A virtual stadium was created as part of the Cultural Olympiad ©Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Seiko Hashimoto has hailed "a new style of cultural enjoyment," in the final report published by the Organising Committee's Cultural Olympiad. 

It was "a setting for diverse artists to express their abilities and aspirations in art and culture in ways that undoubtedly embodied the philosophy of Olympism," Hashimoto said.

The Cultural Olympiad featured many cultural events in the five years leading up to the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Games but many projects were forced online by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Implementation of culture and education programmes while taking measures to prevent spread and diffusion of infection entails many difficulties," Tokyo 2020 Culture and Education Commission chairman Masanori Aoyagi admitted.

Some events were cancelled but others added specifically in response to the pandemic.

These included the creation of a virtual Olympic Stadium for the "Wassai" project which took place only a few days before the Games opened.

This was streamed live "in order to provide everyone, both in and outside Japan, opportunities to participate," organisers said.

According to official figures, more than 850,000 viewed this event alone.

"The Commission believes that our initial purposes may have been accomplished as a result of the related parties’ enthusiasm," Aoyagi insisted in the report.

The giant puppet Mocco made a journey from areas stricken by the 2011 disaster to Tokyo   ©Getty Images
The giant puppet Mocco made a journey from areas stricken by the 2011 disaster to Tokyo ©Getty Images

The flagship of the programme was the Nippon Festival which was scheduled to reach its height during the Games period.

This included "Mocco", a giant puppet which visited Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the prefectures most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

People were invited to send greetings and goodwill messages which were attached to the puppet during its journey.

The grand arrival in Tokyo had originally been planned as a major event but it was eventually closed to the public and streamed live instead.

Yabusame equestrian archers also gave a demonstration of their art at the Nishisando of Meiji Jingu Shrine to "wish for the safe holding and success" of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The cultural programme included aspects such as the design of official posters for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

During the transition period from Olympic to Paralympic Games, further events were introduced which took the theme "towards an inclusive society."

"We sought to maximise public interest in diversity and harmonious coexistence through cultural programmes while handing the Torch of excitement from the Olympic Games to the Paralympic Games," organisers explained.

In all, some 5,657 programmes or events took place.

Organisers claim that 37,129,108 participated in some way and that more than half the programmes initiated will be continued in future years.