TOKYO2020 MY LEGACY #02：Norihiko Tsuzuki（representative of the student organization Origami）
Graduate student at Chiba University. He established the student organization origami in 2014. He has planned and operated many events related to TOKYO2020 and the spread and utilization of Paralympic games.
Now, he heads the group which over 40 universities and more than 200 students belong to. Also, he is active as a representative of the National Student Volunteer Forum and enlightening people to expand volunteer culture in Japan.
For this interview, he told us stories of his past activities, attractiveness of Olympics and Paralympics, and “My Legacy” that he wants to leave towards TOKYO2020.
Interview date: July 11th 2020.
Introduction to the Student Organization Origami
The following is quated from student organization origami’s website.
“Student Organization Origami” is currently working with 40 universities and more than 200 members for creating an Olympic and Paralympic Games where students are the axis and more and more people are involved.
The group’s name, “Origami” was named after the initials of “Let’s liven things up the Olympics and Paralympics with all (Minna) students (Gakusei).”
Our dream is to make Olympic and Paralympic games a “success” in a true sense as many people as possible.
It means that we want many more people to realize what they want to do by taking advantage of the opportunity of the Olympics and Paralympics.
What made me decide to establish Origami?
I launched Origami when I was a freshman.
At first, I was getting confused about what I aim and like because my colledge life started after I failed the entrance exam of my first-choice university.
In that time, I was fascinated by the “something big”, which is the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, as I was looking for “What do I want to do?”
Originally, I was really interested in space, and I was fascinated by the large scale things since I was little. And, I thought Olympic and Paralympic Games are similar to space in terms of the large scale. Then, I started my activity as I entrusted my dream to there.
What I learned through six years of activity
Through my activities since 2014, I’ve learned how to dealing with others seriously.
Although I had a strong desire to do projects with great people at the beggining, now I feel that way of thinking was inexperienced.
That’s because through my activities, I realized that “everyone has something amazing.”
Origami started activities from a state of almost ignorance in terms of volunteering.
And, as we continued to take on challenges, we’ve seen it many times that “just an ordinary student becomes a hero to solve social issues.”
I began to strongly think that “I want to take value dealing with people” after realizing that “everyone has something amazing.”
And, I began to consciously think about how the project should be to make each member plays an active role and develop.
What has changed and not changed for Mr. Tsuzuki over the last six years
Personally, at first, I was working for myself rather than for someone. I was thinking of aiming for a one-shot reversal.
However, as I continued my activities, I naturally came to think for people and society. Since then, I studied hard with awareness of social issues.
And I learned more deeply and came to think about the way of “volunteering” after having participated in the Student Volunteer Forum in 2015.
I think that my mind for “volunteer” has greatly changed in these six years.
But what is not changed from the beginning is my thought for chasing a big, exciting dream with my friends.
This thought has never changed from a set up to today.
The attractions of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for Mr. Tsuzuki.
In short, I think it is a place where dreams come together.
Many people come together, positive ideas are born, and people want to try something new… I think that this is because the Olympics and Paralympics have the power of dreams.
I think there is so much potential in the Olympic and Paralympic Games because it is the place where everyone can feel dreams and collaborate with each other in different fields.
The image of Olympic and Paralympic Games that changed through six years of activities
I felt that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not “Games” but a “Movement”.
It is the difference between the image of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that I had had before and after six years of activity.
I came to understand that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not just an athletic competition, but a series of movements that travel from the host city to the next host city to develop the movement, and various efforts are gathered there after a tremendous amount of trial and error to make a better society.
My image of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has changed dramatically since I came to see it that way.
Legacy through Tokyo 2020
We have been preparing for two years to carry out a project called “Earth Light Project” that launch flame into the stratosphere.
The reason why I launched this project is that I wanted to symbolize the message of “a world of living together” to the world at a time when some news related to the division is still spreading around the world even today.
No one in human history has never photographed the Earth through a flame.
In order to realize the dream of a society where people can live together and get along with each other, we will send a flaming statement from Japan, the place that has inherited the baton of the Olympic Games, which has a history of more than 100 years, to the world.
That statement means that “we must not give up on the connection of the world.”
Mr. Tsuzuki’s challenge at TOKYO 2020: “Earth Light Project”
[Thoughts for this project]
Since prehistoric times, people have strengthened their connections by sitting around a fire, eating together, and talking to each other.
When it was hard to build and maintain a fire, people naturally came together in solidarity and community was born when they try to build a fire because of its difficulty.
Even today, flames are still used as a symbol to connect people like bonfires and campfires.
On the other hand, the flame has always been a symbol of destruction throughout history as well.
In the midst of this conflict, the Olympic torch relay has been a symbol of peace through the movement of “lights for friendship” rather than “weapons for plunder” across borders.
We resonate with that story, confront divisions, and baton the history of flames that connect people to the future.
This flame is the flame of our thoughts. We believe that transmitting this image of the “Earth through the flames” from Japan to all over the world will be the spark for a new way of living together.
*The above sentences are diverted from the following site (currently crowdfunding is underway)
TOKYO 2020 MY LEGACY
I want to infuse more dreams into the world of “volunteer.”
In 2015, I participated in a traning program held at the National Student Volunteer Forum. During this program, in which more than 500 people from all over the country participated, I had discussions with various teachers and students.
And at that time, I got to know the world of “volunteer” in earnest. After that, I realized one thing as I learned about “volunteer” seriously.
It was that the “volunteer” we see in the media today is not the “real volunteer” with a dream or vision.
From that day on, I decided that I wanted to brng more dreams into the world of “volunteerism”.
I hope to create a “volunteer movement” by incorporating such a common philosophy into the world of volunteer, where people from various backgrounds can communicate with each other in a polite manner to create a society in which they can enjoy their lives.
“Creating a world where we can live together” It is an abstract and difficult task to realize.However, I believe that this is why people from various fields need to get together and talk to each other to make it happen.
I think that it will never be possible unless people from various fields come together to talk. I want to realize that.
Dream crosses borders.
Since I was little, I’ve always been the boy who gets excited when I see something big.
But that excitement is surely something everyone has, and I believe that we can all share in the same passion for dreamng big dreams that transcend national borders.
I hope that the kind of movement that will make many people excited will continue to happen in many parts of the world.
July 11th 2020 text and images are by Tanaka
Translated by Sakika Fukushima