With the 2016 Olympic Games wrapping up in Rio, the next time the summer games happen in 2020, they’ll be held in Tokyo. To receive the metaphorical baton, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and prime minister Shinzo Abe both showed up in Rio, the latter in true Cool Japan fashion: dressed as Nintendo’s own Super Mario.
Abe’s grand entrance, in which he emerged from a green pipe a la Mario, was part of a larger presentation that showcased Tokyo-as-Olympics-site and also featured Captain Tsubasa, Doraemon and Pac-Man.
Ima let you finish but Shinzo Abe had the best entrance of all time pic.twitter.com/uQsQt5SmLI
— Olympic Bun (@Rxbun) August 22, 2016
Newly-minted Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, herself not adverse to some occasional cosplay, then received the Olympic flag.
PM Abe’s super entrance can be seen as further acknowledgement by the government that modern symbols of Japan like Mario are just as well (or better) known around the world as traditional ones like samurai or geisha (though I’d argue using Captain Tsubasa and Doraemon shows how tone-deaf the government can be about exactly which manga characters are actually popular abroad).
Still – can you imagine president Obama appearing at an international event dressed as, say, Captain America?
— Tokyo 2020 (@Tokyo2020) August 22, 2016