Tokyo Olympics Begin: 10 Interesting Facts About Japan

July 27, 2021
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After a tumultuous 2020, the postponed Tokyo Olympics have finally begun.

Japan has a long history with the Olympic Games; it is the only Asian country to have hosted the Summer Games twice.

Smalltallk has compiled a list of Olympic trivia to help you get into the spirit of the games.

1) A warmer climate

The first Olympic Games were held in Tokyo in 1964. The Games were then held in October, when the weather was more pleasant than in July and August, when the city is more humid and hot.

2) The Olympics have arrived in Asia.

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 1964 were the first to be held in Asia. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be the country’s fourth, making Tokyo the only Asian city to host the Summer Games twice.

Author of book on 1964 Olympics sees parallels in Tokyo 2020's struggles |  The Japan Times

3) World War II cancels the 1940 Olympics

Tokyo was pushed as the host city for the 1940 Olympics in 1936, but it was deferred owing to World War II. The Games were eventually canceled.

4) There are four new sports.

Karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing will all make their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Baseball and softball, which have not competed in the Olympics since 2008, are making a comeback this year.

5) Japan’s 47 prefectures and a stadium designed to seem like a living tree

Both the exterior and interior of the stadium are made of wood. The wood is sourced from all 47 of Japan’s prefectures as an ode to the country. The architect described the structure as a “living tree,” designed to maximize the breeze flowing through the stadium and reduce reliance on air conditioning.

6) Items that can be recycled

All podiums, uniforms, and awards are created from recycled materials. Even the Olympic Village beds are made of cardboard and will be recycled after the Games.

Tokyo Olympics 2021: The Tokyo Olympics medal table after day three: Monday  brings Team GB's first golds | Marca

7) Medals made from discarded electronics

People in Japan were asked to donate their old electronics, such as cellphones, to help fund the production of Olympic and Paralympic medals.

8) The Torch and the Trains

The flame used in the Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay is designed to mimic cherry blossoms, a well-known Japanese symbol. The relay began this year in March to coincide with the cherry blossom season and has traveled throughout Japan. The torch is constructed from a single sheet of metal using the same advanced technology as is used to manufacture shinkansen trains.

9) Student-created mascots

The Olympic and Paralympic mascots were chosen by a public vote of 16,769 elementary school students. Miraitowa, the Olympic mascot, is created in the traditional Japanese indigo blue. The Paralympic mascot, on the other hand, is called Someity and is dressed in the same pink as Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms.

10) The total number of medals

Japan has earned 439 medals in 22 Summer Olympics, including 41 at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games, the country’s highest medal total to date. 12 of the 41 medals were gold, setting a new high for Japan. Japan, on the other hand, has only won 58 medals in all from previous Winter Games.

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