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Tokyo 2020

All you need to know about Tokyo Olympics torch relay ceremony— Date, schedule, route, participants

Ever wondered why every Olympics Game starts with a torch relay? Here's everything you need to know.

Torch relay for Tokyo Olympics (Source: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/Getty Images)

Torch relay for Tokyo Olympics (Source: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/Getty Images)


Yuvraj Kandathil

Updated: 20 July 2021 6:25 AM GMT

The Olympic torch relay is the ceremonial relaying of the Olympic flame from Olympia, Greece, to the site of an Olympic Games. It was first performed at the 1936 Summer Olympics and has taken place prior to every game since.

The torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics has been devoted as a commemoration for all the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, the disaster which occurred 10 years ago. Hence the patronage spirited by the torch relay event carries out the concept of "Hope Lights Our Way".

The torch relay will commence on March 25 at the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima, and as planned it shall roll past 47 prefectures across the country. As per the schedule, the torch relay will be spanned over 121 days and end in Tokyo on July 9. The cauldron at the Olympics Stadium will be lit on July 23, almost 5 months away from the start date of March 25.

The Olympic flame was set ablaze on March 12, 2020, at Olympia, Greece and was later transported to Japan by the special means of a "Tokyo 2020 Go" jet.

Who will be the torch bearers?

A handpicked batch of 47 influential personalities has been chosen to carry out the torch rally through the 47 prefectures in Japan. Among this year's torchbearers are surfer and lifeguard Sato Hiroshi, Chinese woman Hou Jiayi, Japanese-Brazilian Noguchi Bruna, and university student Shimazaki Nanami.

The Olympic torch in Japan

You can find more information about all the torchbearers from the official Tokyo Olympics Website.

What is the history behind the Olympic torch relay?

The iconic event was set off when a parabolic mirror was kindled to concentrate the daunting rays of the midday sun to commence the fire of the Olympic Flame on July 20, 1936 in Olympia, Greece. Greek runner Konstantinos Kondylis lowered a torch into a flaming cauldron, kept the torch high in his right hand, and jogged the epic 12-day overland relay to Berlin, the host city of the 1936 Olympics. The spectacle was a reenactment of an ancient Greek custom. The Olympic torch relay was originally a display of contemporary political theatre organised and funded by Nazi Germany.

In the ancient Olympics, the Greeks used a ceremonial fire, but they never had a torchbearer relay to start the games. Carl Diem, the Chief Organiser of the Berlin Games, conceptualised the torch relay procession of 3,000 runners from the origin of the classic Olympics to the Berlin Olympic Stadium for the XI Olympiad's inauguration.

Read further about Torch Relay history in the link attached.

What is the torch relay route for Tokyo Olympics?

The torch flame shall be relayed across the lands of Japan in a course-full as depicted below. You may find the dates and names of the places, where the torch is to be carried through, right below.

Fukushima (25-27 March) - Tochigi (28-29 March) - Gunma (30-31 March) - Nagano (1-2 April) - Gifu (3-4 April) - Aichi (5-6 April) - Mie (7-8 April) - Wakayama (9-10 April) - Nara (11-12 April) - Osaka (13-4 April) - Tokushima (15-16 April) - Kagawa (17018 April) - Kozhi (19-20 April) - Ehime (21-22 April) - Oita (23-24 April) - Miyazaki (25-26 April) - Kogoshima (27-28 April) - Okinawa (1-2 May) - Kumamoto (5-6 May) - Nagasaki (7-8 May) - Safa (9-10 May) - Fukuoka (11-12 May) - Yamaguchi (13-14 May) - Shimane (15-16 May) - Hiroshima (17-18 May) - Okayama (19-20 May) - Tottori (21-22 May) - Hoyogo (23-24 May) - Kyoto (25-26 May) - Shiga (27-28 May) - Fukui (29-30 May) - Ishikawa (31 May- 1 June) - Toyama (2-3 June) - Niigata (4-5 June) - Yamagata (6-7 June) - Akita (8-9 June) - Aomori (10-11 June) - Hokkaido (13-14 June) - Iwate (16-18 June) - Miyagi (19-21 June) - Shizuoka (23-25 June) - Yamanashi (26-27 June) - Kanagawa (28-30 June) - Chiba (1-3 July) - Ibaraki (4-5 July) - Saitama (6-8 July) - Tokyo (9-23 July)

Who are the torch relay ambassadors?

Like any other occasion demands publicity and encouraging more viewership always tags along with influential and homegrown celebs. As pfficials ambassadors of the Tokyo 2020 Torch relay, the below-mentioned characters are expected to lure massive crowds.

Sandwich Man - Comedy duo from Miyagi Prefecture

Satomi Ishihara - Actress from Tokyo

Aki Taguchi - Paralympian from Osaka

Tadahiro Nomura - Olympian from Nara prefecture

Akihiko Hoshide - JAXA Astronaut

Soichi Noguchi - JAXA Astronaut

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