On May 29, 2020, Blue Impulse, the Air Self-Defense Force’s acrobatic team, performed an exhibition flight over central Tokyo to show gratitude for the frontline medical workers during the global health crisis.
The performance took many people by surprise. As a precautionary measure to avoid overcrowding, the route information was kept confidential until the last moment. The exhibition flight brightened up the medical workers and many Tokyoites, bringing a moment away from the battle against the virus.
The six fighter jets had performed over Tokyo twice in the past; 6 years ago for the Japan National Stadium’s farewell event and 56 years ago at the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony. Defense Minister Taro Kono ordered the Blue Impulse’s unusual performance to show appreciation to doctors and medical staff, but he must have aimed to bring smiling faces to people in Japan as well.
The roughly 20 minute-long aerial demonstration was broadcasted live on various media. The team of fighter jets painted “T” and “U” (for “Thank You”) in Morse code across a clear blue sky with the trailing white streaks to conclude the show.