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Toppan supports operation of Tokyo Marathon Virtual EXPO 2021

Providing an avatar-based marathon course tour in a metaverse start area and a running event for the new normal in the Toppan booth as an official partner of Tokyo Marathon 2021.

TOKYO – Toppan, a global leader in communication, security, packaging, décor materials, and electronics solutions, is participating in the planning and operation of the Tokyo Marathon Virtual EXPO 2021, a new running show organized by the Tokyo Marathon Foundation (TMF) that is aligned with the new normal. Toppan entered into an official partner agreement with TMF in October 2021 and is working with the Foundation to enhance health and enrich communities through the promotion of running sports.

The Tokyo Marathon EXPO has previously been held regularly in a real venue, but is now being held for the first time in the metaverse as well to enable people all over the world to enjoy it despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tokyo Marathon Virtual EXPO 2021 features a metaverse version of the Tokyo Marathon start area, in which participants can move freely around the venue in a virtual space via original avatars. Under the theme of “Running Lifestyle,” a range of running-based lifestyles attuned to the new normal will be presented. The virtual setting will enable all kinds of people from around the world to take part, regardless of time, space, or physical constraints.

A miniature marathon course replicates the entire course, from the start in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to the finish at Tokyo Station / Gyoko-dori ave., including aid stations, as well as the surroundings in 3D. Users can check out the course or even run a simulated marathon with their avatars.

The real marathon is usually started by an official who fires a starting gun, but in the virtual version, users will be able to take advantage of an avatar emote feature to play the role of race starter themselves, standing on the platform in front of the Metropolitan Government Building and taking in the excitement as avatar runners set off and confetti flies around.

Virtual booths run by official partners will allow users to transcend space and time and see items and services driving ideas for running and lifestyle. An exclusive “virtual stamp rally,” meanwhile, will offer limited edition Tokyo Marathon Virtual EXPO 2021 digital avatar clothing to users who visit the booths of eight partner companies and collect the stamps available.

Toppan will also be participating in the real-world Tokyo Marathon EXPO 2021, scheduled to be held between March 3 and 5, and will provide a virtual marathon experience called “Avatar Run,” fusing sports with digital twins. Users will be able to generate their own 3D avatars in a purpose-built installation and make the avatars run the Tokyo Marathon course in a virtual space by running on a treadmill.

The challenges the world is facing require us to innovate and find new ways to bring joy to people. By holding a parallel event like this in the metaverse, we can overcome some of those challenges to offer an experience of the Tokyo Marathon that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere,” said Takashi Suzuki, Senior General Manager of Advanced Visualization Technology Development at Toppan. “Toppan will continue to drive efforts to enhance health and communities through sports and to help create a sustainable society that is safe for all its participants by providing new forms of communication seamlessly linking the real world and the metaverse.”

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