National

Tokyo Paralympic Games get a cherry blossom torch with new color and braille text

Kyodo

The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Games has unveiled the Paralympic version of the official torch, which uses the braille alphabet and differs from the Olympic torch in color.

Both the Paralympic and Olympic torches for next year’s games make use of Japan’s iconic “sakura” cherry blossoms in their design.

This is to suggest a sense of hope that aligns with the theme of the Olympics and Paralympics as spotlighting the Tohoku region’s reconstruction from the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated three prefectures.

The upper part of the torches consists of a central column with five petal-shaped attachments to form a symbolic blossom. Thirty percent of the aluminum used in them comes from material recycled from temporary housing used in disaster-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

Each measure 71 cm in length and weigh 1.2 kg.

While both are fashioned in a color between gold and pink, the Olympic torch’s color has been dubbed “sakura gold” and the Paralympics torch’s “sakura pink.”

In keeping with the Paralympic spirit, each torch has braille text of four words that exemplify the meaning of the games as well as symbols indicating the torch’s front to those with visual impairments.

The theme of the Paralympic relay is “share your light.” In principle, each team will be made up of three people with no prior knowledge of each other. They will carry the torch together to appreciate the idea of “unity in diversity.”

The Paralympic flame ceremony will begin Aug. 13 with the first flame-lighting festivals in several cities. A heritage flame celebration will also take place in Britain’s Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic movement.

Every prefecture in Japan will be visited by one of the flames to boost support for and interest in the games.

On Aug. 21, 2020, the different flames will come together in Tokyo, where they will be combined for a final relay around the capital leading up to the opening ceremony on Aug. 25.