New details of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 torch have been revealed by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka. With the arrival of the cherry blossom season next month, Japan will see the Olympic torch, bearing the motif of the beloved sakura, across the country.
Resembling the petals of Japan’s emblematic flower, the head of the 71cm rose-gold torch opens into five separate flames that, when combined, give off a more brilliant light called the “Path of Hope”. To ensure the torch stays alight, the combustible part which lights the torch features two combustion mechanisms: a high calorific blue flame and a flameless mechanism that supports the red flame of the torch.
To construct a strong yet lightweight structure, Yoshioka has employed an aluminium extrusion technique used in the production of the shinkansen bullet train to make the torch. The aluminium was sourced from construction waste from temporary housing used in the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
The torch relay, which traditionally opens the game, will see different torchbearers including athletes and citizens running in succession to the National Stadium in Tokyo designed by Kengo Kuma.
The relay is due to begin in Fukushima Prefecture on March 26, and pass through all 47 prefectures in the country over 121 days before the official opening on July 24.
“The polyhedral shape of a cherry blossom reflects sunlight from different angles when the torchbearers are running with it,” said Yoshioka in an interview with dezeen magazine.
“What I want to show in my work is not some keywords that make you imagine a stereotypical Japan… Rather than that, I want to reflect the perception of Japanese tradition that’s in the innermost part of Japanese people,” the designer quipped.
Yoshioka’s design is a timely reminder for people to reflect on their consumption and be mindful of the environmental impact they leave behind.