Tokyo train stations get new Olympic melodies and signage for the Games

We check out the Tokyo 2020 official beat music being played at four special locations.

After a long and scandal-ridden lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics, the 2020 Games are finally underway in the capital, and even though locals aren’t able to attend any of the events in person, there’s still a sense of sporting spirit in the air.

One of the places where that spirit can be felt is at train stations along the Toei subway. Had the Olympics gone ahead as planned, these stations would’ve been bustling with local and international visitors right now, with special signs in place to help direct crowds to some of the big venues for sporting events.

While the crowds aren’t here, the signs are, and we took a trip out to see some of them, alighting first at Kudanshita Station on the Shinjuku Line, where we were met with a sign that read: “Nippon Budokan“.

▼ The red “Tokyo 2020” signs act as “sub-names” for the station during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and will be up until 30 September.

Kudanshita Station is conveniently located a short three-minute walk from the indoor arena, which plays host to the Games’ judo and karate events.

Ryogoku Station on the Oedo Line goes by the subname of “Kokugikan“, due to its proximity to Ryogoku Kokugikan, also known as The Sumo Stadium, which has been turned into a single-ring boxing hall for the Games’ boxing events.

▼ Stairs and escalators at the four stations are also decorated with 2020 signage.

Over at Kokuritsu Kyogijo Station on the Oedo Line, we have the Olympic Stadium, which plays host to the opening and closing ceremonies and the majority of the athletics events.

Kokuritsu Kyogijo Station is also convenient to the table tennis events at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium right next to the stadium.

Aoyama-itchome Station on the Oedo Line is also being recommended as a stop-off point for the Olympic Stadium, although it’s much further away from its event site compared to other stations, requiring a 16-minute walk to get to the stadium.

As the train approaches each station, announcements naming the related event venue in Japanese and English can be heard as well. At Aoyama-itchome, you can hear “Aoyama-itchome, Olympic Stadium” being read out in a politely spoken manner, and this is where we decided to step out to listen for another unusual recording as well.

The four special subway stations play a special jingle throughout the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics each time a train arrives. The new melody is a snippet from “Make The Beat!an official theme song of the Tokyo 2020 Games, which will be played at the stations until 30 September.

▼ Listen to the jingle below:

This was the first time we’d ever heard the melody, but a quick search online revealed it to be part of the “official support beat” of the Games. The “support beat” was designed to get spectators involved in sporting events, with a special series of claps to match the melody, as demonstrated by the official mascots in this official Tokyo 2020 video below.

While the jingle is upbeat and the claps a fun way to get spectators involved, the absence of spectators at the Games, and the Tokyo train stations, now adds a tone of wistful melancholy to the arrangement. However, the organisers are encouraging people from around the world to get involved in the Make the Beat! project online, by sharing videos of themselves clapping or dancing along to the music on social media with the hashtag #2020beat.

▼ An example for inspiration.

Once you’ve filled out the consent form, your video may be played at one of the big events, so time to check out the details at the official Make The Beat! site and get clapping! Because after missing out on seeing Mario and Akira at the opening ceremony, we could all do with a little more fun at the Games!

Related: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Transportation, Tokyo 2020 Make the Beat!
Featured image: YouTube/Tokyo 2020
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