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The Rugby World Cup starts in style as hosts Japan put on a spectacular performance during the opening ceremony

The first-ever Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia kicks off in style as hosts opened a dazzling display in the opening ceremony with a replica of Mount Fuji and New Zealand legend Richie McCaw

  • Japan opened the first-ever Rugby World Cup in Asia at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo
  • Local youths were involved in the ceremony singing together for a replica of Mount Fuji
  • New Zealand legend Richie McCaw took the stage with the Web Ellis trophy won in 2015

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The Rugby World Cup started in style when host country Japan put on a rousing performance when the tournament officially opened at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

The hosts showed the world what to expect over the course of this year’s tournament and showed their fantastic culture to millions of viewers around the world.

The ceremony began with a single artist seated on the floor before a floral display was shown while the host cities were depicted on the screen in the center of the stadium as volunteers circled flags representing each city.

Two traditionally dressed Japanese people then performed for a display of Mount Fuji, before it was shown that a timeline of rugby history – starting in the UK – traveled around the world to reach Japan today.

A single artist kneels on the floor as the impressive opening ceremony begins at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium

A single artist kneels on the floor as the impressive opening ceremony begins at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium

The artist sits in the middle of the stage with the traditional Japanese colors of red and white on him

The artist sits in the middle of the stage with the traditional Japanese colors of red and white on him

The artist sits in the middle of the stage with the traditional Japanese colors of red and white on him

The lone artist was joined by a larger group when the opening ceremony came to life just before Japan’s opening match

Dancers perform in the opening ceremony prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A match between Japan and Russia

Dancers perform in the opening ceremony prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A match between Japan and Russia

Dancers perform in the opening ceremony prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A match between Japan and Russia

A dancer waves to the crowd leading up to the highly anticipated opening ceremony at Tokyo stadium

A dancer waves to the crowd leading up to the highly anticipated opening ceremony at Tokyo stadium

A dancer waves to the crowd leading up to the highly anticipated opening ceremony at Tokyo stadium

Japanese fans have really put the tournament to the test as the world prepares for another fantastic competition

Japanese fans have really put the tournament to the test as the world prepares for another fantastic competition

Japanese fans have really put the tournament to the test as the world prepares for another fantastic competition

Local children were dressed in the colors of all 20 participating teams as announced by the stadium commentator as the country well and truly embraces its role as hosts.

The youngsters then all sang a chorus together when the winners of the Webb Ellis trophy were shown since the beginning of the tournament. The words “Unite for the future” were engraved below.

The mountain breaks to find New Zealand legend Richie McCaw, standing in the center of the podium with the trophy he held up and winning the All Blacks captain during their triumph at Twickenham in the last edition of the tournament in 2015.

“The wait is over, the stage is set, now it is up to fans of Japan to make this the biggest Rugby World Cup ever,” said Rugby President Bill Beaumont during a rousing opening ceremony.

Hosts Japan play Russia in the first game of the tournament in Group A at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

Ground crew run as they carry gigantic cover across the field during the dazzling opening ceremony in Tokyo

Ground crew run as they carry gigantic cover across the field during the dazzling opening ceremony in Tokyo

Ground crew run as they carry gigantic cover across the field during the dazzling opening ceremony in Tokyo

In the center of the stage, a replica of Mount Fuji was built, which served as a screen to display a timeline of World Cup history

In the center of the stage, a replica of Mount Fuji was built, which served as a screen to display a timeline of World Cup history

In the center of the podium, a replica of Mount Fuji was built, which served as a screen to display a timeline of World Cup history

Local children circled the mountain dressed in the colors of each of the participating teams as they waved to the crowd

Local children circled the mountain dressed in the colors of each of the participating teams as they waved to the crowd

Local children circled the mountain dressed in the colors of each of the participating teams as they waved to the crowd

Japan showed their great culture to the world as they are the first Asian country to host the tournament

Japan showed their great culture to the world as they are the first Asian country to host the tournament

Japan showed their great culture to the world as they are the first Asian country to host the tournament

New Zealand legend and former All Blacks captain came out of the mountain with the Webb Ellis trophy, the all-rounder won in 2015

New Zealand legend and former All Blacks captain came out of the mountain with the Webb Ellis trophy, the all-rounder won in 2015

New Zealand legend and former All Blacks captain came out of the mountain with the Webb Ellis trophy, the all-rounder won in 2015

“The wait is over” World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont made a splashy speech ahead of the tournament’s opening match

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