Shinzo Abe was in Rio representing Japan, who will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics
Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, appeared as video game character Super Mario at the Rio 2016 Closing Olympics.
Abe attended the closing ceremony to represent his country, who are set to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Whilst viewers were expecting an appearance from the PM, no one expected him to rise from an oversized green drainpipe dressed as Nintendo’s iconic video game character.
The PM’s appearance was followed by a promo video showing athletes in Tokyo, as well as other characters from Japanese culture, such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon. The scene then cut to the PM in a taxi, rushing to Rio, with Super Mario diving into a green pipe in Tokyo and emerging as a human figure on the field in Rio. When the costume fell off, the PM was revealed, holding a red ball and waving a cap.
Social media has clearly been amused by the stunt, with ‘Abe Mario’ trending on Twitter.
Twitter user Kirifurikogn said “Wow, I thought a middle-aged uncle cosplaying as Mario was going to come out in the middle of the live closing ceremony at the Rio Games. But that’s PM Abe!”
— 霧。 (@kirifurikogen) August 22, 2016
The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic games developed the promo video and olympic performance. Whilst an outline of the performance was given to reporters in advance, it only mentioned a “surprise guest from Japan”.
Nintendo’s stock price has risen more than 3% in Tokyo trading since the event.