A 10-metre giant puppet called MOCCO has been revealed ahead of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival tour from May to July.
The tour will start in Japan's Tohoku region, which suffered significant damage during the Great East Japan earthquake, before ending in Tokyo.
Known as "Rediscover Tohoku - MOCCO's journey from Tohoku", the tour will be one of three main programmes of the Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival
Organisers are hosting the Festival in celebration of the rearranged Games this year with part of the aim supporting recovery efforts in affected regions in Japan.
With less than 50 days to go before the tour starts in the Iwate prefecture, MOCCO was unveiled in its full size, complete with a video performance.
This was filmed in Takamori in Nagano, where the giant puppet was created.
MOCCO was given its name by screenwriter Kankurō Kudō who was inspired by Mocco's Story, a tale written by Japanese comedian and writer Naoki Matayoshi.
Picture book creator Ryoji Arai created the design based on the ideas expressed by children in the Tohoku region, during workshops held in the area.
👀 MOCCO in motion!— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 31, 2021
This 10m giant puppet will make its journey from Tohoku 10 years after the Great East Japan earthquake to bring smiles and happiness to people.
Stay tuned for more to come! 😉
👉 https://t.co/suQqHjSUAo#Tokyo2020 #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/bEvi0CkbP3
Puppeteer Noriyuki Sawa completed the design.
MOCCO will be appear in three locations in Tohoku before arriving in Tokyo.
On May 15, MOCCO is scheduled to be at Takata Matsubara, Tsunami Reconstruction Memorial Park in Iwate, before heading to Millennium Hope Hills in Ainokama Park in Miyagi on May 22.
The final leg in Tohoku is set for May 29 at the Hibarigahara Festival Site in Fukushima.
A final display of MOCCO is set to take place on July 17 at the Shinjuku Gyoen Landscaped Gardens in Tokyo.
The festival programme will take place with COVID-19 measures in place.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing both in Japan and worldwide," said Satoshi Kutsuna of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, who is also the medical director for the festival.
"We will strive to ensure that it does not impact the programme and that the people will be able to enjoy watching MOCCO's performances safely."
At the Tokyo event, MOCCO will perform as part of a collaboration with the Tohoku Kizuna Festival, which was initially launched in 2011 to mourn the deaths caused by the earthquake.
A total of 15,899 people died during the earthquake, which caused a tsunami and also resulted in a nuclear power plant melting down.
The festival was due to take place in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced its postponement to 2021, along with the Olympics and Paralympics themselves.