Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared as Super Mario during the Olympic closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
On Thursday, October 31, 2016, the Forum on Sport and Culture was held at the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi, Tokyo and the sentiments of the event were that in the coming years, Japan will reach a new level of internationalism. The event continues the trend that we saw begin at the end of the Rio Olympics, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, arose out of a giant tube, dressed as famed Nintendo Character, Mario, and greeted the world to experience Japan’s take on global athleticism.
Historically, this island nation has been shy in building ties with the world beyond its borders. Now, more than ever, Japan is foregoing its history of solitude and embracing engagement with the international community. Within the next 4 years, Japan will be holding both the Olympic and Paralympic games, which are bound to draw countless travelers to the island nation, as well as make Japan the center of world focus. Furthermore, Japan is expanding its reach into sectors never once expected, because in 2019, Japan will play host to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. This is the first time the event will be held outside of a “core” rugby nation.
The event was opened with a message from Japanese Prime minister, Shinzo Abe, duting which he expressed his desire to see sports and culture used in tandem, to spread a “new dream of joy and hope” around the globe. The Abe address was followed by a speech by the President of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Yoshiro Mori. Mori expressed that “Legacy is one of the most important aspects of sports” and that he sees sports as “something that can change people and it can also change the world”. Furthermore, due to the profound impact sports can have on people, he emphasized that all “children should have access to sports.” It is clear that Japan is steadfast in using sports to create a stronger connection with the world and working for the benefit of changing people’s lives.