Since the Tokyo Olympics are held without spectators, the volunteers have less to do than expected. So the Nippon Foundation’s Volunteer Support Center decided to organize a project that would bring together more than 1,300 people to sing the national anthems of all participating national teams, and post videos online to encourage the athletes.
More than 1300 participants sing online
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which were delayed by a year due to Covid-19, have finally been postponed. But the pandemic initially forced the organizers to ban all fans from outside, and earlier this summer it was also decided that almost all competitions would be held without spectators at all.
The Nippon Foundation’s Volunteer Support Center, which was set up to train and host events for volunteers at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, wanted to organize something innovative to allow them to send messages to overseas fans who couldn’t be on site to encourage the athletes. The result is the project screaming for one Host and share online concerts of the national anthems and official songs of the 204 competing teams.
The initial goal was to bring together the Games’ volunteers and those from the city (a second group formed to help visitors find their way in Tokyo and obtain tourist information about local events) to sing these songs. The project then spread from volunteers to their families and friends, and then to schools and businesses across Japan. In the end, more than 1,300 people, from children to the elderly, applied to participate in these online concerts.
King Records, the Tokyo Philharmonic Choir, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and other organizations have come together to help produce the videos for dissemination. The result can be seen at the link above: 204 concerts, with songs for each team participating in this year’s Olympics.
Each video features six singers (or a small group of singers) filming their own performance. Some of them are foreign nationals who sing the anthem of their country, others are friends or family of a resident of the respective homeland. Or it could be that many volunteers simply appreciate a particular country and decide to support it.
Avari Chong, a New Zealand volunteer who now resides in Tokyo, says: “I love Japan and that is why I decided to apply to be part of the team singing the Japanese anthem. Kimi Ja Yoo. I wore a yukata For my look in this video. I’ve listened to this hymn many times before, but this was my first attempt at singing it, and by researching the meaning of the lyrics, I was able to learn new things about the country. “
Resident Japanese Tokita Akihiro participated in the singing of the Saudi national anthem. “I’ve been in this area for 25 years for my job,” he says. I have always found the Saudis to be very welcoming, and I have always had help from them. I wanted to be a part of this project to express my gratitude to them for this quarter of a century that I have been with them. I have to admit it was a bit awkward for me to film myself singing on my own, so I uploaded a video with my wife and daughter involved! “
A spokesperson for the Volunteer Support Center said: “Games are taking place now, and big competitions are held every day. We hope that people who enjoy these activities from the comfort of their homes will cheer for the teams from different countries by singing the national anthems with us.”
From July 30 to August 29, the center also offers virtual tours organized by cast. Available online in both Japanese and English, these tours offer curious people from all over the world a chance to experience the magic of Tokyo with volunteer guides. Many people won’t be able to attend this year’s Olympics, but they can still view the virtual tour schedule by clicking the link above and subscribing to the tours that catch their eye.
(Banner image: Screenshot from the Yell for One Project website showing several participants. All images are owned by the Nippon Foundation Volunteer Support Center.)
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