Tokyo Olympics: 10 interesting facts to know about Japan as the Games begin

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, July 23, 2021, 03:38 PM IST
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The Olympic mascot, known as Miraitowa, is designed with the classic Japanese indigo blue. The Paralympic mascot, on the other hand, is known as Someity, which features the same pink as Japan's famous cherry blossoms |

After a topsy-turvy 2020, the postponed Tokyo Olympics are now finally underway.

Japan has had a long history with the Olympic Games; It is the only Asian country to host the Summer Games twice in its history.

Here's a list of Olympic trivia to help you get into the sporting spirit as listed by timeout.com

1) Hotter climate

The first Olympic Games in Tokyo took place in 1964. The Games then were held in October when the weather was more favourable compared to the July-August period when the city is more humid and hot.

2) Olympics enter Asia

The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo marked the very first Games held in Asia. The Tokyo 2020 Games will be the fourth Olympics held in Japan – this makes Tokyo the only Asian city to host the Summer Games twice.

3) World War II swallows 1940 Olympics

In 1936, Tokyo was promoted as the host for the 1940 Olympics but it was rescheduled due to World War II. The Games were ultimately abandoned.

4) Four new sports

Four new Olympic sports will make their debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. Baseball and softball, which have been absent from the Olympics since 2008, are making a comeback at this year’s Games.

5) Japan's 47 prefectures and a stadium like a living tree

The stadium features wood on both the exterior and interior. As an ode to Japan, the wood is sourced from all of Japan's 47 prefectures. The architect has described the structure as a 'living tree', built in a way to maximise the breeze flowing through the stadium in order to rely less on air conditioning.

6) Recyclable items

Items such as podiums, uniforms and medals are all made from recycled materials. Even the beds at the Olympic Village are made from cardboard, which will be recycled after the Games.

7) Medals from disused electronics

People in Japan were asked to donate their disused electronics such as mobile phones to contribute to the production of the Olympics and Paralympics medals.

8) Torch and Trains

The torch used for the Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay resembles cherry blossoms – a renowned symbol of Japan. The relay began in March this year to coincide with the cherry blossom season and has travelled all across Japan. The torch is made from a single sheet of metal using the same advanced technology that produces the shinkansen trains.

9) Mascots by students

The Olympic and Paralympic mascots were chosen by 16,769 elementary school children who voted on their favourite designs. The Olympic mascot, known as Miraitowa, is designed with the classic Japanese indigo blue. The Paralympic mascot, on the other hand, is known as Someity, which features the same pink as Japan's famous cherry blossoms.

10) Number of medals

Over the course of 22 Summer Olympics, Japan has won 439 medals, including 41 at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games, which was the highest medal count for the country so far. Of the 41 medals, 12 were gold, setting another record high for Japan. On the other hand, Japan has won just 58 medals in total from all previous Winter Games.

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