Watch: the amazing blue human pictograms at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

This amusing performance stole the show with a fast-paced reenactment of 50 pictograms across 33 Olympic sports

Lim Chee Wah
Written by
Lim Chee Wah

At long last, the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have begun. The world's most iconic sporting competition kickstarted the proceedings with a subdued but moving opening ceremony on Friday night (July 23 2021). The event saw a tribute to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. It also brought a few jaw-dropping moments like the stunning drone formation and this super cool pantomime depicting the 50 Olympic sport pictograms.

The fast-paced pantomine sketch was an ingenious idea. It was witty, funny and provided some comic relief to the opening ceremony. The piece was performed by Hiro-Pon, a Japanese silent comedy artist from the award-winning comedy performance group Gamarjobat. He was supported by comedy duo Masa and Hitoshi (Gabez) in a tight and energetic choreography featuring 50 pictograms across 33 Olympic sports. (Here's a video, with sound, of the opening ceremony performance on NHK's YouTube page.)

Fun fact: pictograms were first introduced at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The designers created a set of stylised graphics to transcend language barriers and communicate effectively without confusion. It's heartwarming to see how the pictograms have evolved since then – they've now come alive at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This pantomime interpretation of the pictograms also reminded us of Japan's famously weird and wonderful TV game shows.

For more memorable moments from the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, see our photo feature here.

More on Tokyo Olympics

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics online for free

15 things to know about Japan at the Olympics

How to enjoy the Tokyo Olympics even when you can’t watch the Games in person

6 Olympic venues you should visit in Tokyo

Where to get official Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic merchandise in Tokyo

Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.

More on Time In

    You may also like
    You may also like