To celebrate the arrival of the Olympic flame in April 2021, NTT held an event titled “NTT Presents Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Celebration - CONNECTING WITH HOPE” at Expo '70 Commemorative Park (Suita City, Osaka Pref.). While the event was planned based on ensuring social distancing so that all could fully enjoy the arrival of the Olympic flame in safety, in consideration of the local situation it was held without spectators. However, by combining the energy of the performers with the power of NTT's cutting-edge communications technology, including Kirari! – the ultra-reality viewing telecommunication technology – a new live-stage performance unfolded, with all appearances and action distributed using NTT’s communications technology, enabling many people to enjoy it remotely.
Opening the stage was the NTT 2020 Special Dance. EXILE ÜSA and EXILE TETSUYA appeared on stage with elementary and junior high school students from Matsubara City, Osaka Prefecture, in collaboration with junior high school dancers from Mashiki Town and Nishihara Village, Kumamoto Prefecture, co-starred via remote video in consideration of the situation in Osaka. Big smiles were seen all-round despite this setback.
EXILE ÜSA and EXILE TETSUYA with co-stars elementary and junior high school students in Matsubara City, Osaka Prefecture
Junior high school dancers from Mashiki Town and Nishihara Village, Kumamoto Prefecture, who participated via video
Next up, Yuki Ota, Chairman of the of Japan Fencing Federation and Silver Medalist of fencing at the Olympic Games London 2012, appeared as torchbearer. Numerous "display bots" controlled through communication technology projected impressive images in real time accompanying the torch kiss, adding a burst of color to the Torch Relay.
Yuki Ota receives the flame, surrounded by display bots in front of the Tower of the Sun
The moment of lighting the sacred flame on the Olympic Cauldron
LED wristbands installed on audience seating simultaneously lit up in synch with the lighting pattern, filling the venue with color
Subsequently, EXILE TETSUYA, the final torchbearer who torch-kissed with Yuki Ota, stepped up to the Olympic cauldron and ignited the sacred flame, and the curtain to the celebration lifted. Glowing wristbands (connected LED devices simultaneously lit up in synch with the lighting pattern), originally intended for the audience, were set on each of the audience seats, creating a galaxy of light extending up to 80 meters inside the venue, and also to welcome TETSUYA along with SAMURIZE from EXILE TRIBE (LED dance performance team; hereinafter, SAMURIZE) along with the flag performers. Then, upon TETSUYA climbing the stage to ignite the sacred flame on the cauldron, the colors of the wristband changed vividly, creating the effect of flame spreading throughout the venue.
Various speakers commenting on the Torch Relay
State-of-the-art technology excites the stage while the sacred flame is lit.
Adding to the action on stage was the appearance of the “sphere display,” involving air-born spheres displaying video under guidance of NTT's state-of-the-art telecommunication technology. Floating freely in mid-air they created a striking visual display, which was realized through use of LEDs arranged in rings and spun at high speeds, producing artful effects in color due to the afterimage effect. This was followed by a live performance by calligrapher Soun Takeda, which saw his dynamic strokes instantly converted into CG on the monitor and transformed into various wonderous visuals.
Following the opening performance, to welcome the final torchbearer of the day altogether, the three organizers’ representatives, Yukihiko Nunomura, Deputy Secretary-General of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Nobuhiko Yamaguchi, Deputy Governor of Osaka Prefecture, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation President Mitsuyoshi Kobayashi and Aki Taguchi, official ambassador of the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay, were invited to the stage for a talk session.
Kicking off the exciting finale, “Technology Performance Stage” realized a special collaboration between GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE and NTT’s unique "Kirari!" image extraction technology, which extracts and transmits only the image of people in real-time video, which together created a truly revolutionary and unique experience. It also provided a glimpse, under an environment of restrictions on gathering during the present coronavirus pandemic, of what future remote performances may look like.
The venue at the highpoint of celebrations, amid familiar songs
Since the event at the Osaka venue was held without spectators, a new live multi-angle viewing experience, “REALIVE 360” was delivered in real time to boost online enjoyment. For live broadcasting, both the dedicated website, “DOOR” Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Virtual Support World as well as YouTube LIVE were used, resulting in many people being able to celebrate the arrival of the flame in Osaka together as one, online.
For the celebration event planned for Yokohama on June 30, NTT will take on the challenge through use of technology so that you too may enjoy it in safety in person, or remotely.