Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Turns Into Super Mario to Launch 2020 Tokyo Olympics Hype

Last night marked the official closing of the Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and all things considered history will likely remember the games favorably. Despite the litany of issues facing the host nation ahead of the Olympics, this year’s celebrations provided some of the most memorable in recent history. As is tradition, the closing ceremony included a substantial nod to the future of the competitions: Tokyo, where the world’s best athletes will again gather in 2020.

To usher in the excitement of the Tokyo games, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe lent his talents to the cutesy video package that aired live last night, portraying a version of himself unable to make it to Rio in time for the closing ceremony. His solution is the only obvious one: turn into an Italian-American plumber from Brooklyn.

Of course, the character is actually Super Mario, the most recognizable of Nintendo’s cartoon darlings. The full video contains many homages to Nintendo characters, which houses its operations in Japan, including PacMan and Hello Kitty. It also contains a bouncy red ball that exchanges possession between various Olympic hopefuls, a direct reference to the red sun imagery on the nation’s flag.

Abe himself popped out onto the field at the ceremony last night in Rio, clutching the red ball and waving his Super Mario hat.

Watch the above video via Twitter, and we’ll see ya in Tokyo.

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