Mansai Nomura, the famous Japanese kyogen actor, has been named chief executive creative director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for both the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Nomura is best known for his performances on stage and in film as an actor, but has also produced and directed performances both in Japan and overseas.
Works directed by him include a Japanese adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and Yabu no Naka, for which he earned the National Arts Festival New Artist Award.
He has also starred in films including Ran, Onmyoji, for which he won a blue-ribbon award and Japan Academy prize, and The Floating Castle, for which he won another Japan Academy Prize.
Tokyo 2020 name creative directors for Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies
He has since won the Japan Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Animation for two films in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
They were The Eternal Zoo and Stand By Me Doraemon.
Hiroshi Sasaki, meanwhile, is described by Tokyo 2020 as "one of the leading creative figures in Japan’s advertising industry".
The 64-year-old, who will now help create the Paralympic Ceremonies, oversaw the flag handover ceremony at the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro in which Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe appeared dressed as Mario of Nintendo console game fame.
Sasaki has also handled major advertising campaigns for Japanese firms including Softbank, Suntory, Toyota and Fujifilm.
He also recently helped bring together a number of different Japanese celebrities for a charity music event raising money for victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.
Also named on the team of creative directors is film producer and writer Genki Kawamura, creative producer Yoshie Kurisu, singer-songwriter Sheena Ringo, creative technologist Kaoru Sugano and choreographer MIKIKO.