It was not all happiness and harmony, however.
Sepp Blatter, controversially re-elected as Fifa president this week, received a mixed reception, with an element of the crowd heckling him with derisory whistles.
"The players will present to the whole world, the football drama of joy and passion in a spirit of fair play," he said.
Both the Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi and the Korean president Kim Dae-Jung addressed the crowd, the latter speaking of the great honour of hosting the tournament.
The massed ranks of dancers then performed a spectacular, intricately choreographed dance to traditional Korean music.
Korean drummers then joined in as the spectacle - which has been practised for three years by the dancers and musicians - became more energetic.
The show, which cost an estimated £5.5m to stage, then transformed into a kaleidoscopic celebration of Korea's technological innovation.