Tokyo 2020 Scales New Heights in Partnership with JAXA and 'Space Brothers'

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori and Astronaut Soichi Noguchi

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) announced today a collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Chuya Koyama, the author of the comic book Space Brothers.

Tokyo 2020 and Koyama will jointly stage a series of experiments in the International Space Station (ISS) with the assistance of JAXA astronauts Norishige Kanai and Soichi Noguchi, taking the Olympic and Paralympic Movements to new heights and aiming to capture the imagination of young generations.

Kanai started his long-duration stay in the ISS on 19th December, and will spend about six months in space.

Before his departure, Kanai said, “Sport and space flight represent completely different fields. But in the ISS, people from different countries and with different language skills team up and work together towards a common goal, just like the athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I am really thrilled about this interdisciplinary collaboration project. I think that by working together towards one goal, which is to engage people around the Tokyo 2020 Games, we can achieve a powerful outcome, even though we all come from different fields.”

Noguchi took part in previous space missions in 2005, during which he conducted three extravehicular assignments, and in 2009-2010, when he stayed in orbit for 161 days. He will go back into orbit and re-join his colleagues at the ISS in the end of 2019 and will stay about half a year.

Noguchi visited Tokyo 2020 offices and met with President Yoshiro Mori today, commenting, “I will return to space in two years, so my mission will overlap with the mounting excitement for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the meantime, in the field of aerospace, the asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 will return to Earth in 2020. So, various projects are intersecting in the run-up to 2020. As we all embrace our dreams and begin running alongside each other toward our respective goals, I think it would be wonderful if we all achieve them in 2020.”

Koyama is the author of the best-selling comic book Space Brothers, the story of two brothers working towards their dreams to go to space. The story was adapted into a live action film in 2012.

Koyama commented, “I am truly glad that I can participate in such an exciting project. I hope the fans of my work ‘Space Brothers’ as well as those interested in space and in the Olympic and Paralympic Games will enjoy seeing how ‘Space Brothers’ can contribute to the project.”

This initiative is part of the Tokyo 2020 One Team Project (website in Japanese), launched in August 2017, in which Japan’s leading creators, innovators and performers in a wide range of fields are being invited to express their own interpretations of the vision for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Building on the three core concepts of the Games – “Achieving Personal Best”, “Unity in Diversity” and “Connecting to Tomorrow” – these influential figures will be encouraging the public to reach out to one another and unite behind the Games’ vision. Previous collaborators include Kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa XI, karate champion Kiyou Shimizu, Nobel Prize laureate Shinya Yamanaka, and rock star Yoshiki.

Tokyo 2020 One Team Project website (in Japanese)(Open in a new window)