Tokyo 2020 Announces Key Creative Figures for Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Tokyo, July 30, 2018: The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) announced today the creative directors who will work on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Mansai Nomura, an acclaimed kyogen actor, has been appointed the Chief Executive Creative Director and will oversee all four ceremonies – the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games and the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Games.

While being one of Japan’s leading traditional stage comedy and film actors, Nomura has produced and directed contemporary performances both in Japan and overseas.

His rich experience and knowledge of both classical and modern Japanese arts were among the reasons for the 12-member selection committee’s decision.

Takashi Yamazaki, an award-winning movie director, has been appointed the Executive Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, and Hiroshi Sasaki, most known for his role as Creative Supervisor of the handover ceremony at the Rio 2016 Games Closing Ceremonies, was named the Executive Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Paralympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 also announced the Basic Plan for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, in which the narrative structure of the four ceremonies is laid out.

Chief Executive Creative Director Nomura will be in charge of creating and ensuring the overall theme is integrated.

Five others were selected as Creative Directors for the Tokyo 2020 Games ceremonies, including movie producer and writer Genki Kawamura, creative producer Yoshie Kurisu, singer-songwriter Sheena Ringo, creative technologist Kaoru Sugano and choreographer MIKIKO.

These directors will be joined in creative roles by others from a variety of backgrounds.

Please see attached more information about the Basic Plan for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and biographies of Nomura, Yamazaki and Sasaki.

BIOGRAPHIES creative directors

Mansai Nomura II Chief Executive Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paraympic Games Tokyo 2020/creative directors

Born in 1966, Mansai Nomura is a renowned kyogen and noh actor as well as a director.

Nomura holds the distinction of having been designated as a custodian and practitioner of Nohgaku (a general term for noh and kyogen) an Important Intangible Cultural Property and the oldest existing style of theatre performance, established in the year 650 AD.

Born into the Nomura family which has 250 years of history in kyogen performance, he studied under his father Mansaku II and his late grandfather Manzo VI (both designated as Living National Treasures), making his stage debut at three years of age.

His acclaimed stage performances go far beyond those of traditional kyogen and noh, however.

He also performed leading roles in various contemporary plays, films and TV dramas.

While demonstrating his talents in direction and composition, he has contributed significantly to raising awareness of kyogen.

His search for Japanese identity through works in which ideas and techniques of Japanese classical performing arts are used is well known at home and abroad.

He has been the Artistic Director of the Setagaya Public Theatre since 2002, and he received the National Arts Festival New Artist Award and the Ministry of Education’s Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists.

Major works composed and directed by Mansai Nomura:

– Yabu no Naka (In a Thicket) originally written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Nomura earned the National Arts Festival New Artist Award.

– Machigai no Kyogen (The Kyogen of Errors), adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Performed in London, San Francisco and New Jersey.

– Sangetsuki and Meijinden (The Moon Over the Mountain) originally written by Atsushi Nakajima. Nomura earned the Asahi Performing Arts Award, Kinokuniya Theatre Award, among others.

– Macbeth, originally written by Shakespeare. Performed New York, Paris, Seoul and Sibiu. – Shigosen no Matsuri (The Dirge of the Meridian) written by Kinoshita Junji.

– Oedipus, directed by Yukio Ninagawa.

Nomura performed the lead role and was named best actor at the Yomiuri Theater Awards.

– Hamlet, directed by Jonathan Kent.

Nomura performed the lead role.

– Bedge Pardon by Koki Mitani. Nomura performed the lead role.

– Yabuhara Kengyo (Yabuhara, The Blind Master Minstrel) by Tamiya Kuriyama. Nomura performed the lead role.

Films in which Manasi Nomura has performed:

– Ran by Akira Kurosawa.

– Onmyoji by Yohjiro Takita. Nomura performed the lead role. He won a Blue Ribbon Award, Japan Academy Prize, among others.

– The Floating Castle by Isshin Inudo and Masatsugu Higuchi.

Nomura performed the lead role. He won a Japan Academy Prize

– Shin Gojira (Godzilla Resurgence) by Hideaki Anno. Nomura portrayed Godzilla through motion capture technology.

– Kaze tachinu (The Wind Rises) by Hayao Miyazaki. Nomura provides the voice of Caproni.

Regular appearance on Nihongo de asobo (Let’s play with Japanese) a children’s educational TV series broadcast by Japan’s national broadcaster NHK since 2003.

Takashi Yamazaki Executive Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 / creative directors

Born in 1964, Yamazaki chose to become a special effects professional after being heavily influenced by the films Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

After graduating from Asagaya College of Art and Design, he entered Shirogumi Inc. in 1986.

In charge of special effects and digital synthesis in the works of film director Juzo Itami – such as The Last Dance (1993) and A Quiet Life (1995) – Yamazaki’s first directed work was Juvenile (2000).

He became a leader in the field of video expression and special effects, using cutting-edge computergenerated visuals.

His third work, Always – Sunset on Third Street (2005), was awarded the 29th Japanese Academy Award for Best Work and two sequels followed.

The Eternal Zero (2013) and a 3D CG animation Stand by Me Doraemon (2014) were awarded the 38th Academy Award for Best Picture Award and Best Animation Award, respectively.

He is currently producing The Great War of Archimedes which will be released in the summer of 2019.


• Juvenile (2000)
• Returner (2002)
• Always – Sunset on Third Street (2005)
• Ballad (2009) – Space Battleship Yamato (2010)
• Friends: Naki on Monster Island (2011)
• Always: Sunset on Third Street 3 (2012)
• The Eternal Zero (2013) – Stand by Me Doraemon (2014)
• Parasyte: Part 1 (2014) – Parasyte: Part 2 (2015)
• Fueled: The Man They Called Pirate (2016)
• Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura (2017)

Hiroshi Sasaki/creative directors

Executive Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Born in 1954, Sasaki is one of the leading creative figures in Japan’s advertising industry.

As a creative supervisor, he was in charge of the flag handover ceremony portion of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony in which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe famously appeared dressed as Mario of Nintendo console game fame.

He has also handled advertising campaigns for major Japanese firms including Softbank, Suntory, Toyota, Central Japan Railway, Fujifilm, Nisshin Foods, Shiseido and All Nippon Airways.

For over thirty years, he has been involved in hugely successful large-scale marketing campaigns, with his innovative and groundbreaking advertisements impacting entire industries.

Recently he created the graphic direction of the Tokyo International Film Festival and he also brought together a group of celebrities for a musical tribute that raised money for those affected by the catastrophic earthquake that struck the Tohoku region in 2011.

After graduating from the Faculty of Law at Keiō University in Tokyo, he entered major advertising agency Dentsu in 1977 before establishing Shingata, his own creative agency, in 2003. —- tokyo2020

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