By Jack Tarrant
TOKYO (Reuters) – The torch design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was unveiled on Wednesday, exactly a year before the flame is due to arrive in Japan from Greece.
The theme of the pink gold torch centres on ‘sakura’ or cherry blossom in Japan, which arrives every spring to much fanfare, and it was designed with input from children from the areas most severely damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Designer Tokujin Yoshioka said he was inspired to create the torch, which features five sakura petals cut into its head to mirror the five Olympic rings, following a visit to an elementary school in Fukushima.
“I was very impressed with the powerful expression in the cherry blossoms drawn by kids in this area,” Yoshioka said at the unveiling ceremony in Tokyo. “They are trying to overcome challenges and trying to move forward.
“I wanted to share that with the world.”
The theme of the Tokyo Games is reconstruction from the 2011 disaster and the torch relay will begin in Miyagi prefecture – another area deeply affected – on March 20 next year.
The full route is yet to be disclosed.
The 1.2 kilogram torch is made from aluminium, 30 percent of which has been salvaged from the temporary housing built in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)