A Report on IDEA for TOKYO Contest

The IDEA for TOKYO contest was held onstage at a venue for Tokyo 2020 Live Sites in 2018 on Sunday, March 18.

This contest was a participatory event in the form of an "ideathon" to solicit ideas from students about what City Volunteers shall do in offering hospitality to visitors, including foreigners and people with impairments, who will come to Tokyo on the occasion of the Tokyo 2020 Games. It attracted applications from 66 teams from across the country. Four teams passed the preliminary screening and the "First Class" team won the Most Excellent Award through the final judging with its idea "IKI-CITING SURPRISE." (*Iki is a time-honored Japanese word that is used to describe something or someone that is chic and stylish.)

1. Greetings from the judges

Vice Governor of Tokyo, Junko INOKUMA, delivering a welcome speech.

Tokyo Vice Governor Junko Inokuma said in a welcome speech, "We have organized this event as an opportunity to think about what kind of hospitality the City Volunteers can offer to various kinds of people who will come to the Tokyo 2020 Games." "I do wish many people will apply as volunteers for the Games and we will join hands in implementing the idea that is to be selected today."

Comedian and TV personality Tomonori Jinnai, one of the guest judges, said, "We're so lucky to have such a fine day. I guess I'll cheer for a team that's kind of brimming with smiles." Athens Olympics swimming gold medalist Ai Shibata commented, "It's awesome that your own idea will be implemented by the City Volunteers at the Tokyo 2020 Games. You may feel nervous now but I wish you'll all stay confident and go for it cheerfully." Para badminton player Daisuke Fujiwara offered the following remarks: "I'm close in age to all you students so that I may be able to make a judgment from a similar viewpoint as yours. I wish you all do your best in presentations."

2. Presentations

(1) Team Mitchell

Smile Getter - offering hospitality by "taking pictures with tourists"

A scene of the presentation done by Team Mitchelle.

The team proposed the idea of Smile Getter, which encourages volunteers to take selfie shots with many tourists as everybody puts a smile on their faces when confronted by a camera.

Then the volunteers may upload these pictures on websites, count how many pictures of smiling faces they have collected and make them visible to attract attention through such media as social networking services. This will help further expand the circle of smiling faces, the team explained.

The team concluded the presentation by saying, "Let's make Tokyo a city with the most smiles in the world."

(2) First Class


A scene of the presentation done by First Class.

The team proposed "IKI-CITING SURPRISE," a concept of activity aimed at providing guests with a surprise that exceeds their expectations.

This idea is to set up a mechanism whereby foreign travelers are rewarded with pleasant surprises when they talk to City Volunteers who may respond by folding paper into origami for them or writing their names in kanji characters. The team explained that this process would hopefully help the visitors have a hands-on experience with the "iki" culture of edo (old Tokyo).

The team talked about their determination to realize the idea. "We aim to help City Volunteers take actions that will be spread around the world as 'iki' surprises and turn people around the world into fans that support Japan."

(3) Hotel New Oretachi


A scene of the presentation done by Hotel New Oretachi.

The team analyzed Twitter posts to identify challenges as it tried to come up with an idea. It proposed creating a Twitter account, Nanja, which mobilizes people, who wish to make some contributions to the Tokyo 2020 Games despite such barriers as language, time and distance, to "help people through their own 'Like' tab." *Nanja is a Japanese phrase roughly translated as "what's that?"

The team explained, "If a foreigner asks for information by tagging #AskNanja on Twitter, any Nanja member that is well informed on the subject may respond with an answer."

This unique idea perked up the audience because it may engage various kinds of people in the process.

(4) No Siders

welCamera Project

A scene of the presentation done by No siders.

The team cited their own experiences abroad that they talked to locals most often when they had to ask them "to take pictures for them at sightseeing spots."

It proposed "welCamera Project," which calls on all Japanese to become photographers for people who will come to the Tokyo 2020 Games.

According to the team, the taken pictures can be shared with the people on site by using a camera app named "welCamera." The team also presented the idea of displaying the collected pictures as signage at the closing ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and at airports.

The team called on the audience to "let all the Japanese people join hands in creating the chronicles of smiles seen at the Tokyo 2020 Games."

3. Announcement of judging results

A scene of the award ceremony.

<The Most Excellent Award> First Class: "IKI-CITING SURPRISE"

After the four teams completed their enthusiastic presentations, "IKI-CITING SURPRISE" by the First Class team won the Most Excellent Award through the final judging.

On behalf of the judges, Vice Governor Inokuma declared: "We have given high marks to the (winning) idea as it encompasses the added value of surprise that serves as the essence of hospitality, "iki" that represents the heart of Edo and the fact that the idea expands itself through the ingenuity of each and every one involved." She handed to the team a cheering flag with autographs of the judges as well as PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics pin badges.

A member of the First Class team said upon receiving the award, "We will be extremely happy if this idea of ours is put into practice. I will have graduated from university by the time the Tokyo 2020 Games are held but I'd like to participate in the Games as a volunteer."

<Judges' Awards>
• Mr. Tomonori Jinnai: Hotel New Oretachi
• Ms. Ai Shibata: Team Mitchell
• Mr. Daisuke Fujiwara: No Siders

Apart from the Most Excellent Award, the Judges' Awards selected by the guest judges were also announced. Mr. Tomonori Jinnai chose Hotel New Oretachi, saying that its idea is "useful not only to foreigners but also to Japanese." Ms. Ai Shibata commended Team Mitchell's idea because she said it would make it easier even for shy Japanese to close their distance with foreigners." Mr. Daisuke Fujiwara, a Para badminton player, praised the idea of No Siders for being "so much fun with its game element that makes me feel like participating myself."

The contest turned out to be buoyed by ideas that are youthful and brimming with hope as each team exercised ingenuity in presenting its idea through such means as skits that often drew laughter from the audience.

A group photo of contestants and judges.