Dezeen Magazine

Japanese cherry blossoms inform Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch design

The 2020 Olympic torch has been unveiled ahead of next year's Games in Tokyo, designed by Tokujin Yoshioka to resemble the cherry blossom flower.

Crafted from extruded aluminium, the 71 centimetre torch column gradually opens out into five sections to form the motif of a Sakura cherry blossom – the traditional flower of Japan – when viewed from above.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch Tokujin Yoshioka aluminium

Each different section resembles a separate petal on the flower, which Japanese designer Yoshioka hopes will act as a symbol of peace for people across the globe.

The rose-gold torch will be used during the ceremonial Torch Relay, where it will be transported by numerous torchbearers through Japan to the stadium of the 2020 Olympic Games, designing by Kengo Kuma.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch Tokujin Yoshioka aluminium

Yoshioka made the torch from aluminium construction waste taken from temporary housing that was built in the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

This was a way of "transforming materials that witnessed the rebuilding of shattered lives into a symbol of peace," according to the creator, "to convey to the world the extent to which the affected areas are recovering, one step at a time."

The release of the design also coincides with the arrival of Japan's cherry blossom season in March, a symbol of life and renewal in the country.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch Tokujin Yoshioka aluminium

"I designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch in the wish for peace and healing of hearts in a recovering area," explained Yoshioka.

"The design began after I drew cherry blossom emblems with children in the recovering area," he continued. "The flowers they drew were all vibrant, as if to symbolise a scene where people are overcoming and restarting from the disaster."

"I aimed to convey their power to the world through my design. In 2020, the Olympic flame will traverse throughout Japan like cherry blossoms blooming, and light our way to hope," Yoshioka added.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch Tokujin Yoshioka aluminium

The creators employed the same aluminium extrusion technology to the torch that is used in the manufacture of Japan's well-known bullet trains.

According to the designer, the torch was also designed to emulate the shape of a flame. Each of the five openings release their own individual flame, which join together to "become one, giving hope to all the people in the world to live in peace".

Designed with everyone in mind, the weight and shape of the torch grip is easy for all to handle, and includes a positioning mark that indicates the front of the torch designed for those with a visual impairment.

São Paulo studio Chelles & Hayashi were behind the 2016 Rio Olympic torch design, which expanded vertically when it came into contact with the flame to reveal a series of coloured resin sections.