17.
Now his goal is to swim until he is 100-years-old.
By taking part in the torch relay, I hope to give courage and hope to the elderly and cancer patients, and to express my gratitude to my family and good rivals who have supported me so far.
Despite 88-year-old HAYASHI Takashi being diagnosed with stomach cancer five years ago, he managed to achieve his goal of setting new world record at Japan Masters Swimming competition.
19 April, 13:20 (JST): Highlights through the lens
Creative “Torch Kiss” poses, historical sites, a colourful torch relay convoy... check out the highlights of this morning as the torch relay makes its way through Kochi!
19 April, 11:35 (JST): Run with a Junior Olympic dream
Fourteen-year-old KURIYAMA Yuna has been dreaming of participating the Jr. Olympic Cup held by JOC since she was a fourth-grader at primary school.
Originally, Kuriyama was an artistic swimmer alongside her older sister, she later found swimming more enjoyable. Despite of the difficulties at training, the joy she brought to her family through medals gives her the motivation to carry on.
Aiming for the Jr. Olympic Cup, to be held this winter, Kuriyama hopes she can further reduce her time by 0.7s.
All the best wishes to Kuriyama!
19 April, 10:15 (JST): All eyes on the beautiful reflection of the Flame
As the Flame goes from Kochi City to the next stop — Ino Town, it travelled in style.
TSUTSUI Yuri, a local activist dedicated to intra-community communication and local revitalisation carried the Flame and boarded a small boat heading to Ino.
Watch the moment when the Flame is beautifully reflected in the limpid and peaceful river!
Tsutsui Yuri carries the Flame and boarded a boat heading to Ino Town.
19 April, 09:40 (JST): Start with a tribute to a legendary samurai
The first leg in Kochi started with a tribute to the legendary samurai SAKAMOTO Ryoma, a central figure in efforts to overthrow the hereditary military dictatorship of Japan over 150 years ago.
Kochi-born celebrity SHIMAZAKI Wakako kicked off the relay under a 13.5m-tall bronze statue of the samurai overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Sakamoto went on to influence principles for modernisation in the Meiji Era and remains as one of Japan's favourite historical figures.
The Olympic flame has set off in Kochi Prefecture with SHIMAZAKI Wakako kicking the journey off under a tribute to legendary samurai.
19 April, 07:40 (JST): Surf's up!
Kochi is known as a surfer's paradise and a place where avid boarders from across Japan gather on the Pacific Ocean beaches in search of the perfect wave.
To get you in the mood for Kochi's beaches and the Olympic surf competition, here's a super-quick guide to the sport.
"One Minute, One Sport" will show you the rules and highlights of Surfing in one minute
19 April, 07:40 (JST): Welcome to Kochi City!
Welcome to the first day of the Olympic Torch Relay in Kochi! The flame begins its journey in Kochi City, home to a beautiful castle that sits atop a hill. The castle was constructed in the early 1600s, following the Battle of Sekigahara and remains one of the most beautiful sites in the prefecture. From there, the flame continues its journey through Ino Town, Tosa City, Susaki City, Yusuhara Town, Shimanto Town, Shimanto City and Tosashimizu City, before ending the day in Sukumo City.
You can watch all of the day's action unfold live right here on Tokyo 2020.