Tokyo 2016’s environmental, technological and youth-engaging credentials were spotlighted Wednesday with the announcement of the Green Tokyo Gundam Project, which kicks off Saturday in Odaiba to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mobile Suit Gundam, the popular Japanese anime series created by Yoshiyuki Tomino.
The giant 18-meter replica of this long-favorite robot animation will welcome visitors to the man-made island of Odaiba throughout the summer season until Aug 31.
Specifically, the project will help raise funds for new greenery throughout Tokyo as part of the transformation the city is undergoing within its 10-year "Tokyo Big Change" that will be completed in 2016 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Contributions will be collected by the Green Tokyo Fundraising Campaign Committee and then used for four Olympic projects to increase greenery in Tokyo:
-- Developing the Sea Forest, an 88-hectare area of land reclaimed from the ocean which will host the equestrian competitions at Tokyo 2016.
-- Planting roadside trees – doubling their number in Tokyo from the current 480,000 to around a million.
-- Planting lawns in schoolyards to provide an attractive, healthy environment for children to study and play.
-- Creating low-pollen forests in the Tama area of western Tokyo.
Addressing the international media at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Tomino said: “I am deeply moved, I feel the power of this construction in Odaiba, because it uses what I call the 'twilight colors,' which are not the colors of real weapons but peaceful colors, colors that little kids like and that tell people 'don’t give up hope.' I believe this statue in Odaiba will serve as a new Statue of Liberty, something that will inspire people and the new generations.“
Meanwhile, Ichiro Kono, CEO of Tokyo 2016, said: “Providing the best possible urban environment is part of how Tokyo 2016 is setting the stage for heroes. By creating the conditions for athletes to perform at their peak surrounded by a healthy environment we will promote these solutions to a global audience.
“The Gundam robot symbolizes the advanced technology for which Japan is famous, and also how this is helping Tokyo 2016 to inspire young people and bring about a green transformation across the city.”
Thousands of "otaku" – the name given to fans of Japanese animation worldwide – are expected to visit the robot, many via a cutting-edge monorail service to the Shiokaze Park site which will host beach volleyball in 2016 if Tokyo's bid is successful. The construction has moving body parts, and will "come alive" at night with lights and sound effects.
The Gundam robot overlooks Tokyo Bay and the Odaiba beach area. The nearby Odaiba Marine Park is Tokyo 2016’s proposed venue for the Olympic triathlon and marathon swimming events.© Japan Today