23rd Entertainment Division New Face Award
TON-TON VOICE SUMO
TON-TON VOICE SUMO Production Team (OTAKI Atsushi, Representative) [Japan]
The stage vibrates in response to the players calling, “ton, ton,” and this incites movement in the sumo wrestlers. This is a new type of sport designed after kamizumo, the paper sumo game. Originally developed as an entertaining rehabilitation tool for helping elderly people regain function of their throats, it was later set up as a permanent fixture at sports facilities. Opportunities have also been created for children in the United States and Estonia, as well as people at healthcare events in Thailand and Singapore, to try it out. Now mass-produced as a toy product and sold at toy and online stores across Japan as well, its distribution is also expanding into Taiwan and Hong Kong. This game, which was developed as a healthcare solution focused on “fun,” is now becoming more and more available worldwide as a “diversity sport” that can be played by anyone regardless of their age, gender, or even disability.
Reason for Award
Media technology products that will become useful in the future must not let people be left behind. For their mission as a communication tool, I would like to see such products support and tend to the needs of people so that they may live in the best way possible. Indeed, those who are new to TON-TON VOICE SUMO seem to be living happily. Their faces appear cheerful, as if they were blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Those watching them play also have a contented expression on their face, and as I watch, I find myself feeling happy, too. I hope the creators will continue to develop more opportunities like this for unique human enjoyment in ways that are even more borderless, to an even greater audience across the world. (MORIMOTO Chie)