Without spectators at the Tokyo 2020 games, volunteers have less to do than initially planned. The Nippon Foundation Volunteer Support Center organized a project that brought together over 1,300 people to sing the anthems of all participating national teams, posting the videos online to cheer on the athletes.
1,300 people sing online
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, postponed for a year due to COVID-19, are now underway, but that same pandemic has forced decisions to ban all overseas spectators and, earlier this summer, d ‘organize almost all events without live spectators from inside Japan as well.
The Nippon Foundation Volunteer Support Center, started to train and organize events for volunteers helping at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, decided that something needed to be done so that these helpers could send messages to overseas fans unable to cope. ” attend events and cheer on athletes during their competition. The result was the Shout for a project: the creation and online sharing of the performances of the national anthems and the official songs of the flags of the 204 teams participating in the games.
The initial goal of this project was to have the games volunteers sing these songs and the city volunteers, a second group tasked with helping visitors navigate Tokyo and get the tourist or event information they needed. . The effort extended from the volunteers themselves to their families and friends, to schools and businesses in Japan. In the end, more than 1,300 people, from children to seniors, registered to participate in the performances.
The King Records recording company, the Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and other organizations came together to help produce the videos for download. The results can be seen on the page linked above: 204 videos, with songs for each team participating in the summer games this year.
Sing with gratitude
Each video features six singers (or small groups of singers) who filmed themselves performing the songs. Some of them are foreign nationals singing the anthem of their own country, while others are people who have friends or relatives living in the country in question, or who simply love it and have chosen to support him for this reason.
Avari Chung, a New Zealand volunteer now living in Tokyo, says, “I love Japan so I applied to be part of the team singing ‘Kimigayo’. I wore a yukata for my video appearance. I had heard the anthem many times before, but this was my first time singing it, and as I searched for the meaning of its lyrics, I was able to learn even more about this country.
Japanese national Tokita Akihiro helped sing the Saudi national anthem. “I spent 25 years in the country for work,” he says. “I have always found the Saudis to be very friendly and they were always helping me. I wanted to participate in this project to express my gratitude to them for this quarter of a century of my life. I have to admit, however, that I was embarrassed to send a video of myself singing alone, so I asked my wife and daughter to participate with me!
A spokesperson for the Volunteer Support Center said, “The games are underway right now, with incredible competition taking place every day. We hope people who enjoy the home action will sing along with these videos while cheering on the national teams. “
From July 30 to August 29, the center also offers Virtual tours of the city distribution. Available in Japanese and English, these live online tours give people around the world a chance to sample the charms of Tokyo with volunteer guides. People can miss the Olympic action in person, but they can check out the tour menu at the link above and sign up for tours that grab their attention.
(Originally written in Japanese. Banner photo: An image from the Yell for One Project website shows some of the many participants. All images courtesy of the Nippon Foundation Volunteer Support Center.)