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Super Mario at Rio Olympics: It’s PM Shinzo Abe!

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In what is perhaps the most bizarre post-Olympic closing ceremony ever, viewers got to see a teaser of things to come for Tokyo 2020: Mario (yes, of Super Mario Bros) actually made an appearance in an official ceremony.

At the closing video presentation, the Tokyo 2020 beamed a telecast to audiences in Rio depicting the mustached hero running around Tokyo before jumping into a green pipe.

And then it cuts to the stage where the same green pipe rises from the platform, revealing a hunched Mario-like figure perched at the top, and it turns out to be… Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe!

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While Japan is undoubtedly famous for its pop culture, having the leader of a country show up in cosplay – playing the role of a mushroom-clomping plumber no less – might be a tad bit strange.

The media (unsurprisingly) got excited at the fact that Abe himself – a man not known for his cosplay tendencies or referring to pop culture in his speeches – actually dressed up for the occasion, complete with the red cap and ball!

Cosplay aside, the actual question in Japan’s use of pop culture icons is: WHY Mario?

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