Indian Prime Minister led tributes to his country's silver medal winner Chanu Saikhom Mirabai.
China's Hou Zhihui took weightlifting gold after dominating the 49kg competition, opening up an early 7kg advantage over Mirabai that she never relinquished at the Tokyo International Forum.
Mirabai, the 2017 world champion at 48kg, was unable to make inroads on Hou's 210kg aggregate but was ecstatic at becoming India's first weightlifting silver medallist, after Karanam Malleswari's bronze in the women's 69kg at Sydney 2000.
Mirabai hoped her success inspires more Indian young women to take up weightlifting.
"It's a really big thing, the first silver for India. Whatever happens in the future I hope this is just the beginning," said Mirabai.
Back in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the celebrations as the country celebrated only its fifth individual Olympic silver medal in the history of the Games.
"Could not have asked for a happier start to @Tokyo2020!," Modi tweeted.
"India is elated by @mirabai_chanu's stupendous performance. Congratulations to her for winning the Silver medal in weightlifting. Her success motivates every Indian."
Had she won gold, Mirabai would have been just the second athlete - and first female - from the country of 1.3 billion people to win an individual Olympic title, after Abhinav Bindra in the 10m air rifle at Beijing 2008.