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The Tokyo Olympics' Somber Opening Ceremony Was Saved-Barely-by the Athletes

Posted On: Oct 21, 2021   |   Posted By: Time

The Tokyo Olympics' Somber Opening Ceremony Was Saved-Barely-by the Athletes

The typical 21st-century Olympics opening ceremony is a lot. Nine years ago in London, Daniel Craig appeared to parachute into the stadium with Queen Elizabeth II as the James Bond theme blared. The 2008 Beijing ceremony enlisted 15,000 performers. Sydney 2000 had giant glowing jellyfish. It's not hard to imagine Japan-land of Studio Ghibli and avant-garde street style , Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Nintendo, Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami -one-upping its predecessors with an even more elaborate, colorful pop spectacle. Yet the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games (which we are still, confusingly, referring to with the year 2020) opened on a far more somber, muted note.

A different, older aesthetic that we associate with Japan predominated at Friday's ceremony: minimalism. And with good reason. The crowds of athletes, performers and audience members in attendance were all greatly diminished due to COVID-19, as Tokyo faces a terrifying surge and the Delta variant spreads kudzu-like around...

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