2020 · Cultural Olympiad · Tokyo 2020

Tokyo’s Other Olympiad

While the Tokyo government is proposing some pretty hefty changes to some venues for 2020, another element of its hosting duties recently kicked off: The Cultural Olympiad.

For about the next four years, the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo and Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. are going to present a bunch of cultural events to showcase the area’s artistry to the world. This is tied in with the IOC’s Olympic Charter that says one of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism is that sport can’t exist all on its own. No, Olympism combines sport with culture and education. Sounds like a lofty principle created by a gentleman, right?

Regardless, the Olympics aren’t supposed to just be about athletes. It’s supposed to remind us to be well-rounded, and a multi-year cultural program can provide exposure to the arts in a way that the IOC would applaud (also, in thinking about being an Olympic host city, it’s another cost that one may not really realize when one thinks about hosting the Olympics).

At any rate, look to Tokyo to produce some interesting events. The kickoff tipped its cap to the roots of Japanese culture with a Sanbaso dance, a historical tradition of Noh and kyogen that’s hundreds of years old, with cherry blossom petals that rained down across the audience.

Not all events will be steeped in history, so it will be interesting to see what’s up Tokyo’s cultural sleeve that fills out our program for Olympism in 2020.