Photo/IllutrationAn artist’s impression of a replica of the face of an individual in the sky (Provided by the Tokyo metropolitan government)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

When you look up into the sky during the 2020 Tokyo Games, don't be surprised to see one of your fellow residents looking back.

Art group "Me" is planning to fly a cloth replica of the face of a private citizen above the capital in the hope of wowing visitors from both Japan and overseas to the quadrennial sports extravaganza.

“The face of somebody--it may be yours--will appear on a grand scale where anyone can see it,” said Kenji Minamigawa, 39, the group's director.

“I would like people to see firsthand through experience the wonder of people being an individual as well as a public presence at the same time,” he added.

Me, which uses the kanji character for "eye" as its name, is known for its artistic productions at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in Niigata Prefecture and other events across Japan. Its proposal was chosen by the Tokyo metropolitan government as a cultural program to liven up the Games.

“The program was selected because it is impressive and many people can take part in the process of creating the artwork,” said a Tokyo government official.

The group called for cooperation on the project from the spring at various sites in Tokyo and accepted facial images on a dedicated website dubbed Masayume until the end of June.

It has yet to decide when or where exactly the cloth face will fly to coincide with the Olympics and Paralympics.

The idea was inspired by a childhood dream of Haruka Kojin, 36, one of the "Me" artists. In the reverie, she saw a large face floating in the vast sky like it was a moon.

Although she doesn't remember what the face looked like in detail, she said it is a dream she'll never forget.

The accepted facial images are from individuals of both genders as well as various races and occupations.

While Kojin will make the final decision as to which face will be flown, a residents' meeting in the capital's Koto Ward was held June 23 to discuss "what kind of face should be sent into the summer sky above Tokyo in 2020."

The venue was filled to capacity, with 50 people in attendance. They were divided into five groups to examine candidate visages printed on sheets of paper and to discuss which face would be best for the purpose.

One participant said, "An androgynous look, with features suggesting multiple races might be best, as such a face would connect with more viewers."

Another suggested, "Perhaps the face should not be smiling, allowing people to wonder, what is this person's expression about?"

A third person weighed in, saying that "the project is interesting, precisely because it's unusual. A face that can make a person giggle would be appropriate."

Yet another participant expressed preference for a "characterless" visage.

After the exchange of opinions, all five groups failed to select a single face each, as many participants felt that all faces are appropriate.

One person simply stated that it is "dreadful and impossible" to choose only one from among numerous visages.

Hearing such views, Kojin said she initially wanted to get clues on how to decide which face to send into the sky, but that the residents' meeting left her with a difficult decision. However, she vowed to make a good one.

"So many people are taking the project seriously," Kojin said in front of the session's participants, expressing her appreciation. “I'll fulfill my responsibility in making the decision.”

For candidate faces, relevant events held across Japan and other project details, visit Masayume at (

Even after the art group decides on which visage to fly, it will not be announced until it is time to send it into the sky over Tokyo, according to the members.