The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) unveiled photos and video footage of the MOCCO 10m giant puppet that will make appearances during a tour from three prefectures in Japan’s Tohoku region, which suffered significant damage and loss of life during the Great East Japan Earthquake, to downtown Tokyo, between mid-May and mid-July.
The tour, officially named “Rediscover Tohoku — MOCCO’s journey from Tohoku to Tokyo — Presented by ENEOS,” will be one of the three main programmes of the Tokyo 2020 NIPPON Festival, which Tokyo 2020 is organising in celebration of this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. Supporting the recovery efforts of the affected regions in Japan is one of Tokyo 2020’s guiding principles. Further details of MOCCO’s tour are included in this announcement.
Ever since MOCCO’s design was revealed in May 2019, the actual puppet has been purposely shrouded in mystery and intrigue. With less than 50 days to go before the tour’s first event in Iwate Prefecture, Tohoku, Tokyo 2020 has now unveiled the full-size MOCCO with a frontal photo and a video performance — the first viewing of MOCCO in motion — filmed in Takamori, Nagano prefecture, where the giant puppet was created. MOCCO will be executing more dynamic and smooth movements during the tour.
MOCCO, whose name was given by screenwriter KUDO Kankuro, was inspired by “MOCCO’s Story,” a tale written by Japanese comedian and writer MATAYOSHI Naoki. Picture book creator ARAI Ryoji created the design based on the imaginative ideas expressed by children from the Tohoku region during workshops held in the region.Globetrotting puppeteer SAWA Noriyuki refined the design into a finished work.
MOCCO will make its journey from Tohoku to Tokyo ten years after the Great East Japan Earthquake. It will connect Tohoku to Tokyo and build ties among people during the journey, aiming to increase interest in Tohoku and encourage people to visit the region. MOCCO will keep walking with memories of the past, in order to bring smiles and happiness to people and to unite them together once again.
Details of MOCCO’s tour
MOCCO will appear at three locations in Tohoku and one in Tokyo.
• Saturday 15 May, in Takata Matsubara, Tsunami Reconstruction Memorial Park, Iwate prefecture
• Saturday 22 May, in Millennium Hope Hills, Ainokama Park, Miyagi prefecture
• Saturday 29 May, in Hibarigahara Festival Site, Fukushima prefecture
At these events in the Tohoku region, local cultural organisations will give performances and introduce distinctive aspects of Tohoku culture. To ensure the safety of visitors as well as the local community, attendance, which will be free, will be managed by means of advanced registration.
• Saturday 17 July, in Shinjuku Gyoen Landscaped Gardens, Tokyo
In Tokyo, during the final event of the tour, MOCCO will perform in Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens as part of a collaboration between Tokyo 2020 and the organisers of the Tohoku Kizuna Festival. “Kizuna” means “bonds” in Japanese, and the festival was originally launched in 2011 to mourn the souls of the many victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and to raise hope for the region’s recovery. The festival is a combination of six representative summer festivals held annually in Tohoku: the Aomori Nebuta Festival, the Akita Kanto Festival, the Morioka Sansa Dance, the Yamagata Hanagasa Festival, the Sendai Tanabata Festival, and the Fukushima Waraji Festival. The Tohoku Kizuna Festival, which took its current name in 2017, aims to unite the minds and hearts of the Tohoku people and become a symbol of the region’s recovery.
In addition, a selection of popular Japanese singers will perform an original song composed with lyrics based on messages of “thoughts for Tohoku’s recovery” received from members of the general public.